Georgia Tech’s postseason hopes took a blow Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium with a 7-2 loss to Auburn.

The Tigers, despite a solid RPI of 49, came to town with a losing record and the worst conference mark in the SEC (4-20). But they looked more like an NCAA regional team on this night than the host Yellow Jackets, who dropped a game they desperately needed to continue to strengthen their postseason resume.

“We had a tough weekend (at Clemson),” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “That was a grind and didn’t go the way that we wanted it to and I think there was probably some carryover here tonight, but that can’t happen. We need to play well, and I just didn’t feel like we played at a high caliber tonight.”

Tech (28-18) had a 2-0 lead through three, but maybe could have had more on a play that seemed to shift momentum.

Vahn Lackey had ripped a solid single up the middle to start the bottom of the third. One out later, Lackey scooted to second on a wild pitch and then to third on yet another errant pitch. He would score on Drew Burress’ rocket single past short making it 2-0.

Cam Jones hit a single to left and John Giesler followed that by lining a single to center. But on the latter play, Auburn center fielder Chris Stanfield came up throwing and nailed Burress at home with ease.

The Jackets didn’t score again. The Tigers (23-24), meanwhile, plated one in the fourth, three in the fifth and three more, on a Cade Belyeu three-run homer to right in the top of the ninth, for the deciding margin.

“I think (Burress) just a made mistake. I think if he slides he’s safe. I think the catcher totally deked him by making him think that there was no play,” Hall said. “I just think it’s a baserunning mistake and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Hall’s club came into the game with an RPI of 46 and is widely considered a bubble team to make an NCAA regional as an at-large team. Now the Jackets have just seven regular-season games left, six of which are against two of the nation’s top teams in Duke and Florida State, before the ACC tournament begins May 21.

Tech really can’t afford too many losses from here on out if it is to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for a second year in a row.

“Just have a good practice (Wednesday) and we gotta be better, be ready to go and I’m 100% certain they’ll be ready to roll,” Hall said on his message to his team moving forward.

Burress opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first, his 21st of the season. After taking a first-pitch ball, the freshman center fielder turned on a 1-0 pitch and hit a no-doubter onto Rose Bowl Field behind the left-field wall much to the delight of a crowd of 2,010 which included Tech football coach Brent Key.

Georgia Tech pitcher Camron Hill (14) reacts after striking out a batter to end the top of the fourth inning against Auburn at Russ Chandler Stadium, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

Working with a 2-0 lead to start the fourth inning, Tech starter Cam Hill issued a leadoff walk and then was in immediate hot water after a tough throwing error on Mike Becchetti put two on with none out. Cooper McMurray’s single to right loaded the bases.

Belyeu lifted a sacrifice fly to left, getting the Tigers on the board, but Hill got a fly out to left and a strikeout to end the inning.

That momentum didn’t last long as Eric Guevara led off the fifth with a solo shot to left making it 2-2. Cooper Weiss preceded to knock Hill from the game with a moon shot off the Brock Football Facility in left, giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Michael Kovala came on in relief and promptly plunked Stanfield in the back. Kovala’s third pitch of his brief outing sailed to the backstop and Hall was quick with the hook bringing in Brett Barfield, who immediately served up a double off the wall in left.

After a groundout and an intentional walk, Barfield got a swinging strikeout and appeared out of the jam with a dribbler back to the mound – but the sophomore fumbled it, allowing a run to score and for Auburn to go up 4-2.

Hill (3-1) went four innings, gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits, walked two and struck out five on 75 pitches.

“I thought it was good until his last inning. (Hill’s) cruising, he had pitched out of trouble, but then he’s got the bottom of the order and gives up back-to-back home runs,” Hall said. “Other than the home runs I thought he pitched really, really well.”

Tech continues its five-game homestand at 6 p.m. Friday when it opens a three-game set with Duke (33-14, 14-10 ACC). It hosts Mercer on Tuesday in the home finale before heading to Florida State for a three-game series starting May 16.