Since Georgia Tech lost to Auburn two weeks ago, the two teams have been on opposite courses. The Tigers have won a pair of SEC series while the Jackets have lost two ACC series. Both have beaten an in-state rival. Auburn is 23-7 and ranked as high as 7th, while Tech is 15-11 and totally unranked. If the Jackets could pick up a win on the road before a winnable series at Notre Dame, it could be a turning point.
Tuesday: Georgia Tech 11, #7 Auburn 8
W: Jake Lee (1-1) | L: Daniel Sprinkle (0-4) | S: Zac Ryan (2)
Jonathan Hughes (1-1, 3.32 ERA) started after missing his Saturday start and coming out early the previous two Saturdays. Auburn pitched senior righty Gabe Klobosits (4-2, 2.85 ERA). I was at a concert for most of the game until the 8th inning, so mostly this is a summary.
Things started great with the Jackets putting up five runs in the top of the 1st thanks to singles by Joey Bart and Austin Wilhite, along with doubles by Coleman Poje and Kel Johnson. Hughes was spotted a comfortable 5-0 lead before even throwing a pitch.
The lead remained intact until the bottom of the 3rd, when Auburn scored eight runs during a horrible inning for Hughes and Jared Datoc before Jake Lee stopped the bleeding by ending the frame with a strikeout. Lee was spectacular in relief, producing 4.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless pitching that got the Jackets through the 7th inning.
Meanwhile, the offense was able to do some damage to reclaim the lead, with a pair of runs in both the fourth and fifth innings (headlined by a two-run homer from McCann in the latter) to give the Jackets a 9-8 lead.
Zac Ryan came on for the 8th inning and gave up a leadoff double, but was able to strand the tying run at third. In the 9th, Georgia Tech got some welcome insurance as a two-out double from Johnson was followed by a Poje two-run shot to give Tech a three-run lead.
Auburn put two on in the bottom of the 9th, but a game-ending double play sealed the deal. Tech outhit Auburn 15 to 8. Jake Lee got his first win of the year, Daniel Sprinkle took the loss, and Zac Ryan recorded his second save.
Walks and giving up big innings are a continuing problem for the Jacket pitchers. The offense and some excellent relief pitching saved the day in Auburn. Some consistency from the staff would be a real benefit to the team. In understanding Tech’s record, you should know the strength of schedule is rated at #10 in the country, resulting in a very good RPI of 27.
Tech and Auburn split the season series, each winning on the road, and the Jackets have some momentum heading to South Bend this weekend to take on Notre Dame.