Georgia’s season has been a bit on the forgettable side, but the Bulldogs can claim the season series with Georgia Tech for the second year in a row. Georgia exploited two fruitful innings and an effective start from Kevin Smith to beat the Yellow Jackets 7-5 at Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs, last in the SEC in ERA (5.11 coming into Tuesday’s game), have now held Tech to six runs in their two wins. Georgia beat Tech 5-1 April 11 in Athens. The Bulldogs will go for the sweep in the series finale at SunTrust Park May 9. UGA has not swept Tech in a season series of three or more games since 1984.
Georgia scored all of its runs with two outs. Tech, meanwhile, had a runner thrown out at third and stranded seven runners, five in scoring position.
“It’s clutch hitting, and something that’s not always been there for us this year,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “We’ve been up and down. There’s no secret to that, but that was a good baseball team that played (Tuesday night), and really proud of those guys to win that game.”
Georgia scored its first four runs in the top of the fourth. With two out and runners on first and second, designated hitter L.J. Talley singled to right, and Keegan McGovern barely beat Tech right fielder Coleman Poje’s throw to the plate for the first run of the game.
With the inning still alive, Tech’s Ben Schniederjans walked Will Proctor after starting the at-bat 0-2, his third bases on balls of the inning, and was taken out of the game. Reliever Jake Lee gave up singles to Tucker Maxwell and Tucker Bradley that scored three more runs for a 4-0 lead.
After Tech countered with single runs in the fourth and fifth, Georgia catcher Michael Curry drilled a pitch from Jared Datoc deep for a two-run homer and a 6-2 lead. Down 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Tech loaded the bases with none out, but Drew Moody retired the next three batters to end the game.
Smith went four innings, giving up five hits and walking one while giving up one run, to earn the win. Schniederjans took the loss.
Georgia (17-25) had lost six of seven after beating Tech (20-20) in Athens.
“This is our biggest rival,” Stricklin said. “For a lot of our players, for a lot of our fans, this is the biggest series of the year, no matter what, so it’s big to win the series. It’s important. They’re a good team, but to win the series means a lot to us.”
Said Tech coach Danny Hall: “This is a huge game for Georgia Tech fans and for us, so to lose it, just disappointing.”
— Story by Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution