Feb. 25, 2014
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech rallied for extra innings with an RBI bunt single from freshman Keenan Innis in the ninth, and rookie Ryan Peurifoy delivered an RBI double in the 11th as the Yellow Jackets rallied again, but Kennesaw State scored twice in the 12th and escaped Russ Chandler Stadium with a 5-3 win Tuesday night.
The Owls final three runs were unearned as two costly Tech errors opened the door for the visitors to take a 3-2 lead in the 11th inning, and score twice more on a dropped fly ball in the 12th.
The victory, just the second ever by KSU in Atlanta, improved the visitors to 6-4, while the Jackets slipped to 4-4.
“I didn’t think we had very good at bats early in the game, but we found a way to get back into it,” said head coach Danny Hall. “Innis’ bunt was outstanding to tie the game and Peurifoy had the RBI double to tie it again. We couldn’t get that hit to close it out and we made it too easy for them to score late in the game.”
With Tech trailing 2-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth, rookie shortstop Elliott Barzilli, who finished 3-for-5, ripped a one-out double down the left-field line to put the tying run in scoring position. After a strikeout, an infield error kept the inning alive and put runners at the corners.
That’s when Innis dropped a textbook bunt single up the third-base line and Barzilli was able to sprint home from third as the equalizer. Barzilli moved to second on an error, and was stranded there.
After a scoreless 10th inning, the Owls edged back in front in the 11th when leadoff hitter Kal Simmons walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Tech’s catcher trying to gun him at third.
The Jackets went right back to work in the 11th, and Innis was involved again. His single through the right side with two outs kept the inning alive for Peurifoy, who pounded a double to the gap in left that allowed the speedy Innis to score from first as the tying run.
In the top of the 12th, with two outs and a pair of Owls on base, Dylan Ivey drove a ball to the gap in right that was tracked down but dropped by the Jackets to allow both runners to score.
Thomas Smith led off the home half of the 12th with a walk, but KSU reliever Mason Ward got a line out from Matt Gonzalez and rolled a game-ending double play to secure his first win (1-0) after pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Tech’s Dusty Isaacs was on the hook for the tough-luck loss (2-1), throwing 1.2 innings and allowing one hit and two runs (both unearned). Freshman Zac Ryan yielded two runs over 4.1 innings in his second straight midweek start and was backed up by Tanner Shelton and Alex Cruz, who each tossed three innings of scoreless relief.
“Tanner threw the ball well and Cruz got us where we needed to get,” said Hall. “Dusty gave us a chance, but we didn’t capitalize when we had those guys out there with the score tied.”
Bo Way’s RBI double in the first inning put the Owls on the board first and an RBI ground out from Brennan Morgan made it 2-0 in the fourth. Way and Simmons each had three of KSU’s 10 hits.
The Jackets cut the margin in half in the sixth thanks to Brandon Gold’s RBI single that scored Gonzalez from second. Gonzalez singled in the 10th to extend his hitting streak to six games, while Gold’s two-hit night stretched the rookie’s hit streak to five games.
Tech is back home this weekend to host Bowling Green in a three-game series. Friday’s first pitch is set for 4 p.m.