In the 13th annual Kauffman Tire Spring Baseball Classic, Georgia combined on a one-hit shutout of Georgia Tech Tuesday night in front of a crowd of 18,792.
The attendance marked the largest crowd for an NCAA baseball game during the 2015 season as the Bulldogs improved to 24-26 while Tech dropped to 32-19.
“It’s always huge,” Georgia senior starting pitcher Jared Walsh said of the victory. “A lot of us were recruited by [Tech] and a lot of them were recruited by Georgia so we’re good friends with a lot of guys. Obviously there’s a huge rivalry there so anytime we can beat Georgia Tech it’s huge within the state for bragging rights.”
Walsh (5-2) made his eighth start on the mound and served as the designated hitter too. The senior yielded just one hit and one walk, striking out six over five innings while going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Georgia got a career-night from junior first baseman Daniel Nichols who went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and five RBI.
Cole Pitts (0-6) took the loss for Georgia Tech, going six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.
In relief for the Bulldogs, Mike Mancuso, Bo Tucker, Taylor Hicks and Jared Cheek combined for four hitless innings.
“Jared Walsh set the tone,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “He started off slow, walks the leadoff guy and then after that he was downright nasty. He was really, really good. I think that’s the best he’s been. He could have gone a little bit longer, but we wanted to use some guys out of the bullpen.”
The combined one-hitter is the fewest number of hits the Georgia pitching staff has allowed to an opponent this season and third fewest they’ve allowed all-time against Tech. Tuesday’s effort against the rival Jackets ranked third best in the series history behind the perfect game by Don Woeltjen in 1963 in Atlanta and Tom Philpot’s no-hitter in 1919 .
Keegan McGovern scored the game’s first run after coming from third on a Nichols sacrifice fly in the top of the first. McGovern was at third after Walsh followed his one out single with his 13th double of the season. In the sixth inning, Nichols increased the Georgia lead to 4-0 with a three-run blast to the right centerfield bleachers scoring Walsh and Stephen Wrenn. Three innings later, Nichols would drive in Georgia’s final run, giving him a career high five-RBI night.
“That was a bomb, a 3-1 changeup that got left up in the zone,” Stricklin said of Nichols’ home run. “Daniel’s been on fire. Three for four and got the big hit on Sunday so he’s riding high right now and we need him to keep on rolling.”
Georgia tacked on its final two runs in the seventh and ninth innings, scoring a run in each inning.
The Bulldogs return to action Thursday night at Foley Field for the first of three games No. 20 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the final regular season home series of 2015.
Thursday is also Alex Wood bobblehead night. The first 1,000 fans to enter Foley Field will receive the miniature look-a-like of the former Bulldog ace and current Atlanta Braves starter.