April 10, 2018
MACON, GA. – Georgia Tech blasted a season-high five home runs, two apiece from both Kyle McCann and Joey Bart, to match its season-high in runs for the second-straight game in a 16-8 road win over the Mercer Bears on Tuesday night at OrthoGeorgia Park in Macon, Ga.
The win for the Jackets avenges an earlier season loss to the Bears at Russ Chandler Stadium back on March 21.
McCann (4-for-7, GS, HR, 5 RBIs, 2 runs) led the offensive outburst for the Jackets with his first career grand slam and a career-high five RBIs. Bart (3-for-3, 2 HR, 2B, 4 BB, 2 RBIs, 4 runs) reached base safely in all seven plate appearances, hitting two solo home runs, a double and walking four times, one of which was an intentional walk.
Reigning ACC Player of the Week Austin Wilhite (2-for-5, HR, BB, RBI, 2 runs) stayed hot, recording his third home run of the season, while Wade Bailey (2-for-6, 2B, 2 RBIs, 2 runs) drove in two RBIs from his lead-off spot.
Mercer pounded out 14 base hits on the night which led to eight runs. RJ Yeager (3-for-5, 2B, 2 runs), Trey Truitt (1-for-4, 2B, BB, RBI, run) and Alex Hanson (2-for-6, 2B, 2 runs) all had a double on the night, while Brandon Michie (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, run) and Jordan Ammons (2-for-2, 2 RBIs, run) both joined Hanson with two RBIs apiece.
Starter Brant Hurter (3-2) picked up the win, as the freshman overcame a tough four-run second inning to hold the Bears to five runs on seven hits and one walk, while striking out eight batters over 5.0 innings of work.
After both teams stranded one runner in the first inning and the Jackets left another runner on base in the top half of the second, the Mercer Bears took advantage of a single, a walk and a hit batter to post back-to-back two-run hits to take a 4-0 lead in the bottom half of the second.
Tech answered back in a grand way in the top of the fifth, as back-to-back singles and a walk to Bart loaded the bases for McCann who hit the first pitch deep into the crowd in right center field for his first career grand slam and tie the game up at 4-4.
McCann’s grand slam is the second of the season for the Jackets, as Tristin English hit one in a win over Virginia Tech on March 16.
However, the Bears quickly retook the lead in the bottom half of the fifth on a trio of singles with the third base knock driving in the go-ahead run to push the home team back in front at 5-4 with four innings left to play.
The Yellow Jackets refused to fold and took advantage of an intentional walk, a Mercer throwing error and a hit by pitch to score two runs in the sixth and take their first lead of the game at 6-5.
The scoring did not stop there for the White and Gold, as in the top of the seventh the Wilhite brothers led off the inning with a single by Austin who would quickly score all the way around from first base on a Mercer throwing error on Nick’s sacrifice bunt attempt to push the Tech lead to two at 7-5.
Following a sacrifice fly to center field by Bailey, putting the score at 8-5, Bart and McCann hit back-to-back home runs to double up the Bears at 10-5 midway through the seventh inning.
The back-and-forth scoring continued as the Bears scored two runs themselves in the bottom half of the inning on a Michie two-run single, while Austin Wilhite led off the top of the eighth with a solo home run to left field to put the Jackets in front at 11-7.
Two batters later, Bart followed with his second home run of the game, a solo shot to right center field, to push the Jackets’ lead back out to five at 12-7.
Mercer posted back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the eighth to score one more run and cut the Tech lead back to four at 12-8 heading into the final inning of play.
The Jackets posted another four-spot in the top of the ninth by way of two Mercer throwing errors and a wild pitch to double up the Bears in the 16-8 win.
With a pair of big innings in the game – scoring four runs or more for the frame – the Jackets improve to 11-3 on the season when posting a big inning in the contest.
The Yellow Jackets (20-13) host Georgia State (16-15) tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.
— GeorgiaTech Baseball (@GTBaseball) April 11, 2018