The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets beat the Mercer Bears 7-1 to become Georgia state champions.
The Jackets closed out their in-state games against the Mercer Bears. Having beating Duke two games to one and sitting high in the polls and RPI, Tech needs to finish strong. Tech beat the Bears March 19 14-8 in Macon and needed the win to finish the season as undisputed state of Georgia champs, having only dropped one game (of three) to the team from Athens and sweeping Kennesaw State, Georgia State, and Georgia Southern (Single Game).
Mercer brought graduate slugger Kel Johnson for his final game at the stadium where he’d played for the Jackets until graduating from the Institute last Spring.
Regarding Tech’s post season hopes, this is what D1 Baseball says:
Aaron Fitt: “Yeah, I think winning that series on the road against a quality Duke team pretty much wrapped up a national seed for Tech, assuming it takes care of business vs. Pitt at home. The Jackets are 17-10 in the ACC with a No. 7 RPI, an 11-7 record against the top 25 and a 17-10 mark against the top 50. That's an easy top-eight resumé, regardless of the conference tournament.”
Senior RHP Keyton Gibson (1-2, 8.80) got the start for short staffed Tech against junior RHP Andrew Kane (0-1, 2.19), who had pitched one inning of ineffective relief against Tech in March.
Tonight, both pitchers got through the first, but Kane was pulled for sophomore LHP Beau Healy with two outs after he walked two in the bottom of the 2nd . Waddell beat out an infield single to load the bases, but Mercer’s catcher made a great diving catch of a popped up bunt to end the threat, still scoreless. Gibson also got out of some trouble in the top of the 3rd by getting Kel Johnson to hit into a fielder’s choice out at third and getting a groundout to short that Waddell bobbled but recovered for the out.
Micah Carpenter came in to pitch for Tech in the 4th , Gibson having done exactly what was hoped and expected of him.
The breakthrough was in the bottom of the 5th, when Waddell singled and Guldberg tripled off the center field wall. McCann then sacrificed Guldberg in to make it 2-0. Healy got out two, but after he gave up a single to Radcliff and hit Hall, Mercer brought in graduate RHP Scott Smith. Austin Wilhite tripled to right, scoring two, then brother Nick singled in two more after Webb walked, thus Tech led 6-0.
After Carpenter pitched another 1-2-3 sixth, Luke Bartnicki came in for the 7th. After another 1-2-3 inning, freshman LHP Holton McGaha came in for Mercer. After two outs with one on, he was relieved by Josh Farmer, a freshman righty. He gave up another run on a wild pitch followed by a RBI single by Webb to make it 7-0. Jonathan Hughes came in to pitch and gave up leadoff triple off the right field wall that led to Mercer’s only run, making it 7-1. Jacket pitchers had retired 12 straight prior to the hit.
Freshman RHP Chase Bowdoin came in to pitch to Tech in the 8th for Mercer. He also had a 1-2-3 inning, although English drove the center fielder to the wall in the deepest part. Another senior Jacket pitcher, Robert Winborne came in for the 9th and retired the Bears in order to seal the dominating win. Micah Carpenter got his first win, and Healey the loss. Tech has a quick turnaround before facing the Panthers starting Thursday. A sweep would guarantee the Coastal Division title.