ATLANTA, Ga. – Belmont Baseball was unable to overcome a powerful Georgia Tech offense, falling to the Yellow Jackets, 12-3, Friday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium in the first game of the weekend series.
The Bruins (4-5) scored all three of their runs in the seventh frame, taking command of a couple of bases loaded situations in hopes to cut into an early deficit. But the Yellow Jackets kept BU's bats quiet for much of the game.
Georgia Tech (8-1) proved how potent its offense can be in the opening frames, hanging up a quick six runs in the first two stanzas. The Yellow Jackets started the day plating a run in the first on a RBI sacrifice fly to left-center, before tacking on five more in the home half of the second with the help of a two-run long ball that ricocheted off the football facility in left field to give them a 6-0 advantage.
While the Ramblin' Wreck came out of the gates blazing, the Bruins struggled to find an answer at the plate. Junior infielder Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.) registered one of Belmont's three hits, and the only in the first six innings, with a base knock to right field to leadoff the second. Senior utility Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) drew a walk later in the inning, but BU couldn't capitalize with runners on base as the squad remained scoreless.
The Bruins triggered their first three up, three down inning - forcing Georgia Tech to record its first frame without a run in the third. Junior hurler Tyler Vaughn (Jonesboro, Ill.) found his stroke on the mound, inducing a couple of ground balls before tossing his second strikeout of the day.
A couple of outstanding defensive plays, both by senior outfielder Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), in the fourth attempted to keep the Georgia Tech's bats at bay. The Jackets delivered a ball to shallow right field where Washington laid out in hopes to retire the batter, but the umpire went on to say that the ball hit the ground, robbing Belmont of the out. A few plays later the Yellow Jackets once again hit one into right-centerfield where Washington scooped up the ball and showed his arm, throwing all the way to third base. Senior infielder Drake Byrd (Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) proceeded to make the diving tag and generate the final out. However, the Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the inning, taking a 9-0 lead.
After the fourth frame Belmont found a way to shutdown Georgia Tech's offense for the next couple of innings, holding them scoreless in the fifth and sixth. A single from sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) followed up by consecutive walks for senior Clay Payne (Powell, Tenn.) and Bournigal allowed the Bruins to threaten for the first time. Belmont took advantage of the opportunity as Washington continued to make big plays, this time he drilled a RBI base knock to left field all while keeping the bases loaded. Junior Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) came in to pinch hit for the Bruins and drove in two more runs to bring the Bruins within six, 9-3.
Georgia Tech once again separated themselves, adding a pair of runs on a two RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh to bring its lead to, 11-3. The squad tallied one more in their final appearance at the plate to seal a 12-3 victory over Belmont.
Head coach Dave Jarvis called on multiple freshman throughout the closing frames, including rookie hurler Tyler Alderfer (Perkasie, Pa.), infielder Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) and infielder Jackson Curb (Franklin, Tenn.). Alderfer tossed an inning against the Yellow Jackets, while Jarvis got his first fielding action at first and Curb took second.
Vaughn (0-2) collected the loss, giving up nine runs in 6.0 innings of work. Georgia Tech hurler Xzavion Curry (3-0) earned the win.
The Bruins return to Russ Chandler Stadium tomorrow, March 4, to take on the Yellow Jackets for game two of the weekend series. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. central time.