Georgia, Long Beach State Score Big Wins Friday Night
Big Fourth Inning Leads Georgia to Clean, Old-Fashioned Win
Anyone expecting a pitcher’s duel between Georgia righthander Emerson Hancock and Georgia Tech righthander Jonathan Hughes was left wanting by what was eventually a 6-5 win for the No. 10 Bulldogs (9-1) against the No. 19 Yellow Jackets (7-2) in the first game of baseball's edition of the Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry.
But it did look like it might be that type of game for at least three innings in Athens.
Hancock plowed through Georgia Tech hitters in the early going, going nine up and nine down on just 33 pitches, and by the time he walked off the mound after the top of the third, he had struck out five in a row.
On the other side, Hughes wasn’t quite as clean, but was just as effective in putting up zeroes. He left two men on in the first, stranded the bases loaded in the second and then finally got a perfect frame in the third.
But that’s when the bats woke up.
Georgia Tech broke through first, scoring a run in the top half of the fourth on an RBI single from freshman first baseman Drew Compton. Hancock was able to limit the damage to just the single run and leave the bases loaded by getting Stephen Reid to strike out and inducing a groundout off the bat of Jackson Webb.
That proved to be key, as Georgia was able to open up a big lead with a five-run fourth inning off Hughes. The Bulldog bats did most of the damage as the inning dragged on, to be sure, but the whole inning came to be in large part due to a critical error by Compton that would have ended the inning without a run scoring.
Instead, the next three batters after the miscue had RBI hits, capped off by a mammoth three-run homer from left fielder Tucker Bradley.
Hancock wasn’t able to put it into cruise control, though, as the Yellow Jackets continued to chip away. They scored a single run in the fifth and then two in the sixth on RBI singles from Webb and Luke Waddell.
The two runs in the sixth also chased Hancock from the game, making it a bit of a mixed bag type of day for the highly-touted arm. He did strike out 10 in 5.2 innings, and those first three innings were dominant, but the Yellow Jackets put up eight hits and two walks against him in those final 2.2 innings.
With both teams in their respective bullpens, Georgia pushed a run across in the bottom of the seventh on a Patrick Sullivan pinch-hit RBI single, and that turned out to be insurance that the Bulldogs needed.
In the ninth, Georgia Tech loaded the bases with one out and pulled within a run at 6-5 on a Reid sac fly, but Georgia lefthander Ryan Webb got Jackson Webb swinging to end the game.
Even with the lack of a standout start that one might have expected from either Hancock or Hughes going into the day, the first weekend series game between Georgia and Georgia Tech in 61 years was befitting of its place as a marquee rivalry series. The series moves to The Flats on Saturday for Georgia Tech’s home game in the rivalry.
Long Beach State Stays Hot With Shutout Against Mississippi State
After starting the season with a series win against California and a sweep of then-No. 20 Wake Forest, Long Beach State was undeterred by the latest major conference opponent to come to Blair Field for a weekend series – No. 4 Mississippi State.
Behind a sensational start from ace lefthander Adam Seminaris, the Dirtbags defeated the Bulldogs, 4-0, to open the series.
Seminaris missed last week’s series against Wake Forest due to a violation of team rules. He was exceptional in his return to the rotation Friday, holding Mississippi State’s powerful offense to one hit in eight scoreless innings. He struck out 10 batters and walked two, earning his first win of the season.
Freshman righthander Devereaux Harrison threw a scoreless ninth inning to combine with Seminaris on a one-hitter. Only a leadoff single in the sixth inning from DH Tanner Leggett saved Mississippi State (6-3) from being no-hit.
Beach (7-2) took an early lead, pushing two runs across on three hits in the first inning against Mississippi State starter Carlisle Koestler, who started in place of ace JT Ginn for the second week in a row as the Preseason All-American remains sidelined by injury. The Dirtbags got to Koestler for two more in the seventh, giving them all the cushion they would need with Seminaris on the mound.
While Beach this season has stormed out of the gate, Mississippi State has hit an early rough patch after starting 5-0. It lost its series finale against Oregon State, then was upset Tuesday by Texas Southern. It bounced back for a win Wednesday against Alcorn State, but didn’t carry any momentum from that into Friday’s game.
The Bulldogs will look to get back on track Saturday at Blair Field. The Dirtbags, meanwhile, have a chance to win another series against a major conference team with one more win this weekend. This would be the most impressive yet and would announce Beach as not just Big West Conference favorites, but also contenders on a more national level.
No-hitters for San Diego, Tulane
There were a pair of no-hitters in Friday night’s action. San Diego righthander Jake Miller threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 victory against Monmouth and three Tulane pitchers combined for a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory against Middle Tennessee State.
Miller carried a perfect game into the eighth inning before issuing a leadoff walk. He walked another batter in the ninth, but otherwise was unblemished on the night. He struck out 10 batters and threw 102 pitches to finish the program’s first no-hitter since 2008.
