Feb. 21, 2015
TECH STARTERS: Spingola/CF, Smith/1B, Johnson/RF, Murray/DH, Gonzalez/LF, Justus/SS, Gold/3B, Pabst/C, Bailey/2B, King/SP.
FIU STARTERS: Schaaf/CF, Gaines/SS, Anderson/3B, Rios/DH, Portelli/LF, Robinson/1B, Escarra/C, Cody/RF, Silva/2B, Crouse/SP.
Georgia Tech improved to 4-1 this season by rallying in the ninth inning to beat FIU, 16-9, in the opening game of the 16th annual Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach in Conway, S.C.
After trailing 9-8 entering the ninth, Thomas Smith was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game and Kel Johnson followed by drawing a walk for a 10-9 lead.
But it was A.J. Murray`s grand slam over the 20-foot wall in center field that made it 14-9 and put the game out of reach.
Tech led 3-0 after the first, 6-3 in the second and 7-3 in the third before FIU (2-3) chipped away and eventually took a 9-8 lead thanks to a three-run seventh inning.
Georgia Tech entered the game ranked 28th in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30, while FIU was ranked 23rd by Baseball America.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
Of Tech’s 14 hits, six went for extra bases including Murray’s second career grand slam.
It is the second consecutive game that Tech hit a grand slam as Johnson hit one in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 7-4 win at Georgia Southern.
Murray finished 3-for-5 and set career highs for RBI (six) and runs (four).
Murray’s other grand slam came last year versus Georgia State.
The Jackets’ eight-run uprising in the ninth represented their most runs in an inning since scoring 10 in the fifth during a 14-9 win at Clemson on April 27, 2103.
Johnson extended his season-opening hitting streak to five games with a double off the wall in the second inning. It was the rookie’s seventh extra-base hit of the season. Each of his first five games have included at least one extra-base hit.
Matt Gonzalez was 3-for-5 and both of Arden Pabst’s hits were doubles. Pabst drove in a pair, as did Connor Justus, who was 2-for-5.
Sophomore lefty Tanner Shelton earned his first career win by tossing the final 2.1 innings, allowing no runs and no walks with four strikeouts.
Junior lefty Jonathan King was bidding for his 10th career win and turned a 7-5 lead over to the bullpen in the sixth.
Tech has trailed at some point in each of its first five games.