ATLANTA, Ga. – Georgia Tech scored five unearned runs Friday afternoon on the way to a 7-3 non-conference victory over UNCG in the teams’ series opener at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets improve to 2-3 overall while the Spartans drop to 1-2 on the young season.
Sophomore RHP Ryan Clark (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) earned his first career start for the Blue and Gold but was saddled with his first loss of the season as he faced some tough luck. Clark (0-1) allowed five runs, all unearned, in five innings pitched with no walks and a personal-high seven strikeouts. Jonathan King picked up his first win of season for Georgia Tech throwing five shutout innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
At the plate, junior outfielder Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) recorded a hit and drove in two runs. In his Spartan debut, junior infielder Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) scored a run and drew a walk.
After Brandon Gold led off the bottom of the second with a base hit to left field, Clark could not handle a slow dribbler in front of the mound, allowing A.J. Murray to reach base. With runners on first and second, a sac bunt by Arden Pabst moved them up a base. Daniel Spignola and Thomas Smith followed with a RBI groundout and an infield hit – giving Georgia Tech the early 2-0 advantage.
The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to a two-out, three-run home run off the bat of Smith. All three runs were unearned due to a fielding error in right field with one away. Clark escaped further damage by striking out Mott Hyde to end the inning.
UNCG put together its first real threat of the contest in the top of the fifth when junior designated hitter Aaron Wright (Asheville, N.C./Chattanooga State) was hit by a pitch and senior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) drew a walk with one out. However, Wright was thrown out a third base off a flare to shallow center field by junior outfielder Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) for the second out and Chapman grounded into a fielder’s choice play to terminate the threat.
Things did not begin well for the Spartans in the bottom of the sixth as reliever and junior RHP Adam Boghosian (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) hit the first batter he saw with his first pitch and then allowed an infield single to Spingola. Smith drew a subsequent walk to load the bases before getting replaced by junior LHP Blair Betts (Cary, N.C./Indiana) without recording an out. Betts allowed two of the inherited runners to score, leaving the Yellow Jackets with a 7-0 cushion after six innings.
Chapman broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh when with two outs and the bases loaded, he poked a two-run single through the right side, scoring MacAneney and Wright who had reached on walks. A third run scored on the play due to a throwing error in right field that plated McDonald and sliced the Georgia Tech lead to 7-3. Junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) extended the half inning with a walk, but redshirt freshman infielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) could not do any further damage – flying out to center.
Neither team would push across another run in the final two innings as UNCG went down in order in the eighth and ninth.
The Spartans look to even the series Saturday, squaring off against the Yellow Jackets at 2 p.m. inside Russ Chandler Stadium.