One week after the Tigers beat the Jackets 12-7 in Auburn, the two teams sent freshman LHPs to the mound in Atlanta. Brant Hurter for Tech versus Jake Owen. Statistically, Owen had the edge with a 1.29 ERA versus Hurter’s 12.91. Auburn had been playing very well, with a 19-2 record and ranked as high as #6. But this night would see Hurter put together his best effort by far, picking up the win with five shutout innings as the Jackets built a good lead and nearly lost it late before holding on, winning 6-4, giving Danny Hall is 1000th victory as Tech’s head coach.
The Jackets struck first in the first inning when Luke Waddell and Joey Bart singled and were bunted over by Wade Bailey. Then, Tristin English “doubled” on a pop up that Auburn let drop in. Bart had prudently held near second so he was unable to score, but Waddell did. Next Kyle McCann hit a grounder into a double play aided by poor base running by Tech, so it remained 1-0.
Hurter pitched very well through four, and was rewarded in the bottom of the fourth when Tech tacked on five, with RBI hits by Waddell and Michael Guldberg, the big blow being Guldberg’s three-run homer that bounced off the top of the wall in right center. Auburn brought in LHP Elliott Anderson with Tech leading 6-0 and one on and one out. He escaped further damage, aided by picking Waddell off at second.
After five good innings, Hurter was relieved by Andy Archer. The Tigers got a small threat going with two on after two outs, but Bailey made a fantastic diving stop up the middle and flipped to Austin Wilhite for the third out.
In the bottom of the sixth, RHP Ryan Watson relieved Anderson with two on and one out and got out of trouble.
There was great danger in the Auburn seventh when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Auburn fans started getting excited, but Archer dug deep and struck out third baseman Brendan Venter for the final out, and a lot of the Orange left the stadium.
Oscar Serratos pitched the eighth and immediately ran into trouble. The first batter hit a deep fly that Chase Murray reached but dropped for two bases and the second batter hit a solid double to right.
Serratos struck out the following batter when the ball clipped the bat and Bart held on, but walked the next to load the bases and Coach Hall brought in Jared Datoc, who had pitched over two innings only two days ago. Datoc got a big strikeout of pinch hitter Brett Wright, but then gave up a two RBI single to pinch hitter Judd Ward and an RBI single to leadoff batter Will Holland to make it 6-3 with runners on the corners. A strikeout accounted for the final out with the lead cut in half by three unearned runs.
In the Auburn ninth, there was drama and angst as Waddell had to charge two tough bouncing balls that were scored as singles and unfortunately threw them both away, giving up extra bases. The first put a runner on second, and the second scored him and put another runner on second and brought the tying run to bat with two outs.
A walk put the tying run on base for Wright, but Waddell made a nice play on another tough grounder for some redemption to get the final out of the game.
Tech improved to 12-8 and Auburn suffered only their third loss of the season. Hurter got the win and Owens the loss. The win was Danny Hall’s 1000th at Tech and Georgia Tech alumnus Brad Rigby, who had gotten win No. 1 back in 1994, was in the radio booth for the game.