Miller, a sophomore, was making his first start of the season. He is now 1-0, 1.10 with 22 strikeouts and five walks in 16.1 innings.
In New Orleans, righthanders Braden Olthoff, Clifton Slagel and Keagan Gillies combined for the program’s first no-hitter since 2005. It also nearly was a perfect game – only an error in the sixth inning marred the effort.
Olthoff retired the first 15 batters he faced and struck out eight batters in six innings. Slagel followed with 2.1 innings before yielding to Keagan Gillies for the final two outs.
Olthoff has been outstanding at the front of Tulane’s rotation and improved to 3-0, 0.43 with 34 strikeouts and one walk in 21 innings. But, much like Friday night, Tulane’s pitching has been a team effort in the early going this season. They have a 2.60 team ERA.
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Friday night is for the aces. Here we highlight some of the best pitching performances of the day.
Dylan Dodd, LHP, Southeast Missouri State: Dodd threw a five-hit shutout and struck out 15 batters in a 3-0 win against Ohio. He finished strong, retiring the final eight batters he faced and struck out the side in the ninth. Dodd didn’t issue a walk and no Bobcat advanced past second base. Dodd, a senior, improved to 1-1, 2.16 with 29 strikeouts in 20.2 innings on the season.
Jimmy Joyce, RHP, Hofstra: Joyce threw a one-hitter in a 2-1 victory at Nevada. He walked one, struck out three and threw 113 pitches in the complete game. Joyce, a junior, was making his first start of the season after mixed results in his first two appearances of the season.
Zach Pettway, RHP, UCLA: Pettway worked efficiently to throw seven scoreless innings in an 8-1 victory against No. 23 Oklahoma State. The junior held the Cowboys to two hits, walked one and struck out four batters. UCLA’s pitching has been lights out this season and Pettway has been a big part of that, as he is now 2-0, 0.92 with 25 strikeouts and one walk in 19.2 innings this spring.
Sam Weatherly, LHP, Clemson: In the heated Clemson vs. South Carolina rivalry, Weatherly was outstanding and threw seven no-hit innings in the Tigers’ 8-1 victory. He struck out 11 batters, walked three and threw 104 pitches. Geoffrey Gilbert carried the combined no-hitter into the ninth before Brady Allen hit a leadoff home run to break it up. Weatherly improved to 2-0, 0.53 and has allowed just four hits and struck out 33 batters in 17 innings this season.
Around The Horn
— Minnesota’s Max Meyer led his team to a 4-1 win over No. 22 North Carolina (7-3) in the Cambria College Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium. The righthander threw a complete game, giving up five hits and one run with one walk and a career-high 14 strikeouts. The Gophers (5-4) could really give their nonconference slate a boost with at least one more win this weekend against either No. 16 Duke or No. 17 North Carolina State.
— No. 7 Louisville (6-3) continues to play close games against lesser competition, but crucially, it mostly continues to survive and add to the win column. On Friday, it happened again in a 4-2 win against Western Michigan. Lefthander Reid Detmers gave up two runs and struck out ten in five innings of work and right fielder Levi Usher paced the offense with a 3-for-3 day. Lefthander Evan Webster was outstanding in relief, throwing three hitless innings.
— In the nightcap of the first day of the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., Indiana (5-2) upset No. 20 East Carolina (7-2), 11-5. The Hoosiers’ offense really got to lefthander Alec Burleson, scoring six runs on eight hits in his 2.2 innings. It wasn’t the prettiest start for IU righthander Gabe Bierman (4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K), but lefthander Braden Scott (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K) really helped settle things down in the middle innings to allow the Indiana offense to continue building its lead.
— No. 1 Florida (9-0) got a scare from Troy (8-2), but ultimately came away with a 3-2 win. Trojans righthander Levi Thomas was outstanding in throwing six scoreless innings, and the Troy offense staked him to a 2-0 lead through three innings, but as soon as Florida was able to see a bullpen arm, it pounced. The Gators scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, all off of righty Lance Johnson, with the deciding hit coming on a two-RBI single off the bat of third baseman Kirby McMullen.
— It was much closer than they would have liked, but No. 6 Miami (6-3) won a well-pitched game against Towson (2-5). Righthander Brian Van Belle threw seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits and one walk with 14 strikeouts.
— Coastal Carolina (5-3) put a hurting on Maryland (6-2), taking down the Terrapins 16-0. The Chanticleers did much of their damage in the third, when they scored seven runs, and in the fourth, when they scored six. Shortstop Scott McKeon and center fielder Makenzie Pate had homers for CCU and DH Fox Leum went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
— In a marathon game, Grand Canyon (6-3) defeated Stanford (1-8), 5-3, in 18 innings. The game lasted five hours, 45 minutes and the teams combined to use 45 players. The game matched the longest (by innings) in Stanford history and Cardinal DH Carson Greene tied an NCAA record with six walks in what was his first career game.