ATHENS, Ga. — In the 16th annual Farmview Spring Classic, a benefit for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the 15th-ranked Georgia baseball team defeated Georgia Tech 3-1 to sweep the season series Tuesday evening in front of a crowd of 17,741 at SunTrust Park.
Georgia (34-14) extends its win streak against Tech to six games – the longest streak since the Bulldogs won six straight in the series from 1985-87. Georgia has won nine of the last 10 meetings between the two schools. In the Spring Classic, which began at Turner Field, Georgia holds the advantage at 11-5.
A 3-run fourth inning featuring an Aaron Schunk home run and a two-run double by Mason Meadows provided enough support for Georgia freshman starter C.J. Smith (1-0) to secure his first-career win. In the lefthander’s third-career start, Smith pitched five innings of one-run ball, while striking out two batters and yielding two hits. The bullpen combination of Tony Locey, Ryan Webb, and Zac Kristofak kept Smith’s win intact, tossing three scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.
Georgia Tech’s Tristin English (2-2) surrendered three runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings to endure the loss. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 27-22 on the season.
The first three innings of the game consisted of scoreless, one-hit frames from each team’s starter until the Bulldogs put across the first runs of the game in the fourth.
On the first pitch of the inning, Schunk went opposite field for a solo home run over the left-center field fence. Later in the inning, Meadows doubled in Cam Shepherd and Michael Curry who both reached on singles, giving Georgia the 3-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets answered with one run in the next inning. A one-out double by Georgia Tech’s Austin Wilhite put two runners into scoring position in the top of the fifth. Smith limited the damage by yielding one run on a groundout and then ended the threat with another groundout.
Locey replaced Smith to start the sixth and promptly gave up two singles and a sacrifice bunt, putting two Yellow Jackets into scoring position again. However, Locey got English to strike out looking, and Georgia tapped into the bullpen seeking the third out. Webb entered and walked the first batter faced, but struck out the next, ending the Georgia Tech opportunity.
In the final two innings, Kristofak struck out five of the six batters he faced, clinching the sweep with his fourth save of the season.
-Mason Meadows’ fourth-inning double extended his season-best hitting streak to nine games.
-Aaron Schunk’s fourth-inning home run extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a season-best mark he set previously this season.
-Georgia moves to 2-1 at SunTrust Park since it opened in 2017.
Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin
On the season sweep of Georgia Tech…
“It’s obviously a big rival for us and this game means everything to our players, our program, our fans; so to be able to not only win the series but sweep, it means a lot.”
On playing in a big ballpark…
“You don’t change anything. You just play baseball, only the dimensions are different, the feel is different, and seeing the ball off the bat is a little bit different. To be honest, we left a lot of runs on the board today. We didn’t play very good offensively. Luckily our pitching and our defense picked us up. That’s what good teams do, they find ways to win somehow, some way and it was the pitching and defense today.”
Freshman Pitcher #5 C.J. Smith
On the night…
“It was definitely a great experience. I enjoyed it a lot. I got to go out there and compete with the guys. I try not to think about it too much. I just go out there and throw strikes and let the defense work.”
On his consistency…
“It’s great to be consistent because I have a great defense behind me. I don’t strike out a lot of guys, I just let the defense work behind me.”
On the bullpen…
“I come out of the game, and I have confidence that we’re going to get the game over with. Coach Stricklin told me I was done, and I had faith in the next guy to clean up after us.”
Sophomore 3B #22 Aaron Schunk
On playing at SunTrust Park…
“We just try and do the same thing we’ve been doing. Coach said, if anything, make it more simple. If you get into a big park, you start thinking you have to do too much, but you really don’t. You have to take the same approach, and good things happen.”
On preparing for the Florida series this weekend…
“Every bit as we do every other game. We’ve been very focused on the first game ahead of us, whether that be today, whether that be Friday. Getting to go up against Florida is big for us because we know we can compete against them, and we’re going to give them everything we’ve got.”
The Bulldogs will pick back up on SEC play on the road in Gainesville, Florida against the top-ranked Florida Gators. First pitch of game one is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 pm.