ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets got the 2013 baseball season started right on Friday with a 3-0 win over the Akron Zips at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Yellow Jacket Hall of Famer Mark Teixeira threw out the ceremonial first pitch to begin Tech’s 116th baseball season and then senior Buck Farmer took control of the mound for eight strong innings.
Farmer struck out a career-high 14 batters in eight innings and didn’t walk anyone. He threw 97 pitches—77 for strikes—and gave up just four hits.
“I think my off-speed [pitch] really helped me today,” said Farmer who didn’t feel dialed in until the fourth inning. “I had good command over it and gained command over my fastball in the later innings.”
Senior third baseman Sam Dove went 2-for-4 and drove in Tech’s first two runs of the game, one in the first inning and the next in the fifth. The Yellow Jackets sprinkled seven hits over the game with freshman designated hitter Matt Gonzalez’ single in the sixth inning driving in Georgia Tech’s third run.
Freshman reliever Jonathan King entered the game in the ninth and put down the Zips in order, striking out two batters to earn his first collegiate save.
The Jackets are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. ET at Russ Chandler Stadium for Game 2 of the series.
Hall in Openers
Coach Hall moved to 15-5 over his career in season openers on Friday with Georgia Tech’s 3-0 win over Akron. The Yellow Jackets have won five of their last six season-opening games; the loss came last year against Kent State.
Four of Hall’s five losses on opening night have come on the road or at neutral sites. Tech has lost just once on opening night at home under Hall, a 5-2 loss to Georgia State on Feb. 11, 2005.
Nervous, but it Didn’t Show
Left-handed freshman Jonathan King may have been a long way from his home town of Murfreesboro, Tenn. but he showed all the skills on the mound at Russ Chandler Stadium Friday that he did from the comfort of his mound at Riverdale High School, even if he wasn’t all that comfortable at first.
Catcher Zane Evans told Hall after the game that he went out to talk the freshman, who was making his first college appearance.
“Zane said he went out to talk to him and he couldn’t even talk,” said Hall. “He was so nervous, but he didn’t act like he was nervous when he pitched.”
King faced three batters and threw 15 pitches, and struck out two.
Setting the Table
The Yellow Jackets didn’t hit exceptionally well on Friday, but the Kyle Wren-Sam Dove 1-2 combination at the top of the order created all the offense the team needed.
Wren got on base in the first after Akron center fielder Devan Ahart lost Wren’s liner in the sun. Wren also singled in the fifth inning and stole two bases. Dove knocked Wren in to score in both innings.
“That’s a key for us,’ said Hall. “When Kyle Wren gets on base we usually score runs and we usually win. Sam [Dove] had two big hits.”
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