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Georgia Tech Baseball: Yellow Jackets split doubleheader to close Atlanta Challenge

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Georgia Tech is 2-1 heading after opening weekend!

Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Richmond beats Tech easily 7-1

The Spiders and Jackets met in the second game of the Atlanta Challenge with both sporting 1-0 records. Richmond had beaten Georgia State Friday 13-6 in 10 innings. Tech put a freshman righty on the mound in the person of Cort Roedig from Orlando, Florida to face junior RHP Lowell Schipper.

The Spiders’ pitching completely dominated Tech’s bats today, holding the Jackets to five scattered hits and one run on a wild pitch. Only Tristin English had two hits on the day. Richmond had more than enough timely hitting with power to easily win 7-1. It didn’t seem that close.

Roedig had a bit of control problem in the 1st and it nearly cost him a run, but Luke Waddell made a great diving stop to get the third out with a runner on 3rd . He couldn’t get out of trouble in the second, though, and was pulled with the bases loaded and one out after a single and two walks. Junior college transfer Amos Willingham limited the damage, but gave up a run when a grounder deep to short scored one. It could have been much worse.

A lead off double led to Richmond’s second run in the 4th . The inning featured two wild pitches, a single that failed to score the runner from 3rd , and a fielder’s choice that did score the run. Tech trailed 0-2, but the Jackets quickly got that run back when Austin Wilhite tripled (probably should have been an error on RF) and scored on a wild pitch. After Schipper walked Nick Wilhite, Richmond brought in lefty senior Jacob Lamb.

Any good feelings quickly went away, though, as the first two batters in the Spider 5th singled and homered off the top of the wall in right center. It was suddenly 1-4. They repeated the two-run homer to nearly the same spot after a two out walk and Willingham was relieved by Micah Carpenter with the score 1-6.

After Michael Guldberg pinch hit for Turley in the Tech 6th, Jamie Taylor caught the rest of the game.

Righty Kent Morrison finished the game for Richmond starting in the 7 th , and got out of a minor jam when the 2nd base umpire called Murray out at 2nd on a fielder’s choice. Coach Hall protested vigorously to no avail.

Richmond’s hot hitting continued in their 8th with back to back two out singles driving in the 7th and final run. Will Shirah relieved Carpenter with a runner on 2 nd and went the rest of the way. Tech pitchers only had a single three batter inning all day, and needed a caught stealing for that.

The Jackets squandered their last best chance of the day in their 8th . After Colin Hall singled for Tech’s first leadoff base runner and Jamie Taylor walked, Barron Radcliffe pinch hit for Nick Wilhite and crushed a ball just foul to right before striking out. Luke Waddell couldn’t score the runners either and it remained 1-7. There was no scoring in the 9th by either team as Tech fell to 1-1 and Richmond improved to 2-0. Roedig got the loss, Schipper the win.

Tech beats West Virginia in extras to get second win

The final game of the Atlanta Challenge was moved to Saturday at 6 due to weather forecast for Sunday. The Mountaineers came in on a high note after beating Georgia State 8-2. They had lost at Kennesaw State Friday. LHP Connor Thomas pitched for the Jackets vs Junior RHP Kade Strowd. Errors would hurt the Jackets terribly in this game, notably by the usually steady Oscar Serratos. WVU seemingly had a bottomless bullpen of quality arms in the game, but eventually ran out and Tech salvaged the win in extra innngs.

It didn’t take the Jackets long to double their run production of the first game. After Tristin English singled with two outs in the 1st , Kyle McCann lined a rifle shot into the trees at right to make it 2-0. Colin Hall scored to make it 3-0 in the 2nd after he doubled and Michael Guldberg drove him in with a single, but runs would be hard to come by for Tech thereafter.

In the WVU 3rd , Luke Waddell saved a run for the second time today with a diving stop on a grounder with a runner on 3rd and two outs. He had gotten there after two uncharacteristic mistakes – a walk by Thomas and error by Serratos.

After Guldberg singled and Nick Wilhite hit a liner that was barely caught by the LF, WVU brought in lefty Zach Reid with one out in the Tech 5th . He retired Waddell and Murray to end the inning. Reid didn’t stay long though, and was relieved in the Tech 6th after hitting English and giving up a single to McCann. Righty Gabe Kurtzhals came in with runners on the corners and no outs. A double play grounder by Serratos made it 4-0 but kept the inning short.

Disaster struck in the top of the 7th . After a two-out walk and single, Kevin Brophy pinch hit and grounded to Serratos, who threw it away to first. English got it home in plenty of time to get the runner there, but McCann threw it past third deep into left field, allowing two runs. Next Doanes doubled in the 3rd run. Finally, another grounder resulted in a safe at first, but this time English’s throw home got Doanes trying to score and kept it 4-3. It was a truly horrible inning and the Mountaineer faithful were getting noisy.

Zach Ottinger, a righty, pitched for WVU in the bottom of the 7th . After two walks and two outs, righty Philip Dull relieved him. After he retired Murray, Tristin English moved to the mound to try to save the win for Thomas and Jackson Webb relieved English at 1 st . Sadly, Marquez Inman crushed a fly ball over right center to tie it at four.

Another righty, Sam Kessler, pitched to Tech in the 8th and stayed through the 10th . At this point, both my wife and I were getting very cold so the rest of the game is from WREK and ACC TV. After scoreless 9th and 10th innings, Keyton Gibson was pitching in the 11th when two costly errors by Serratos put runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Gibson struck out the batter and Luke Bartnicki came in for his first collegiate appearance, getting the big out three with a looking K.

Freshman Beau Lowery gave up a double to Colin Hall and infield single to Austin Wilhite in the Tech 11th . The Mountaineers intentionally walked Cole Neuber to load them for Nick Wilhite with the infield and outfield drawn in. Nick poked one through the left side and it was over 5-4 in walk-off fashion. The Jackets had somehow survived making FIVE errors.

Tech improved to 2-1, WVU fell to 1-2. Luke Bartnicki got a vulture win for his first and Lowery got the loss.

Bottom Line

With a trip to Statesboro (weather permitting) coming Tuesday and powerhouse UCLA on the way for next weekend, the Jackets better get their defense in order. Tonight’s win will make it more palatable to have a rainy Sunday off. Uniform note: the Jackets are wearing high stirrups this year so far, a rare look in college baseball. I like it!