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Georgia Rallies Past Tech To Clinch Series

Christopher Lakos

Georgia Sports Communications

Georgia erased a 9-3 deficit to rally past Georgia Tech 11-9 Sunday in the 21st annual Spring Baseball Classic at Coolray Field in front of a crowd of 8,163.


The Bulldogs (10-1) clinched the series after winning 3-1 in Athens on Saturday. Friday’s game in Atlanta was suspended due to rain going to the bottom of the fifth with the Bulldogs leading 9-3. A date to finish that game has not been determined by Tech.


On Sunday, Tech (7-3) jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in the third, taking advantage of a one-out error, a wild pitch plus a pair of hits including a two-run home run by Matthew Ellis. In the fourth, a two-out, run-scoring single by Mike Becchetti made it 5-0.


Georgia cut it to 5-2 in the fifth thanks to a two-run home run by sophomore Kolby Branch. It was his third of the year and came with Fernando Gonzalez on after getting hit by a pitch. Earlier in the contest. Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a career-best eight games with a base hit. Sophomore Charlie Condon blasted his team-leading eighth home run to start the sixth to close the deficit to 6-3. However, Tech sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the frame, scoring three runs on two hits, three walks, an error and a wild pitch to push the lead out to 9-3.


The Bulldogs made it a one-run contest in the seventh, scoring five runs on four hits to make it 9-8. Condon and Sebastian Murillo notched run-scoring singles while Clayton Chadwick cleared the bases with a three-run double to highlight the outburst.


Trailing 9-8 in the ninth, the Bulldogs responded with a three-run rally to surge ahead 11-9. Corey Collins led off with a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count. Chadwick did the same. Graduate Josh Stinson reached on a fielder’s choice as Tech retired Chadwick at second as pinch-runner Trey King advanced to third. Murillo tied the game with a sacrifice fly on an 0-2 count. Gonzalez put the Bulldogs in front with a run-scoring double, scoring Stinson. On Saturday, he smashed a solo home run to give the Bulldogs the go-ahead run. Then to cap Sunday’s rally, Branch lined a ball off reliever Mason Patel for an RBI-single, bringing pinch-runner Henry Hunter home.


In the bottom of the ninth, graduate Brian Zeldin collected his second save in the series with a pair of strikeouts


“Early in the game we weren’t playing well, and I called everybody up and said we need to start competing better,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Wes Johnson. “We have to believe in ourselves. We have to start throwing strikes, We have to have better at bats, and that that’s what we did. “In the ninth, we were going to stay aggressive. We worked hard in the fall and preseason, and I believed in Josh (Stinson) to move the runners without bunting. I believed in Sebastian to get the run in, and they delivered. Then, Kolby (Branch) hits a rocket off the pitcher for the final run. Luke Wiltrakis came in and threw strikes. Josh Roberge did the same and Brian Zeldin finished it for us again. I’m proud of all the guys. This game is hard, and you have to play for all 27 outs.”


Roberge moved to 2-0 while Zeldin picked up his third save of the season. Camron Jones fell to 1-1.


Up next, the Bulldogs face Georgia Southern Tuesday at SRP Park in North Augusta, S.C. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. and be available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network.

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