May 13, 2014
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech flashed the leather defensively, was opportunistic on the bases and blanked Georgia, 2-0, Tuesday night at Turner Field in front of 21,310 in the annual Kauffman Tire Spring Classic for Kids.
Junior Matthew Grimes tossed seven shutout innings to lead the Yellow Jackets (30-23) to the season series victory over the Bulldogs (25-26-1). After falling 1-0 in Athens on March 4, Tech won 4-1 at Russ Chandler Stadium on April 15 and Tuesday night’s 2-0 win in the rubber game.
The Jackets have won the season series from UGA in four of the last five years and have won the Turner Field matchup in two of the last three seasons.
Tech was air tight defensively Tuesday night, getting a pair of key outfield assists from Matt Gonzalez and Ryan Peurifoy and a diving grab in center from Daniel Spingola. The game was the Jackets’ 16th error-free contest this year.
“Those were two big outs with one at the plate and another on a guy trying to get into scoring position,” said head coach Danny Hall, who improved his career record to 42-32 versus Georgia. “Those were two tremendous throws. And I though Matthew Grimes was the story for us. He went seven innings with no runs and was in pretty good control the whole night.”
Gonzalez fired a rocket from left to gun Connor Welton trying to score from second for the final out of the sixth inning to preserve the scoreless tie. Tech grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh when A.J. Murray scored from third on a wild pitch after reaching on a hit-by-pitch.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Peurifoy cut down Skyler Weber at second trying to stretch a single to a double for the final out. And the Jackets added to their lead in the eighth as Gonzalez reached on a single, stole second and advanced the next two bases via two more wild pitches.
With a 2-0 cushion, sophomore lefty Sam Clay got the final four outs to nail down his team-leading sixth save. Grimes improved to 5-2 by tossing seven shutout innings with and scattering four hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“That was a pretty cool atmosphere with all these fans” said Grimes. “I was throwing strikes with the fastball and that really helped me tonight. I got a couple quick outs, which are always the pitcher’s best friend.”
Senior Jonathan Roberts got two out in the eighth inning to bridge the gap between Grimes and Clay.
Tuesday’s crowd of 21,310 was the fifth-largest in the 12-year history of Tech and Georgia playing at Turner Field and the largest since 2009. The average attendance over the 12 years is 19,478.
With two outfield assists in the game, Tech is now tied for the NCAA in that category with 22 this season. Gonzalez’s nine outfield assists rank fourth in the NCAA.
The Yellow Jackets return to action Thursday to open a three-game series versus USF. The game begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.