ATHENS Ga. -- The story lines were easy to pick out prior to Tuesday's baseball game in Athens.
The No. 14 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the No. 17 Georgia Bulldogs were about to square off in a rivalry game that's been called "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate". Both teams were ranked in the Top 25 and neither likes to lose to the other.
The secondary story line revolved around Georgia Tech's best hitter, Zane Evans, who just happened to be on the mound Tuesday night.
The sophomore catcher was hitting .351 prior to Tuesday's game with a home run and 23 runs batted in, the most of any hitter on the team. But Evans is also a good pitcher. With six relief appearances already, coach Danny Hall picked Tuesday as the day Evans would get his first career start.
Evans threw four innings and allowed six hits and four runs, two of them earned. He took the loss, but Hall praised the young hurler after the game.
"I thought he did fine," said Hall. "Four innings was about what we were hoping to get out of him. He got some breaking balls up, UGA DH Brett DeLoach hit a fast ball and pounded it, you got to tip your cap to him. All told, Zane should have only given up one run if we would have just played defense."
And while the pregame story lines were easy to figure, what Georgia Tech didn't want to happen was that poor defense would take over as the main story in its 7-1 loss to Georgia.
Hall eluded to the defense that hurt the Yellow Jackets with two errors, but also allowed runs to cross the plate because of misjudged balls in the outfield that weren't counted as errors.
"We struck out too much and we had a hard time putting the ball in play," said Hall. "But over and above the bats, we had some miscues on defense. They had two big innings, and in both those big innings we messed it up."
Georgia scored four runs in the second inning and three more in the sixth. Each time the pitcher of record should have been out of the inning much sooner.
"We gave them two big innings," said Hall. "As bad as we were on offense, defense is really what did us in."
As far as Evans on the mound goes, Hall said that the sophomore will continue to head back out to pitch during mid-week games moving forward.
"I think he's a good pitcher and we have to use him," said Hall. "We're kind of nicked up and we're down two or three guys on our pitching staff. It's as much out of necessity as it is I think he's a good pitcher.
"We need every arm we can run out there."