Stallings & Johnson Homer in 8-7 Walk-off Win

The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth and got a hard hit sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of freshman Chase Murray to score redshirt-senior Coleman Poje from third to hand the home team in gold an 8-7 come from behind walk-off win over the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Tech overcame a five-run deficit by outscoring the Panthers 8-2 from the bottom of the fifth inning and on to pick up its largest come from behind win of the season.

GT improves to 22-21 overall and 7-15 in the ACC with the victory, while Pitt falls to 21-22 and 8-14 in league play with the loss.

Junior clean-up Kel Johnson went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run that gave the Jackets a 7-6 lead in the seventh. Designated hitter Brandt Stallings, who returned from an injury, went 2-for-5 with a home run, while Trevor Craport went 2-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored. Ryan Peurifoy was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a base on balls, while Poje went 2-for-5 with a run scored on graduation day.

For the Pitt Panthers at the plate, lead-off hitter Jacob Wright went 2-for-5 with a three-run home run, while Frank Maldonado was 3-for-3 with two walks and an RBI. P.J. DeMeo (0-for-1) drove in three RBIs of his own with three sacrifice flies for the contest.

Relief pitcher Jared Datoc (5-0) picked up the win, as the junior pitched the final 4.0 innings of the contest taking over for freshman starter Xzavion Curry who was knocked out of the game after giving up five runs, on nine hits and two walks, while striking out four in 5.0 complete innings.

The loss went to Pitt’s Chris Gomez (3-2), as Tech posted five runs, three of which were earned on starter Josh Mitchell, added two more runs against reliever Sam Mersing and then ended the game with the walk-off run against Gomez in the ninth.

Pitt used a long ball to jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning, as Wright followed singles from Manny Pazos and Nico Popa with a three-run home run to right center field with two outs in the inning.

Tech tried to get a run back in the bottom half of the second, as Austin Wilhite reached base on a two-out walk. Peurifoy followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second. However, a strikeout ended the inning, as the Jackets stranded two in the frame.

After Pitt extended its lead to 4-0 on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third, the Jackets threatened again in the bottom of the fourth as Poje and Wilhite singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. Peurifoy then hit a laser down the left field line, but right at the third baseman who stepped on third base for out number three.

The Jackets’ bats finally broke through in the fifth. Down 5-0 following another sacrifice fly by Pitt in the top half of the inning, Tech’s Stallings led off the bottom half of the frame with a long solo shot over the left field wall to get the home team on the scoreboard.

Two batters later, Wade Bailey singled and then came around to score on a triple over the head of the left fielder by Craport to put the Jackets down three at 5-2.

Sophomore catcher Joey Bart then hit a sharp grounder to the hole at second to plate Craport from third to cut the Pitt lead to two at 5-3.

Tech tacked on two more runs on a walk, back-to-back fielder’s choices and a Pitt error to tie the game up at 5-5 after five innings complete.

Following a 1-2-3 inning for both teams in the sixth, the Panthers retook the lead in the top half of the seventh on their third sacrifice fly of the game to go up 6-5.

Just like in the fifth, the Jackets answered with a boom in the bottom half of the inning, as Johnson blasted a two-run home run to center field to give the Jackets their first lead of the game at 7-6.

Datoc cruised to a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth, yet gave up a lead-off double to start the top of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt and a single through the right side scored the tying run for Pitt and put the score at 7-7, before the Jackets’ heroics in the final half inning of the game.

The two teams combined for a total of eight extra base hits in the contest, but left a total of 16 runners on base for the night.

Georgia Tech (22-21, 7-15 ACC) and Pitt (21-22, 8-14 ACC) will return to the field tomorrow night for game two of the series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET.

Tech Tidbits

* Georgia Tech is now 2-1 in walk-off wins this season with both of their wins coming at home in ACC play.
* When leading after seven complete innings, the Jackets are now 20-3 on the season.
* Freshman Nick Wilhite made his first career start for the Jackets.
* Brandt Stallings recorded his 10th career home run in the contest.
* The Jackets have now hit 15 home runs over their last eight games.
* Jared Datoc threw a career-high 4.0 innings in the win on Saturday night.
* Kel Johnson has now reached base safely in a season-high 23 straight contests.
* Ryan Peurifoy continued his hitting streak, pushing it out to a career-high 11 straight games.
* Wade Bailey has now reached base safely in 15 straight games.
* Wade Bailey extended his hitting streak to five straight games.

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