Baseball: Ga. Tech, Wake split twinbill

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech’s play during a home doubleheader against Wake Forest eerily mirrored the various weather patterns that hovered over Russ Chandler Stadium on Saturday.

Playing under blue skies during the opener, the Yellow Jackets were sharp and sometimes brilliant in their 8-1 victory. But in the nightcap, as the dark clouds formed and a steady rain fell, Georgia Tech was out of sync and, at times, downright ugly in its 8-6 defeat.

“We kind of stunk the joint up, to be honest,” said Jackets coach Danny Hall after the twinbill split. “We were sloppy all over.”

The sting of the nightcap loss and Cole Pitts’ rough outing (three runs allowed in 2.1 innings) were momentary downers for Hall; but all in all, he was pleased with the Jackets’ series victory over Wake.

Plus, he could derive some pleasure that Georgia Tech — for all its foibles in the second game (season-high three errors) — had the potential game-winning run at the plate (pinch-hitter Daniel Spingola, who struck out with two runners on) in the 9th.

The Yellow Jackets’ six runs in Game 2 were the result of three-run homers from Daniel Palka (7th inning) and A.J. Murray (9th). Other than that, they had trouble cracking the code of Demon Deacons pitcher Austin Stadler, who fanned 11 and allowed just one run in six solid innings.

As for the homers … Earl Weaver, the late, great baseball manager would have loved seeing Tech belt a pair of three-run dingers — with the opportunity for a third before the final out.

“I don’t think we need to rely on that, but it’s certainly nice to have (that power potential),” said Hall. In a way, “we’re never really out of a game because we can get guys on, and someone’s capable of (going deep).”

In the opener, Georgia Tech outfielder Kyle Wren notched three steals, four hits, four runs, one RBI and his second homer of the season. But the signature performance might have come from starting pitcher Dustin Isaacs, who tallied eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings, surrendering just one hit.

Without much deliberation, Hall labeled Isaacs’ outing as perhaps “the best performance” of his career. “He had a great breaking ball, kept (the Wake hitters) off balance, and overall did a tremendous job.”

After the good news/bad news afternoon, Georgia Tech (21-6 overall) has an 8-4 record in ACC play, good for third place in the Coastal Division. If the season ended today … the Yellow Jackets would qualify for the eight-team conference tournament in May.

In the meantime, Tech has plenty of time to catch Virginia (April 12-14) and North Carolina (May 10-12) in the divisional standings.