April 22, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Pitching Matchup: Jonathan King, LHP (3-2, 4.02) vs. Bryan Benzor, RHP (2-2, 4.75), 7:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech and Georgia renew hostilities tonight but for a good cause in the 11th annual Kauffman Tire Spring Baseball Classic for Kids. All proceeds from the game benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. A win by the Yellow Jackets would clinch the season series for the fourth straight year, as Tech beat UGA, 7-5, on April 9th in Athens.
The Yellow Jackets will try to bounce back from a tough weekend, in which they were swept at home by No. 17 NC State. On Friday night, following a delay of five hours, the Jackets got homers from Matt Gonzalez and A.J. Murray, but could not slow down the Wolfpack, which scored in eight of nine innings in taking a 13-4 decision. State had 15 hits against five Tech pitchers, including a three-run homer by Teran Senay off Buck Farmer in a four-run third inning to take the lead for good. Murray went 2-for-5, with his homer and had two RBIs. On Saturday, the third inning again doomed Tech, as the Wolfpack put up three against Dusty Isaacs, as the Jackets fell, 6-2. Tech managed eight hits against State All-America lefty Carlos Rodon, with Kyle Wren, who drove in both Tech runs, and Mott Hyde each getting two. After scoring six runs in the first two games, the Jackets got seven on Sunday, but dropped a heartbreaking 8-7 decision, losing for the first time all season when leading after eight (they had been 24-0). Brandon Thomas had three hits for Tech, while Thomas Smith went 2-for-4, including his first career homer, a two-run shot. Tech overcame a 5-0 deficit, taking a 6-5 lead on Smith’s homer leading off the fifth. Daniel Palka’s RBI fielder’s choice gave Tech a 7-6 lead after six, but the ‘Pack, nicked closer Zane Evans for two in the ninth to take the game.
The Bulldogs also had a tough weekend losing two of three to No. 2 Vanderbilt. UGA split a Saturday doubleheader, taking the opener 3-1, despite managing only four hits, one fewer than Vandy. Jared Walsh got the win, throwing 3 2/3 innings, allowing only one run (unearned) and two hits. He was followed by four pitchers, Blake Dieterich, Bryan Benzor, Dylan Cole and Jarrett Brown, who allowed three hits the rest of the way. Hunter Cole, Jared Walsh and Brett DeLoach each had a hit and a RBI and Kyle Farmer had the other hit and scored twice. Vandy got even in the nightcap, taking a 15-4 decision. The Commodores scored five runs in the first, and five more in the ninth, pounding out 19 hits, five of them leaving the yard, off four different Bulldog pitchers. Farmer went 2-for-4 for UGA, both of them homers, and drove in all four runs. Vanderbilt took advantage of five errors to take the series, winning Sunday, 5-1. Three of the errors came in the second and third innings, as Vanderbilt jumped out 4-0. Cole had two hits for the Bulldogs, while Farmer added another knock, driving in UGA’s lone run with a fifth-inning RBI single.
The Jackets are 3-7 in 10 previous Kauffman Classic games, but they won last year’s game. The teams meet for the third and final time this season at Russ Chandler Stadium on May 14.
Jackets fans can watch the game on Fox Sports South, with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action and can hear every pitch on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta, with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers on the call. Live stats are available on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.
Let’s play ball!
Last Time We Met At The TED: Georgia Tech and Georgia hooked up in a dandy in last year’s Kauffman, with the Jackets winning, 4-3. Shortstop Mott Hyde went 3-for-4, drove in two runs and scored three runs, including the game-winner in the top of the ninth for the Jackets, and center fielder Kyle Wren added two hits, including the RBI double in the ninth to score Hyde. After scoring Tech’s first run in the third inning on a Sam Dove sacrifice fly, Hyde blasted a two-run homer in the seventh to give Tech a 3-2 lead. Then, after the Bulldogs tied it, Hyde started the game-winning rally with two out in the ninth, with a single. He then stole second and scored easily when Wren laced a double down the right field line. Alex Cruz got the win, allowing one run and three hits over the final three innings.
The Midweek Man: Jonathan King has had a solid freshman year (3-2, 3.77 ERA) and has come on admirably since filling the midweek starter role on March 26. In his four starts King has allowed eight earned runs (nine overall) in 14 1/3 innings, on 19 hits, striking out 12 while walking six. Don’t let his 5.03 ERA as a starter fool you. He has kept Tech in all four games, not allowing more than three runs in a start nor has he surrendered more than two walks. His last time out, April 16 against Savannah State, he allowed one run (unearned) on two hits in two innings, striking out four and walking two. He left after two with the Jackets holding a 9-1 lead. Tech is 3-1 in King’s midweek starts, with the only loss coming April 2 at Mercer. The final in that game was 10-1, but King left after four with the score 3-1. The Bears broke open the game with a seven-run eighth. In his first career meeting against Georgia KIng went 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (all earned), striking out two and not walking a batter.
R.I.S.P.-y Business: Georgia Tech had chances all weekend against North Carolina State, but simply could not get the big hit. Tech stranded 25 runners in the three games, including leaving a pair on in each of the seventh and eighth innings on Sunday, not adding on in what would become an 8-7 loss. They’d like to change that tonight, although, in the first meeting with Georgia, the Jackets stranded nine runners.
Tech-nicalities: The first two games of the Kauffman were decided by 14 runs — a Tech 10-3 loss in 2003 followed by a Jackets 12-5 win in 2004. Since then, the last eight have been decided by a total of 15 runs, with no game decided by more than three and the last five games one- or two-run affairs.
On Deck: Georgia Tech resumes ACC play, traveling to Clemson for a weekend series with the Tigers. Georgia gets back into SEC action, hosting Arkansas.