THE FLATS -- Senior Buck Farmer struck out a career-high 14 in eight innings, setting the table for No. 21 Georgia Tech's 3-0 season-opening victory over Akron in front of 2,314 at Russ Chandler Stadium on Friday. Senior Sam Dove drove in a pair for the Jackets, who won on Opening Day for 15th time in the last 20 years.
Yellow Jacket Hall of Famer Mark Teixeira threw a strike with a ceremonial first pitch to open the 116th season of Tech Baseball, and Farmer took it from there. The senior righty fanned the side looking in in the top of the first, and scattered four singles over eight dominant innings.
"I wish we had swung the bat at little better, but Buck was on top of his game and threw the ball extremely well," said head coach Danny Hall. "We needed him to be big, and he was."
Behind Farmer, Tech won on Opening Day for the 15th time under Hall and recorded its fourth season-opening shutout win in the last six years. Every Akron player struck out at least once, as Farmer surpassed his previous career high of 13 punch outs set last season versus Ohio State.
"I didn't really have good command of my fastball early, but I had good command over my off-speed stuff and that helped a lot early," said Farmer, who upped his career record to 25-8 with his fourth combined shutout. "Our defense made a couple nice plays behind me, especially early, and that was big."
Junior Kyle Wren was on base twice, and scored twice thanks to a pair of RBIs from Dove, who finished 2-for-4. Wren opened the game by reaching second on a lead-off error after the center fielder misplayed a ball in the sun. Dove promptly drove him in with single for a 1-0 Tech lead.
That score held until the fifth when Dove's RBI double gave the Jackets a cushion at 2-0. Wren reached on a one-out single, then swiped second and third and trotted home on Dove's 23rd career two-bagger.
Tech's underclassman got in the mix in the sixth when sophomore A.J. Murray ripped a leadoff single into left, and freshman Matt Gonzalez followed a batter later when he smoked an RBI double into the left-field gap to cap the scoring.
Akron starter Jon Pusateri settled in after a rocky first, limiting Tech to just five hits and two runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings, but absorbed the loss.
Freshman lefty Jonathan King couldn't have asked for a better debut for Tech, retiring the side in order in the ninth, with two strikeouts, to nail down his first college save.
The series resumes Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium at 2 p.m.