April 15, 2014
THE FLATS – No. 25 Georgia Tech pounced on Georgia in the first inning and rookie Ben Parr and the bullpen made that lead stand as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Bulldogs, 4-1, on a cold and windy night Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets, who have won nine of their 10 games this month, improved to 24-14 overall and shook off a three-game slide against their rival. The rubber game of the season series is set for May 13 at Turner Field – a game that annually draws close to 20,000 spectators. The Bulldogs, fresh off a series win over No. 23 Tennessee, slipped to 21-15-1.
Tech, which outscored Florida State 10-0 in the first inning during its series win over the No. 1 Seminoles this past weekend, followed the same script Tuesday with a three-run first. Matt Gonzalez’s RBI double put the Jackets on the board, while Connor Justus and Ryan Peurifoy drew bases-loaded walks to make it 3-0.
“We jumped on them early,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Any time you can go out and put a crooked number in the first inning, it makes it harder on that other team to get back in the game. We were fortunate we could get three out of the gate and I thought Gonzalez’s at-bat was huge.”
With the cushion, Parr was in command. The rookie lefty matched his career-long of six shutout innings, scattered four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts and improved to 4-1. He allowed no more than one base runner in any inning, and only one Bulldog advanced past first base (Daniel Nichols’ double in the second).
“Ben was outstanding,” said Hall. “He threw strikes, he kept them off balance and threw six innings against a very good team and didn’t give up a run. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”
In his five midweek starts since assuming that role, Parr has pitched 27.2 innings, allowing 23 hits, four runs, six walks and 27 strikeouts for a diminutive ERA of 1.30.
“It was cold and it was windy and the wind was blowing in from left,” said Parr. “I knew I wanted to go in on a lot of righties and away from lefties. I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes and let my defense work behind me because they’ve been great all year.”
Freshman lefty Tanner Shelton retired the seventh in order, freshman Ben Schniederjans limited Georgia to just a run after a leadoff double by Mike Bell in the eighth and senior Dusty Isaacs slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.
Daniel Spingola, who was two-for-five, singled in the first inning and scored the game’s first run when Gonzalez scorched an RBI double into the right-field corner – his ACC-leading 14th two-bagger. It is the fourth straight game that Spingola has singled and scored in the first inning.
Thomas Smith was hit by a pitch and A.J. Murray walked to load the bases with one out for Justus, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, who walked to make it 2-0. Two batters later, another free pass to Peurifoy made it 3-0 and ended Patrick Boling’s night after facing eight Jackets. Boling allowed two hits, three runs and three walks and fell to 3-3.
Hunter Cole’s RBI groundout in the eighth inning ended Tech’s shutout bid.
The game time temperature was 46 degrees, which dropped to 41 during the game, and winds were gusting to 30 miles per hour.
Tech has played 18 consecutive games of holding the opposition to five runs or less, extending the longest such streak in the 21 seasons under Hall.
After going 9-1 during their longest homestand of the year, the Yellow Jackets embark on a seven-game road trip that begins Friday at Maryland. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.