The Yellow Jackets got “walked off” by Auburn in their own ballpark, 6-5.
I am having trouble believing I really saw what I saw or have to write these words. A game where Tech led by multiple runs from the 2nd inning until two outs in the 9th ended in disaster. Connor Thomas pitched a great game, but the Jackets failed to score on way too many opportunities and it cost them big.
Tech faced Auburn for the third time this season in the winners’ bracket of the Atlanta Regional. Pitching aces Thomas for Tech and Tanner Burns for Auburn took the mound before a full stadium of partisans. The winner would be in the driver’s seat, so high stakes indeed! The loser would have to play Coastal Carolina Sunday at noon in an elimination game – sadly, this will be GT.
The first good news of the night was that Luke Waddell was in the lineup after twisting his knee last night. Tech was the away team for this game in their road grays, Auburn in white.
In the bottom of the 1st, Auburn’s second batter Bliss hit a homer to deepest center field, putting them up 1-0. Tech came back in their 2nd when English was hit, Radcliff got a bloop single, and Austin Wilhite drove a ball deep to right that the fielder misjudged for a two base error, scoring English. Webb’s sac fly to center drove in Radcliff to make it 2-1. A single off the pitcher’s foot into left field by Nick Wilhite scored Austin Wilhite, and Waddell’s double scored Nick, making it 4-1, with Burn’s pitch count up.
In the bottom of the 2nd, nice plays by the middle infielders for Tech gave Thomas a shutdown inning despite a single, with a double play to end it. A single by English, passed ball, and two out RBI single by Hall gave the Jackets a 5-1 lead mid-third, but Tech was through scoring.
In the bottom of 3rd, an infield single was erased by a nice 4-6-3 DP; Thomas only facing ten batters through three. Two errors by Auburn’s shortstop put runners on the corners for McCann with two outs, but Burns struck him out looking to keep it 5-1.
Reliever Richard Fitts came in for Auburn to pitch after the 3rd, and pitched very well the rest of the way.
In Tech’s 5th, English doubled to lead off, but was thrown out at home on Austin Wilhite’s infield ball that was thrown wide to first, resulting in safe there, but returned home to get English – confirmed after a lengthy review. The Jackets used their third inning ending double play in the Auburn 5th to keep it 5-1.
Trouble came in the 6th with a single, double, and comebacker to Thomas that he threw high to home for an error, allowing the run to score. Tech next caught a base stealing attempt at 2nd. This was reviewed but upheld for out two and a ground out kept it at 5-2, Thomas’s error only costing one run.
Tech missed a golden opportunity in their 7th with runners on the corners and one out, but Radcliff hit into an easy 4-6-3 DP to end the threat. English was 7-for-7 on the weekend after his single. In the bottom of the 7th, Tech’s fourth DP kept two singles from doing any damage.
CT worked around Auburn’s ninth hit in their 8th, keeping it at 5-2, both starters still throwing. CT came back for the ninth, and an error on Waddell and a hit batsman put two on right away. This would cost Tech the game. CT got two outs on a fly ball and strikeout, and it looked like the Jackets would prevail, but then a single scored Auburn’s third run and brought the winning run to the plate in Williams, who was 0-3. He drove a ball deep into the Cypress trees, and just like that, Tech lost 6-5, Fitts getting the win and Thomas the loss. Tech has to somehow win three games over the next two days to advance.