There are no two ways about it; losing to Winthrop on Tuesday stunk. Fortunately, the Diamond Dogs were in a position to climb right back on the horse after being thrown, as Georgia traveled to Atlanta on Wednesday to face the Classic City Canines' perennial rivals, the Yellow Jackets. Unfortunately, they were not up for the challenge Georgia Tech offered, resulting in a second straight setback.
The game at The Flats began favorably enough for the Red and Black, as Ryan Peisel led off the top of the first frame with a base hit to left field. Despite a Matt Olson pop-up to record out one, Gordon Beckham drew the walk that put two men aboard, but the Georgia shortstop was picked off, after which Rich Poythress grounded out to strand the Bulldog third baseman in scoring position.
Alex McRee engineered a pair of outs to start the home half of the stanza, striking out Jeff Rowland and inducing a groundout from Chris House before surrendering a first-pitch single to Charlie Blackmon, who promptly swiped second. Derek Dietrich's ensuing single advanced the Yellow Jacket right fielder to third, but Peisel managed to record the put-out which ended the inning.
Ramblin' Wreck starting pitcher Deck McGuire, who quite simply has too cool a name for him to be enrolled at Georgia Tech, struck out all three of the Bulldog batters he faced in the top of the second canto. In the bottom of the stanza, Luke Murton turned a payoff pitch into a leadoff single, only to have his effort be canceled out when Brad Feltes grounded into a double play. Thomas Nichols thereafter struck out to preserve the scoreless tie.
Yellow Jacket left fielder Chris House went one for three with no walks and did not bat in a run on Wednesday. He probably would have done better had he stopped popping pills while trying to practice medicine.
Although Matt Cerione struck out looking at the outset of the third inning, he reached first on a wild pitch and proceeded immediately to steal second base. The Georgia center fielder advanced another 90 feet when Michael Demperio was thrown out at first base in the ensuing at-bat, so Peisel was able to plate the contest's first run by grounding out to second base. Olson's subsequent groundout was accompanied by no such fringe benefits.
The Yellow Jackets responded in kind in the bottom of the frame, which Tony Plagman began by drawing a base on balls. Jason Haniger put the first pitch he saw into play, moving the Georgia Tech first baseman over to third with a single. This earned McRee the swift hook we have come to expect in a midweek game, so Nathan Moreau took over on the mound, surrendering the sacrifice fly to Rowland which tied the game anew.
House immediately thereafter flied out to right field and, after Haniger stole second, Blackmon went down swinging to bring the Bulldogs back up to bat. Unfortunately, no Classic City Canine made it as far as first base in the top of the fourth frame, enabling the Golden Tornado to go back to work right away. Dietrich swung at the first pitch thrown his way, sending it to right center field for a leadoff double.
Following a Murton pop-up, Feltes's flyout to center field moved the Ramblin' Wreck shortstop over to third. A double by Nichols plated Dietrich and a Plagman single scored Nichols. Fortunately, Haniger's subsequent walk went to waste when Rowland struck out looking, but Georgia Tech had taken a 3-1 lead on a two-run, three-hit canto.
Georgia Tech right fielder Charlie Blackmon went two for four with an R.B.I., a walk, and a stolen base, but he is best known for authoring the U.S. Supreme Court's historic opinion in Roe v. Wade.
The Diamond Dogs went three up and three down in the top of the fifth stanza, after which Nick Montgomery assumed the hurling responsibilities for the visitors. The bottom of the frame commenced with a base hit by House, which was followed by a run-scoring double by Blackmon. After Dietrich flied out to advance the Yellow Jacket right fielder to third, a single from Murton plated another run. The next two Golden Tornado batters registered outs, but Georgia Tech had claimed a distressingly familiar 5-1 advantage on the Ramblin' Wreck's second straight two-run, three-hit stanza.
Demperio, of all people, finally got the Classic City Canines untracked offensively in the top of the sixth inning. Batting ninth in the lineup but first in the frame, the Georgia second baseman led off with a triple to left center field. A sacrifice fly by Peisel brought home a run and, after an Olson flyout with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, Beckham turned a payoff pitch into a base hit through the left side.
