The BYU baseball team fell No. 21 Georgia Tech 5-3 in the season opener Friday afternoon.
The game was the first of three that the Cougars will play as part of the Atlanta Challenge in Atlanta, Georgia.
This was the first time the two teams have ever played and it was BYU’s first game against a Top 25 opponent since April 23, 2016.
Starting pitcher Maverik Buffo struggled in the first five innings, giving up six hits and five runs while the Cougars failed to score.
“There’s a reason Georgia Tech is ranked No. 21 in the country,” BYU headcoach Mike Littlewood said. “They are big, athletic, physical guys and they have a lot of confidence on their home field. The difference in this game was our inability to get a big hit with runners in scoring position. We continually put the pressure on them, but their pitchers made pitches when needed.”
While the offense struggled to get going early, the top of the sixth inning brought some life to the team.
Tanner Chauncey popped out, but then Keaton Kringlen singled and was driven in by a Colton Shaver home-run which cut the lead to three.
Kringlen went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak from last season to 12-straight games.
After good defense prevented the Yellow Jackets from scoring in the sixth and seventh innings, Chauncey scored a run in the eighth inning off a Kyle Dean single to cut the lead to two runs.
After Nate Favero struck out in the top of the ninth, then Daniel Schneemann singled, but the rally fell short after two ground outs.
Schneemann went 3-for-5 on the day.
“We kicked the ball around a little bit, which is unlike us, but overall I was proud of the effort in a tough ACC environment,” Littlewood said. “I told the guys if we play like this every game we are going to win a lot this year. We need a better outing from Maverik, but he knows that and he’ll put the work in to make the necessary adjustments.”
The Cougars (0-1) continue play in the Atlanta Challenge on Saturday at 4 p.m. EST at nearby Kennesaw State (1-0).