Feb. 18, 2011
ATLANTA – Uplifted by three hits apiece from Kyle Wren and Jacob Esch, the 19th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team held onto an early advantage for a 6-3 season-opening win over Kent State Friday evening at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Jackets improved to 62-47-3 all-time in season openers, 14-4 under head coach Danny Hall.
Tech had plenty of production from the top of the order, as Wren and Esch, the No. 1 and No. 3 hitters in the lineup, combined with freshman Mott Hyde (No. 2) for eight of the teams 12 hits and all six of the teams runs Friday.
Wren’s 3-for-4 performance brought him just a home run shy of the cycle. He added two runs and a stolen base in his first career start.
“If I dreamed of how I would do in my first career game, it probably wouldn’t be as good as that,” said Kyle Wren, who started his first collegiate game on Friday. “That was definitely a dream come true to start the season.”
Hyde and Wren were two of six freshmen that started in the season opener. Both newcomers started the scoring early in the first inning for the Jackets, as Hyde followed Wren’s leadoff double with a triple to centerfield for a 1-0 lead.
“I thought they swung the bat really well,” Head coach Danny Hall said. “Kyle [Wren] had a great day setting the table for everybody. Mott Hyde got some big hits early and I thought made some big plays at short stop. Zane Evans had a big two out hit there. All told, I think those freshmen did a nice job.”
Esch, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, would add another run on the next at-bat with a single up the middle off of Kent State starter Kyle Hallock. The single extended Esch’s hit streak to seven games.
The Jackets laid down four hits on the Golden Flashes starter in the first inning.
Tech went on to add two more in the third, one behind Hyde’s second RBI of the game and another with a sharp groundout from freshman Zane Evans. Evans was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Tech starter Mark Pope retired 14 of the first 16 batters he faced in the game before the Flashes had made their move to put a man in scoring position. Kent State’s Evan Campbell cut the lead to 4-1 with a sacrifice fly RBI to right field before the Flashes added another on a single by Jimmy Rogers on the next at-bat.
The Jackets would add an RBI single in the fifth and another in the sixth inning from sophomore Brandon Thomas and Evans, respectively, to push out to a 6-2 tally.
Pope picked up the win on the mound after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits over 6.2 innings. The Marietta, Ga. native had six strikeouts and issued just one walk. He now is 14-2 in his career.
Hallock was dealt the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings.
The two teams return to action Saturday at 2 p.m., with Jed Bradley taking the mound for Georgia Tech.
-Georgia Tech improves to 62-47-3 in season openers and 43-21-2 when the season opener occurs at home.
-The Jackets are 14-4 in season openers under head coach Danny Hall
-Preseason All-American junior Matt Skole (INF) did not start Friday because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice.
-Skole ends a streak of 120-consecutive games started. Prior to the game he had started every game of his collegiate career.