Poythress drew a walk to bring Bryce Massanari to the plate. The Georgia catcher responded by punching a base hit through the middle to plate Beckham. This finally chased McGuire from the mound and the new Georgia Tech pitcher, Andrew Robinson, succeeded in ending the inning in which the Red and Black had cut the deficit to 5-3.
Undaunted, the Yellow Jackets began the bottom of the canto with a first-pitch ground-rule double from Plagman. The next two batters struck out and popped up, respectively, but, when Patrick Long drew a walk, Dean Weaver was brought in from the bullpen and the latest Georgia reliever surrendered the base on balls to Blackmon that loaded the bases for Dietrich. The Georgia Tech shortstop reached on the fielder's choice that ended the frame.
Ramblin' Wreck shortstop Derek Dietrich was three for five at the plate on Wednesday night. He also is interested in learning whether you would like to touch his monkey.
No Diamond Dog reached base in the top of the seventh stanza, but Murton led off the home half of the inning with a base hit up the middle. Jay Dantzler's first-pitch bunt sacrificed the Golden Tornado designated hitter over to second and a triple by Nichols in the next at-bat gave the home team its 13th hit and its sixth run. This marked the end of the night for Weaver, who gave way to Justin Earls.
The fifth Georgia hurler of the evening struck out Plagman before surrendering the single to Haniger which brought Nichols home. Fortunately, after the Ramblin' Wreck catcher stole second, Rowland grounded out to put yet another two-run, three-hit inning in the books and restore the home team's four-run lead.
Although new Georgia Tech hurler Brad Rulon convinced Peisel to lead off the eighth frame with a flyout, Olson walked and Beckham belted a base hit through the left side to move the Georgia right fielder into scoring position. Poythress put the next pitch into play for the single that scored Olson, but the budding rally ended abruptly when Massanari grounded into a double play.
Long and Blackmon each turned an 0-2 pitch into an out at the commencement of the home half of the canto, yet Dietrich managed to keep the inning alive with a single up the middle and Murton made Earls pay for that lapse, as the Yellow Jacket designated hitter drove a home run to left field to give Georgia Tech a 9-4 lead. It was Murton's fourth hit of the night and the home team's 16th.
Golden Tornado reliever Brad Rulon pitched one inning, gave up two hits and one walk, and surrendered an earned run, which isn't bad for a deodorant that has been eclipsed in the marketplace by gel antiperspirants.
Once Dantzler grounded out to get the ninth frame underway, the Red and Black knew what they had to do, as they trailed by ten hits and five runs. Ramblin' Wreck reliever Chris Hicks began the visitors' half of the inning by coaxing a flyout from Lyle Allen before surrendering a single to Joey Lewis. Despite David Perno's substitutions in the batter's box and on the basepaths, Robbie O'Bryan flied out on a payoff pitch to leave pinch runner Miles Starr where he was and Demperio formally concluded the contest with a strikeout.
Georgia simply was dominated by the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night. Out-hit 16-7, the Red and Black largely were anemic at the plate. Ryan Peisel tallied two R.B.I. despite going one for three, but Gordon Beckham (2 for 3) was the only Diamond Dog to have a multi-hit game on a night in which the Classic City Canines drew only three walks but struck out eleven times.
The host squad, by contrast, got production not only from Charlie Blackmon (2 for 4, 1 R.B.I.), Derek Dietrich (3 for 5), and Luke Murton (4 for 5, 3 R.B.I.) in the heart of the order, but also from Thomas Nichols (2 for 4, 2 R.B.I.), Tony Plagman (2 for 3, 1 R.B.I.), and Jason Haniger (2 for 3, 1 R.B.I.) at the bottom of the lineup. As a team, the Yellow Jackets tallied four doubles, a triple, and a home run. In the meantime, Deck McGuire pitched a gem, earning the win while facing 23 batters, striking out seven, walking two, and conceding four hits and three earned runs in a little under six innings of work.
There is nothing good to be taken away from a loss to a hated rival in which your team's starting pitcher gave up one earned run and your team's four relief pitchers gave up two earned runs apiece. This was an awful effort by the Red and Black and I hope they got this losing nonsense out of their systems before they resume conference play against 17th-ranked Kentucky on Friday night.