Feb. 19, 2014
STATESBORO, Ga. – Freshman Brandon Gold was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI but Georgia Tech’s rally come up short in Statesboro as Georgia Southern held on for a 4-3 victory Wednesday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Freshman Keenan Innis and sophomore Matt Gonzalez drove in runs for the Yellow Jackets (1-3) during their two-run, two-hit seventh inning that pulled the visitors within a run. But the Eagles (3-1) bullpen turned away Tech’s comeback bid.
“It seems like we’ve been one hit away a couple times already this season,” said head coach Danny Hall. “But that’s baseball. I liked that we were aggressive tonight offensively, but a little disappointed in some situational hitting.”
A crowd of 3,213 was on hand for GSU’s home opener, which stands as the second-largest in stadium history.
Tech seized an early 1-0 lead in the second after Daniel Spingola drew a lead-off walk and quickly scored when Gold, a rookie from Johns Creek High School, launched an RBI double to right that one-hopped the wall.
The Eagles answered right back in the bottom half with the equalizer – a solo home run from Garrett Chapman – and scored twice more in the third and once in the fourth to expand the margin to 4-1. Aaron Mizell finished 3-for-4 with an RBI the gave GSU the lead in the third.
Senior Alex Cruz stemmed the tide by tossing four innings of scoreless relief and matching his career-high with seven strikeouts. He retired seven straight Eagles after entering the game in the fourth with two on and one out.
“Cruz had a really good night and he threw the ball as well as he has in a couple year,” said Hall.
Jason Richman pitched two scoreless innings in relief of starter Eric Alonzo and earned the win (2-0) for the Eagles, while Tech freshman Zac Ryan, making his first starter, was hung the loss (0-2). Matt McCall tossed three scoreless innings to earn his second save.
Gold’s lead-off double in the seventh jump started Tech’s comeback bid and freshman Elliott Barzilli legged out an infield single to put runners at the corners with no outs. Fellow rookie Keenan Innis’ squeeze bunt was successful to make it 4-2, and after Thomas Smith’s sac bunt, Gonzalez’s sac fly made it 4-3.
Gonzalez was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI, his fourth double this season. A.J. Murray walked in his first at bat, but finished 0-for-3 and had his 11-game hitting streak snapped.
Tech returns to action Friday to open a three-game series versus UNC Greensboro. Friday’s first pitch is set for 4 p.m.