April 24, 2012
ATLANTA – Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate turned into good, old-fashioned baseball Tuesday night in front of 19,669 at Turner Field in Atlanta as Georgia Tech edged Georgia, 4-3, in the 10th Annual Kauffman Tire Spring Classic for Kids. Mott Hyde had three hits and scored three times for the Jackets.
Kyle Wren provided the game-winning double in the top of the ninth inning, allowing Tech to even the season series with the Bulldogs and improve to 25-17, while Georgia slipped to 24-18. The teams meet in the rubber game May 9 at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The win was the third for the Jackets in the 10-year history of the game at Turner Field, which is played annually to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The all-time series favors Georgia, 198-155-2, but Tech has won seven of the last 10 meetings overall.
“That’s a huge win,” said Wren. “We’re starting to play better right now and any time you beat Georgia is great. After the series win at North Carolina, this win will be a big confidence boost for us going into the Clemson series.”
After Hyde singled to left field with two outs in the ninth, he stole second and then sprinted home for the go-ahead run thanks to Wren’s double down the right-field line.
Hyde’s game-winning run capped a memorable night for the sophomore from Calhoun, Ga., who doubled and scored Tech’s first run in the third inning and launched a two-run home run in the seventh inning that gave Tech a 3-2 lead.
“He really swung the bat well and his home run gave us a big lift,” said head coach Danny Hall. “And then he started the rally in the ninth, so that was a big night for him.”
Sophomore reliever Alex Cruz made the go-ahead run stand, firing the final three innings with three strikeouts and rolling a grounder to Jake Davies at first base for the final out. Cruz picked up the win (5-1), allowing three hits and a run with three strikeouts in his team-leading 20th relief appearance.
“Again Cruz got it done, and that’s the way he’s been for us,” said Hall.
Georgia drew first blood in the home half of the first, as Connor Welton stroked a double to lead the game off, moved to third on sacrifice and scored on Kyle Farmer’s ground out.
But Tech countered in the third as Hyde doubled, moved to third on a bunt single from Wren and scored on Sam Dove’s sacrifice fly to deep center.
Georgia regained a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Nelson Ward singled home Curt Powell, who doubled.
After Hyde’s go-ahead two-run blast in the seventh, Georgia rallied in the home half for the tie on a bases-loaded ground out from Levi Hyams. Cruz, though, stranded two Bulldogs in scoring position to preserve the tie.
Wren was on base three times, with a single, a walk and the ninth-inning double, while Hyde finished 3-for-4 and matched his career high of three runs.
Tech, which has won two straight and four of its last five, hosts Clemson at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend in a key ACC series. Friday’s first pitch is set for 7 p.m.