Ed. Note: I had an entire preview written up before our SBNation's esteemed Chorus editor decided to delete it all for no reason, so all y'all get is the Q&A because I'm, ya know, at work. Sorry.
Georgia Tech heads up to College Park this weekend for a three game series with the Maryland Terrapins; critical to both the ACC standings and showing those jokers what-for before they ride out of the ACC into the sunset, flipping us off all the way. I sat down with Andrew Kramer of TestudoTimes for a little Q&A. My answers to his questions can be found here.
1.) Who's the biggest pitching threat Tech fans need to watch out for?
Jake Stinnett (don't let the 3 -5 record fool you) has gone from being a 5th-10th MLB draft pick possibility to now going somewhere within the first two rounds. He has a fastball in the mid 90's, slider, and change. He's been the unfortunate recipient of weak run support. But he leads the ACC in K's and has the kind of stuff that could completely shut down an opponent on any given start.
2.) The Terps seem to be successfully small-balling it through the season; sporting a record similar to Tech's .632 mark despite scoring a full almost a full run less per game. They also lead the conference in stolen bases. What causes them to have to resort to such run-weak tactics?
Two reasons. They are a team that Coach Szefc (pronounced "Chef") has built for small ball. When the team is hitting the Terps can manufacture a lot of runs. When they're not, well that brings me to reason #2: they don't have long ball power. Last year they hit 13 HRs and they're on a similar trajectory this season. Maryland's fate hinges on whether they can string together a number of hits If so, the Terps combination of pitching, running, and especially fielding make them a solid team. But if the bats aren't turned on then they can lose to Virginia Tech and mid-200's RPI St. Mary's.
3.) This appears to be a matchup of two extremely similar teams on all fronts. What challenges do you think that will present for the Terps?
In terms of our pitchers, it's actually an advantage. One problem that has plagued our weekend starters is throwing the gopher ball. Overall, the similarity in styles means that the games will probably be close and well played. Maryland's challenge has been themselves: they can go cold against even mediocre pitching. If a few players mired in slumps can break out this weekend then the Terps will be a tough team to beat. Plus, the games are at our place.
I have Tech winning this series in three very close games. I know the Jackets are on a hot streak lately, but all things hot eventually cool (even the universe) and UMD's pitchers are as good or better than FSU's. They are also very speedy on the bases, which is something we've had a lot of trouble defending this season (though Arden Pabst seems to be getting the hang of it). Still, I think Tech's stout defense and a few well-placed shots to the outfield corners by Spingola and Smith get us two wins.
The games three games are scheduled for 6:30 P.M., 2 P.M. and 1 P.M and can be heard on WREK only.
What do you think, Jackets? You think the Derp's pitching and speed on the basepaths can take us down?