Georgia Tech series loss to Wake Forest includes 27-7 defeat

Georgia Tech first baseman Andrew Jenkins in action against Wright State in the Yellow Jackets' 9-8 walk-off win in the season opener Feb. 18, 2022 at Russ Chandler Stadium. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech first baseman Andrew Jenkins in action against Wright State in the Yellow Jackets' 9-8 walk-off win in the season opener Feb. 18, 2022 at Russ Chandler Stadium. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

A historic blowout loss was followed by an authoritative win as Georgia Tech, ranked as high as sixth nationally, suffered its first series loss of the season, at home to Wake Forest this past weekend.

After a 5-3 loss on Friday in the series opener at Russ Chandler Stadium, the Yellow Jackets were obliterated 27-7 on Saturday, giving up 28 hits and allowing runs in the final eight innings. Tech answered back Sunday with a 14-5 win to take one game from the series, improving its record to 15-5 overall and 4-2 in the ACC.

“Just proud of the way we responded,” coach Danny Hall said Sunday. “That’s what we asked them to do, and I think they responded in the right way (Sunday).”

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In the series finale, pitcher Marquis Grissom started the game with three shutout innings and Tech scored six runs in the bottom half of the first inning to take command of the game.

Sunday’s series finale followed the mammoth defeat to the Demon Deacons on Saturday.

It was the most runs that Tech had given up in a game since losing 29-13 to LSU in the 1996 NCAA Tournament during college baseball’s Gorilla Ball era. It was the most runs given up at home since the Jackets lost 27-5 to Michigan in 1995, a game that remained Tech’s worst home loss by margin of defeat. Saturday’s loss also set a team record for most runs allowed in an ACC game.

“Just proud of the way we responded. That's what we asked them to do, and I think they responded in the right way (Sunday)."

- Tech coach Danny Hall

Beyond the 28 hits allowed, Tech handed out nine walks as Hall went through eight pitchers. Trailing 6-5 going into the top of the fifth, the Jackets gave up 12 runs in the inning. Wake scored 10 runs before the first out was recorded, and third baseman Brock Wilken hit two home runs in the inning.

“We couldn’t get them out, they scored in every inning but the first inning, and they just hit everybody,” Hall said after the game. “Everyone we put in the game, they hit, and you tip your cap to them. I haven’t seen anything like this in a long time where it just didn’t matter who we put in the game, they just rocked ‘em.”

Wake Forest (16-4, 3-3) ranks among the top hitting teams in the country. Even before the series, the Demon Deacons were in the top 15 nationally in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home runs per game and runs per game, although the numbers were largely compiled against mid-major competition.

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Tech largely performed well at the plate, hitting .302 (season average before the weekend was .326, 10th in Division I) for the weekend with an on-base percentage of .393 (.436, ninth in Division I). Third baseman Andrew Jenkins was 6-for-12 in the three games with five runs, five RBIs and two home runs. He is tied for second in the ACC in runs scored with 28.

But weekend starters Chance Huff and Zach Maxwell have not fared well in their past two starts (the first against ACC competition), and even tossing out the Saturday debacle, the staff ERA would be 4.83, which would be 10th in the ACC. (It’s actually 5.68, which is 12th.) The Jackets are also 13th in walks allowed per game at 5.03, which has been counted on to be an area of improvement this season but is only slight progress on last year’s rate (5.18).

The Jackets play a midweek home-and-home this week with Kennesaw State (in Kennesaw on Tuesday and at home Wednesday) before a road weekend series at N.C. State.

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