Ten-Run Fifth Inning Propels #19 Georgia Tech to 14-9 Win Over #13 Clemson Saturday
Clemson, SC -
Behind a 10-run fifth inning, #19 Georgia Tech defeated #13 Clemson 14-9 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets, who snapped their six-game losing streak, improved to 28-16 overall and 12-12 in the ACC. The Tigers, who won the series 2-1, fell to 30-14 overall and 15-9 in ACC play.
The Yellow Jackets scored two two-out runs in the top of the first inning before Clemson responded with four two-out runs in the bottom of the first inning. Trailing 5-2, the Yellow Jackets scored 10 runs in the top of the fifth inning, the most runs scored against the Tigers in an inning since 1999, to take the lead for good. Clemson rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and a run in the seventh inning to pull within three runs before loading the bases with no outs, but the Yellow Jackets worked out of that jam without allowing a run and held on for the five-run victory.
Jonathan King (4-3), the second of four Georgia Tech pitchers, earned the win despite allowing seven hits, four runs, and one walk with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings pitched. Jonathan Roberts pitched 3.0 hitless and scoreless innings to record his first career save. The Yellow Jacket pitching staff overcame allowing six leadoff batters to reach base thanks in large part by turning four double plays on defense.
Tiger starter Clate Schmidt (3-3) suffered the loss, as he gave up 11 hits, seven runs (four earned), and one walk with two strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched.
Kyle Wren led off the top of the first inning with a walk and Brandon Thomas reached on a fielder's choice as Wren was retired at second. Two batters later, Zane Evans ripped a two-out double to left-center to score Thomas, then Sam Dove grounded a single up the middle to score Evans.
In the bottom of the first inning, Tyler Slaton led off with a single up the middle. After the next two Tigers were retired, Garrett Boulware and Shane Kennedy both drew two-out walks, then Tyler Krieger reached on a fielder's choice as Kennedy beat the throw to second and Slaton scored. Boulware scored on a wild pitch, then Maleeke Gibson singled through the right side to score Kennedy and Krieger.
In the third inning, Krieger hit a one-out single through the right side and Gibson reached on a bunt single. Krieger was retired at third base attempting to advance on a pitch in the dirt, but Jon McGibbon came through with a two-out single through the right side to score Gibson.
The Yellow Jackets exploded for 10 runs on six hits and two costly Tiger errors in the top of the fifth inning, as only two of the 10 runs were earned for the Clemson staff. Daniel Palka led off with a double down the right-field line and Evans grounded a single through the left side. Dove grounded a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a single to score Palka, then Schmidt booted Gonzalez's bunt back to the mound to load the bases with no outs. A.J. Murray followed with a single up the middle to score Evans and Dove. Mott Hyde reached on another error after a bunt, then Daniel Spingola walked on four pitches to score Gonzalez and give the Yellow Jackets the lead for good. Two batters later, Thomas walked on four pitches to score Murray, then Palka belted a double to left-center to score Hyde, Spingola, and Thomas. Evans followed with a long two-run homer to left field.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Boulware, Kennedy, and Krieger all hit singles to load the bases with no outs, then Gibson reached on a fielder's choice as Boulware scored and Kennedy was retired at third base. McGibbon grounded out to second to score Krieger, then Thomas Brittle blooped a two-out single to left field to score Gibson.
Kennedy and Krieger led off the seventh inning with walks, then Gibson lined a single to center to score Kennedy. After McGibbon walked to load the bases with no outs, Brittle struck out and Slaton grounded into an inning-ending double play in a close play at first base to keep Georgia Tech ahead 12-9. It was the first time all season Slaton grounded into a double play.
Palka blasted a solo homer to right field in the ninth inning, his 12th long ball of the year, then Evans followed with a solo home run to left field, his second homer of the game and 13th of the season.
Evans led the Yellow Jackets' 18-hit attack by going 6-for-6 with two homers, one double, four RBIs, and four runs. Palka went 3-for-6 with one homer, two doubles, four RBIs, and three runs. Dove and Murray added two hits and two RBIs apiece. Every Yellow Jacket batter had at least one hit in the contest.
Gibson went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs, as the freshman set career highs for hits and RBIs in his first start since March 15. Slaton, Krieger, and McGibbon added two hits apiece for the Tigers, who totaled 13 hits, but dropped to 15-1 in games that Clemson scored in the first inning in 2013.
Clemson will take six days off for final exams before returning to action in a three-game series against Maryland at Doug Kingsmore Stadium starting Saturday at 1:00 PM. The game will be televised by RSN.