Wilhite, Serratos sting Highlanders in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win
Coming off their loss against Wake Forest on April 28, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets managed to recuperate in what was an exhilarating 6-5 win over Radford. Austin Wilhite put on his cape and transfigured into hero mode when he hit a ground rule double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning that allowed Oscar Serratos to cross home plate for the much-needed victory.
While Tech miraculously found a way to outlast the Highlanders, head coach Danny Hall was not thrilled with how his team performed tonight. He mentioned that his club must remain focused throughout the ball game and take advantage their opportunities.
“We got to have a much more kind of urgency and mindset from the first pitch of the game to the ninth inning to just kind of grind on people,” Hall said. “We can’t wait until we get behind then all of a sudden we’re going to play.”
Hall has a point, although the Yellow Jackets found themselves trailing early in the first inning when starting pitcher Xzavion Curry gave up a home run to Luke Wise on just the third pitch of the game. Curry pitched seven innings allowing four hits, three runs and eight strikeouts. When asked about Curry’s performance on the mound, well, it’s safe to say Hall has seen better days from the sophomore pitcher.
“Kind of average for me, you know,” Hall said. I don’t know how many he ended up striking out, he didn’t walk anybody, but it didn’t seem like he had that killer instinct that he usually has, that being said, we should have been able to win him a ball game.”
Curry undoubtedly should have received a win for his performance. However, the Yellow Jackets finished the game with 16 hits and only six runs, which means Curry was continuously pressured to prevent the Highlanders from generating runs. The result ended with Andy Archer finishing the game on the mound for the Yellow Jackets and receiving his fourth win of the year.
Prior to Wilhite’s heroic moment, Serratos played an integral part in the team’s victory. He had struggled all evening going 0-4 before notching his first hit of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning that drove in the tying run. It was a fastball that Serrato said he was anticipating. He was patient, and it paid dividends for his team.
“I was struggling throughout the whole game, I was just frustrated throughout the whole game,” Serrato said. “But I told myself going into the last inning that I was going to get a chance to win the ball game. I didn’t actually win the ball game, but I gave a chance to somebody else.”
As exciting of a game, and moment for Wilhite, he admitted that he was focused on staying poised during his last at-bat. In fact, Wilhite was under much pressure being that his teammate put him in prime position to win the game. Not to mention, he was down two strikes with two outs.
“Most of all, just staying relaxed,” Wilhite said. “I’ve been in that situation multiple times last year and this year.”
With the win, the Yellow Jackets take a 1-0 weekend-series lead and will face the Highlanders at Russ Chandler Stadium on Saturday.
By D’Mitri Chin