Opposing grand slam changes game

Layne Saliba

It was scoreless until the top of the second inning at J.I. Clements Stadium as Georgia Southern (3-1) took on Georgia Tech (3-1) Tuesday night.

After eight pitching changes, Tripp Sheppard took the loss after throwing just 17 pitches but giving up two hits and three earned runs as the Eagles fell to the Yellow Jackets 7-4.

Junior DH Spencer Duffie went 2-4 with three RBI on the night. Freshman 2B Jordan Howard went 2-2 with one RBI while senior LF Hunter Thomas scored two runs.

Sophomore pitcher Ryan Cleveland gave up the first Yellow Jacket run on a RBI bunt from the bottom of the Georgia Tech batting order in the top of the second inning.

It remained quiet until the Eagles smacked two back-to-back pitches straight to the pitcher in the bottom of the fourth inning. It seemed like this got into the Yellow Jacket pitcher’s head as the bases were soon loaded.

Duffie came to the plate and hit a fly ball to right field. The ball dropped between three fielders as freshman 3B Will Hudgins and Thomas scored giving Georgia Southern the 2-1 lead.

Howard came up to the plate and hit a grounder to center field and senior SS Dalton Busby was able to score before Duffie was thrown out at third base. Nonetheless, Georgia Southern led Georgia Tech 3-1 going into the top of the fifth inning.

As the sixth inning came around, the score was still 3-1. However, that did not last long.

With two outs, Duffie hit another to right field, scoring Thomas and giving Georgia Southern the 4-1 lead. Just a couple batters later, the bases were loaded and senior CF Kody Adams had the opportunity to bring them home. Unfortunately, he flew out to second base and left the three runners stranded.

Georgia Southern could have used those stranded runners in the next half inning though. With two outs, Georgia Tech’s freshman RF Kel Johnson recorded his first career grand slam giving the Yellow Jackets a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the next inning, Georgia Tech added two more runs giving them a 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning.

And that was it for the Eagles. No more runs scored and Georgia Tech took the first game of the home-and-home series with a final score of 7-4.

Georgia Southern baseball will be back in action at J.I. Clements Stadium on Feb. 20 to begin their three-game series with West Virginia.

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