THE FLATS – The Yellow Jackets recorded 11 hits and held the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals to just three hits for the game, however, the Cardinals scored three runs in the top of the ninth to come from behind and defeat Tech 5-4 in the ACC series finale on Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Making his first appearance in the batting order for the Jackets on Saturday afternoon, freshman Xzavion Curry went 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt and two RBIs at the plate as the designated hitter. Fellow freshman Chase Murray was 2-for-2 with a sac bunt, a sacrifice fly and an RBI, while Austin Wilhite went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored at the plate on the day.
Senior Ryan Peurifoy was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, while Coleman Poje went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
The Cardinals were led by the middle of the order in Brendan McKay (1-for-2, HR, 2 BB, RBI, 2 runs) and Drew Ellis (1-for-2, HR, 2 BB, 2 RBIs, run).
Freshman starter Jay Shadday did not result in the decision despite holding the Cardinals to just two runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out three batters over the first 5.2 innings of play.
Senior Zac Ryan (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on one hit, one walk, one hit batter and two strikeouts over the final 2.0 innings of the game.
Louisville’s Adam Wolf (4-0) stole the win, as the lefty pitched just 1.2 innings out of the bullpen, giving up one run on two hits, while closer Lincoln Henzman (10) earned the save pitching around an error in the ninth to secure the win for the Cardinals.
Tech bounced back from a two-run deficit, as Louisville’s Ellis hit a two-run home run in the top of the second, to score a run in the third on an RBI single by Peurifoy and two more runs in the fourth by way of a sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Curry to take the lead at 3-2 after four innings of play.
Shadday and Jared Datoc teamed together to pitch around a lead-off single by the Cardinals in the sixth, before Datoc got a ground out and a double play on a strikeout and throw out by catcher Joey Bart at second on a caught stealing attempt to keep the Jackets on top by one going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Jackets, who had stranded two in the sixth, left two more on in the seventh to keep the score at 3-2 with two innings left to play.
Tech handed the ball over to Ryan who cruised through the eighth inning with a ground out and back-to-back strikeouts, before Curry delivered again with another RBI single to right field to score Wilhite from second to double the Jackets’ lead at 4-2.
However in the top of the ninth, the Cardinals led off with a solo home run to right by McKay to put the Tech lead back to one at 4-3.
The Cardinals then drew a nine-pitch walk, before Ryan hit the next batter to put runners on first and second with no outs. Louisville, who looked to move the runners up 90 feet and into scoring positon, laid down a sacrifice bunt which was fielded by Tech who attempted to get the lead runner at third. The throw was not in time and the Cardinals loaded the bases with no outs.
A ground ball to second base got the first out of the inning, however, the tying run scored from third on the play to put the score at 4-4. The next Louisville hitter hit a deep fly ball to left field to score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to give the visitors a 5-4 lead.
With just three outs to play with, the Jackets’ Wade Bailey reached base safely on a throwing error with one out. However, Tech couldn’t get the tying run across the plate, as a ground out and a strikeout ended the game with the Cardinals on top at 5-4.
Tech stranded 10 runners on base on the day, while Louisville left five on the base paths.
The Jackets (16-18, 4-14 ACC) will host the Mercer Bears on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET at Russ Chandler Stadium.
* The Yellow Jackets have not hit a home run in seven straight games, their longest drought of the season.
* Tech did not record a single extra base hit over the three-game series with the Cardinals.
* Kel Johnson has now reached base safely in a season-high 14 straight contests with a single in the fourth inning.
* Xzavion Curry registered his first career hit and his first career RBI in the loss on Saturday.