ATLANTA | When the first pitch was thrown in Tuesday’s game between Georgia and Georgia Tech at Turner Field, the red jersey wasn’t the now-out-of-commission Braves’ alternate jersey.
It was a Georgia jersey.
In the 12th year of the Kauffman Tire Spring Classic benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Bulldogs (25-26-1) mirrored the Braves in more ways than one by mustering just five hits in their 2-0 loss to rival Georgia Tech (30-23).
“(Georgia Tech redshirt junior Matt Grimes) was throwing mostly fastballs and any time somebody’s doing that you want to jump on it because you kind of know what’s coming,” redshirt junior Conor Welton said. “I don’t know if it was Turner Field getting people. … We haven’t been putting up that many runs lately and guys saw that he was throwing fastballs and wanted to jump on it.”
Even with the lack of offense, Georgia had one opportunity to score in the sixth inning after a Sean McLaughlin single moved Welton from first base. However, a strong throw by Georgia Tech left fielder Matt Gonzalez beat Welton to home.
“Two outs, you’re scoring on a base hit to the outfield,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “It’s not like we were getting a bunch of base hits. We didn’t have many opportunities and that was our best opportunity to score in a 0-0 game. I’ll do that 100 times.”
The Yellow Jackets didn’t fare any better in the hit department, producing just five of their own. However, they were able to capitalize on a couple of late mistakes by Georgia relievers in the seventh and eighth innings.
After junior Heath Holder hit the first batter and walked the second in the seventh, Stricklin put redshirt junior Ross Ripple in.
A walk of the bases loaded followed by a wild pitch strike out by Ripple gave the Georgia Tech its first run, charged to Holder. In the next inning, two wild pitches, again by Ripple, scored the second and final run of the game.
“Obviously on 3-2 you don’t want to throw the ball in the dirt way over. That was not what we needed,” Ripple said. “I think at that point I kind of felt the situation and I might have tensed up a little bit. You’ve got to keep the same delivery, the same mind set regardless of the situation. … I kind of let that one get away from me.”
The loss drops the Bulldogs to 8-4 in the series at Turner Field. They will finish the season in a three-game series against Kentucky, which begins Thursday, as they work to earn their way into the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Grady Sports Bureau is part of the sports media program at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.