As it normally does, Georgia Tech got its hits Tuesday night. As they normally don’t, the Yellow Jackets also fielded the ball cleanly.
The sum of their efforts was a 7-3 win over Kennesaw State at the Owls’ Stillwell Stadium. In front of a record attendance of 1,314, Tech’s win completed a two-game season sweep of the Owls and ended KSU’s two-game winning streak over the Jackets at its home field.
“I think we’re playing better,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “We’re still probably not where we need to be, but we’re definitely playing better defense.”
Tech mashed 13 hits, including six hits by its 1-3 hitters, Kyle Wren, Brandon Thomas and Sam Dove. The Jackets, who through last weekend ranked last in the ACC in fielding percentage, played their first error-free game in the past six games.
The loss cooled a hot streak for the Owls (18-12), who had won 13 of the past 17 to earn a share of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference. This is the latest point in the season in school history that KSU has been in first in the Atlantic Sun.
KSU managed seven hits against five pitchers. Tech (19-11), trying to recover from a poor start triggered by injuries, received a second consecutive strong start from freshman Cole Pitts. He threw four scoreless innings in his fourth start of the season, striking out five, walking none and giving up two hits. Pitts (4-1) retired nine in a row at one point.
“Pitts threw the ball great,” Hall said.
Pitts will start Sunday for the Jackets in their crucial home ACC series against Florida State. He’ll go in place of Luke Bard, whose status is uncertain after experiencing tightness in the back of his arm in a start against Duke on Sunday.
Making his first Division I start, Kennesaw State pitcher Kevin McCoy put five runners on base through the first three innings but escaped unscathed. In the fourth, McCoy (0-1) put two more runners on base and then gave up a two-out opposite-field single to Wren. The hit scored Connor Lynch, followed by Mott Hyde when the ball got past left fielder Jacob Bruce. Wren himself scored from third on a wild pitch, giving Tech a 3-0 lead.
The Jackets scored three more in the top of the sixth to extend their lead to 7-0. Brandon Thomas’ double down the third-base line brought in Hyde and Wren.
“You don’t want to lose a midweek game to an in-state opponent going into a tough weekend like Florida State,” Thomas said.
KSU had opportunities, hitting several balls sharply. Down 7-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Owls put runners on second and third with two out, but first baseman Jake Davies ended the threat by diving across his body to catch Chris McGowan’s line drive.
“[If] that ball gets in, we score two there and at least get it close,” KSU coach Mike Sansing said. “He made a great play on it.”