Jackets Drop Saturday Contest at Wake Forest

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Georgia Tech baseball gave up six runs in the first two innings, including five unearned runs in the second, to fall behind early in a 17-8 loss to Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon at David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The loss drops Tech to 13-8 overall and 3-5 in the ACC, while the win moves Wake Forest to 17-7 overall and 5-3 in league play.

The Demon Deacons scored one run in the first, five runs in both the second and the fourth innings, as well as four in the sixth to run out to a big lead. Tech batted around and scored five runs on five hits and one error in the eighth, yet the deficit was too much for the visitors to overcome in the loss, especially after Wake tacked on two more in the bottom of the eighth.

Junior Kel Johnson led the Jackets offensively, as the first baseman was 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, two singles, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Trevor Craport was 2-for-5 with an RBI at the plate. Shortstop Austin Wilhite was 3-for-5 with a two doubles, an RBI and a run scored, while outfielder Ryan Peurifoy went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, a walk and a run scored.

For Wake Forest, three different players homered in the game in Jake Mueller (2-for-3, HR, 3 BB, 4 RBIs, 3 runs), Gavin Sheets (3-for-4, HR, BB, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) and Keegan Maronpot (1-for-5, HR, 2 RBIs, run).

Tech dug itself into an early hole, as the Demon Deacons scored a run in the first on a two-out RBI single up the middle and then plated five unearned runs in the second following a Jackets’ throwing error with two outs in the inning.

After the miscue, which would have ended the inning, the Demon Deacons got a double to put runners on second and third with two outs. Back-to-back wild pitches allowed the two baserunners to score to put the home team in front at 3-0.

The long inning continued as a walk and a hit batter put two more baserunners on for Wake. Three straight singles, one up the middle, one to second and one to left field, drove in three more runs to push the Demon Deacons’ lead out to 6-0.

The Jackets’ offense got one run back in the top of the fourth, as Johnson hit an RBI double to the gap in right center field to score Coleman Poje from second who had reached base safely on a Wake throwing error to start the inning.

However, Wake Forest blew the game open in the bottom half of the fourth, as the home team got a three-run home run from Sheets and a two-run shot off the bat of Maronpot to give the home team an 11-1 lead after four complete.

Georgia Tech picked up two runs in the top of the sixth, as Johnson homered to left and Wilhite hit an RBI double to left center field to score Brandt Stallings from first to put the score at 11-3 in favor of the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest took advantage of three walks and a wild pitch to score another run before a three-run home run to left field by Mueller added to the home team’s lead at 15-3.

Tech pushed across five runs in the eighth, highlighted by a two-run single by Wade Bailey and an RBI double by Peurifoy, yet gave up two runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the final score at 17-8.

The Jackets used seven different pitchers for the game, as starter Jonathan Hughes (1-1) was handed the loss. The righty gave up six runs, one of which was earned, on six hits, three walks, three wild pitches and one strikeout over 1.2 innings of work.

Wake’s Donnie Sellers (3-1) recorded the win, as he gave up three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits and one walk, while striking out five over the first 6.0 innings of the game.

Tech out hit Wake 14-13 for the game, yet stranded 11 base runners to the Demon Deacons’ seven.

The Jackets (13-8, 3-5 ACC) and Demon Deacons (17-7, 5-3 ACC) will play the rubber game of the three-game ACC weekend series tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.

Tech Tidbits

* Today’s loss was the first for Georgia Tech on a Saturday this season (5-1).
* Georgia Tech is now 3-6 on the season when its opponent scores first in the game.
* The Yellow Jackets are 0-5 in the ACC and 2-8 overall when giving up six or more runs to their opponents for the game.
* The 17 runs allowed ties a season-high for the Jackets.
* Coleman Poje has now reached base safely in 10 straight games, a new-career high.
* Kel Johnson’s home run in the sixth was his eighth home run of the season and the 29th for his career at Tech.
* Carter Hall extended his hitting streak to three straight games with a single in the eighth.

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