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Jackets Blast Past Radford in Record Opening Day

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech baseball got off to a rocky start to the 2024 season, but responded greatly, scoring 21 runs on 20 hits and allowing just two runs after the first in its dominant 21-8 win over Radford on Friday night at Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets (1-0) fell behind 6-0 in the first inning, but rallied in the bottom half to pull within one thanks to a Matthew Ellis double, Bobby Zmarzlak bases-loaded walk and RBI singles from Trey Yunger and Mike Becchetti.

From there, RHP Ben King (1-0) put up back-to-back zeroes on the board to steady the wild season opener, which allowed Tech’s offense to heat up more as the Jackets scored five more runs in the third, including three home runs. The White and Gold continued to mash, putting up crooked numbers in the sixth (three) and seventh (six) to pull away and score an Opening–Day-record 21 runs.

At the plate, Yunger led the way, finishing 4-for-6 with a home run and whopping six RBI. Payton Green also went 4-for-4 with a home run, while freshman Drew Burress launched two home runs in his first collegiate game for two RBI.

Cam Jones and Becchetti also turned in two hits, a home run and two RBI apiece, while John Giesler mashed two doubles to score two more runs. Ellis rounded out the multi-hit efforts with an RBI, while Bobby Zmarzlak drove in two runs and Vahn Lackey homered in his first collegiate at-bat.

On the mound, King got the win, pitching 2.2 innings with just three hits and two runs against him. Freshman RHP Tate McKee carried the baton for the next 2.1 innings, surrendering just one hit and striking out two, while RHP Dawson Brown and RHP Caden Gaudette combined for 3.0 scoreless innings and six punchouts between them to close.

The Highlanders (0-1) were led by Zach Whitacre, who finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while RHP Trey Ludy (0-1) took the loss, allowing five runs on six hits in 1.1 innings of work.

The Jackets return on Saturday, Feb. 17 against Radford. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra.

Game Notes:

  • Georgia Tech’s 21 runs marked its most scored in an Opening Day game in school history;
  • Tech’s 21 runs are its most scored overall since it scored 23 against Long Island on Feb. 28, 2023;
  • Tech launched seven home runs for the first time since 2009 and the fourth time overall since 2008:
    • 8 at Mercer – April 22, 2008
    • 7 vs. Radford – Feb. 16, 2024
    • 7 vs. Presbyterian – May 3, 2009
    • 7 vs. Alabama State – March 26, 2008
  • Trey Yunger’s inside-the-park home run marked the fifth by a Yellow Jacket since 2005 and first since 2018:
    • Trey Yunger vs. Radford – Feb. 16, 2024
    • Austin Wilhite vs. Florida State – April 8, 2018
    • Coleman Poje vs. Savannah State – May 10, 2016
    • Kyle Wren vs. Clemson – April 28, 2012
    • Tyler Greene vs. Wake Forest – March 11, 2005
  • Yunger’s six RBI was the Yellow Jackets’ most since Jackson Finley drove in seven against Gardner-Webb (April 29, 2023);
  • Vahn Lackey became the fifth Yellow Jacket since 2015 to hit a home run in their first plate appearance and first since 2022:
    • Vahn Lackey vs. Radford – 2024
    • Nicholas Romano vs. Wright State – 2022
    • Drew Compton vs. St. Peter’s – 2020
    • Michael Guldberg vs. Dartmouth – 2018
    • Blake Johnson vs. St. John’s – 2015
  • Drew Burress is the first Georgia Tech true freshman to bat leadoff on Opening Day since Kyle Wren led off 2011.

Multimedia:

Postgame Press Conference (Coach Hall, Trey Yunger, Ben King)

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GEORGIA TECH BASEBALL TICKETS

Be there for all the action as tickets for Georgia Tech baseball’s 2024 season are now on sale! Opening Day is slated for Friday, Feb. 16 against the Radford Highlanders so secure your seats now at one of the country’s premier collegiate baseball venues, Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium! The Yellow Jackets will host more than 30 home games this season, including five ACC series. For more information on the 2024 season, click HERE!

Alexander-Tharpe Fund

The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of the development of Yellow Jackets that thrive academically at the Institute and compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.

For the latest information on the Georgia Tech baseball team, follow us on Twitter (@GTBaseball), Facebook, Instagram (@gt_baseball) or visit us at www.ramblinwreck.com.

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