Tuesday: Georgia Tech 8, Mercer 5
In the three weeks since Tech beat Mercer in Macon, the Jackets were 2-9 and the Bears were 11-0 to bring about a 32-6 record. Their 11-1 Southern Conference record gives them a three game lead. Tech sent Jake Lee (1-2, 7.88 ERA) against right handed senior Josh Knies (2-0, 7.8 ERA).
The Bears wasted no time, scoring two in the 1st on a couple of singles sandwiched around a double and a squeeze bunt. Tech got one back in their 1st when Wade Bailey – back leading off – tripled and was driven in by a Craport sacrifice fly. It was Tech’s first triple since February and the score was 2-1 after one inning.
The Jackets struck again in their 2nd, with Murray singling, Wilhite walking, and McCann hitting an RBI single, all after one out. Mercer went to Chase Burks from their bullpen with runners at 2nd and 3rd and Peurifoy up. Ryan bounced a double over the third baseman’s glove for two RBI and then Craport traded places with him after Bailey grounded out, then Bart in turn traded places at second base with Craport to make it 6-2. Johnson singled him home and the Bears went to the bullpen again, bringing in Andrew Kane. Tech led 7-2 after two.
In the Tech 4th, Bailey led off with a single and moved to third on a balk and deep fly ball before Johnson singled him in. Mercer again went to the bullpen with two outs and two on for left handed Christian Vann to face Murray, whom he retired with Tech leading 8-2.
In Mercer’s 5th, they loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with no outs, ending Lee’s chances for the win and bringing in Jared Datoc to face Thomas, who singled in two before being thrown out a second by Murray from left field. Next, Edgeworth singled in a run with a ball just out of Bailey’s reach. Tech’s lead was down to 8-5.
Mercer went to the bullpen again with two out and two on in Tech’s 5th, bringing in sidearm throwing right hander Robert Broome to face Craport. Trevor hit the first pitch hard, but the right fielder was able to catch it. Datoc returned for the 6th and had a 1-2-3 inning, as did Broome in the bottom of the inning, and both got through the 7th without trouble as well.
Zac Ryan came in for Datoc with one out and a man on first in the Mercer 8th. He completed a walk started by Datoc before retiring the Bears without damage. Nick Spear came in to pitch to Tech in the bottom of the 8th. After he retired the Jackets, Ryan was able to pick up the save with two grounders and a fly ball. Knies got the loss, Datoc the win.
This win was bigger than it would otherwise be, breaking a crushing seven game losing streak, the longest in over 30 years. Mercer is a really good team that always plays Tech hard, and the Jackets swept the 2017 season against them.
Wednesday: Georgia Tech 7, Georgia State 0
In what may be their last trip to Panthersville (depending on when Ga State’s new baseball stadium next to Turner Field opens), Tech sent Ben Schneiderjans (1-3, 5.01) against Bryan White, a red-shirt junior right hander (0-2, 8.85 ERA). In the seven weeks since Tech beat State at Russ Chandler, the Panthers have been 9-19 and came in at 13-22.
The Jackets had scoring chances in their 2nd and 4th, but left runners on the corners in both innings. State left a runner on 3rd in their 4th inning, and the game was scoreless going into the 5th. Tech wasted a huge opportunity when Peurifoy doubled to lead off and was bunted to 3rd, where he stayed. The Jackets left a runner in scoring position in four consecutive innings. Fortunately, Schneiderjans kept the Panthers scoreless through five as well.
State brought in left hander Baker to relieve White for the top of the 6th and retired the Jackets in order, but he couldn't repeat in the 7th, walking Peurifoy and Bailey after one out. The Panthers brought in Liam Henry to face Craport, whom he hit to load the bases for Bart, who took full advantage by hammering a grand slam over the left center fence. It was the Jackets first homer since the win at Auburn three weeks ago!
Schneiderjans recorded the Jackets’ longest start of the season by getting through the 7th despite an error on the shortstop. He was still under 90 pitches. Sidewinder Logan Barnette came in to pitch for the Panthers in the top of the 8th. Tech had faced a Mercer sidearm thrower just last night without success. He gave up a double to Austin Wilhite but nothing else. Keyton Gibson pitched a 1-2-3 inning for Tech in the bottom of the 8th, then Tech added some insurance in their 9th when Bailey walked and was driven in by Craport. After Bart walked, White was brought in to pitch for the Panthers; he got Johnson to hit into a double play, but then gave up a two run home run by Poje to make it 7-0 going into the bottom of the 9th.
Micah Carpenter pitched the inning, and got the Panthers 1-2-3 to preserve the shutout victory. Schniederjans got the well deserved win to get his record to 2-3 and Baker the loss in relief. Thanks to WREK for the game accounts and descriptions.
This was a great pitching performance by Ben Schneiderjans, admittedly against a somewhat inferior team. Still, with Tech looking at a possible double header Friday in Blacksburg, he did the Tech pitching staff a huge favor. Both Gibson and Carpenter will be available after each threw only one inning. Tech has a modest win streak going and has the home run swing back, at least for tonight. Tech gets back to 18-18 and is now 5-1 against in-state teams, with two versus uga and one against Ga Southern left to play.