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Baseball: THEY ARE SPARTA!!!!

This weekend, Beesball and the Spartans of UNC-Greensboro go head-to-head to see who the better team is. And let's be serious, we already know who is.

GT Athletics

After a slightly disappointing first week of Beesball, the Yellow Jackets are looking to rebound this weekend against the Spartans of UNC-Greensboro. So let's not waste any more time and jump right into the preview.

Game 1 Friday, Feb. 21, 4:00 PM: LHP Jonathan King (0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Clark (0-0, 4.50 ERA)

Jonathan King had what some people would call a rough start a week ago against Old Dominion. While we still managed to win the game, it was not the best of wins. Over four innings, King allowed three runs on five hits, and also gave up a walk. On a brighter note, he was able to strike out four batters over that span which, tied with Zac Ryan, is good enough for a team lead among pitchers with a start this season.

Ryan Clark was not much better in his one appearance this season. In a 12-inning marathon against Duke this past Tuesday, Clark went two innings, giving up one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Had UNC-G's first three games against George Washington (no not the president) been cancelled, he would have started one of those games (likely the first one). It will be interesting to see how Clark will do in his first start this season. A year ago, Clark pitched solely out of the bullpen. While there, he pitched to a 5-1 record with a phenomenal 2.05 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 30.2 innings.

Game 2 Saturday, Feb. 22, 2:00 PM: RHP Cole Pitts (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. RHP Max Povse (0-0, 9.00 ERA)

In his first start, Cole Pitts was able to do slightly better than King. Over five innings, Pitts gave up only one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Had the offense given him any run support whatsoever, Pitts may have been credited with the win. Unfortunately, my small ball strategy that GT has used somewhat has not quite worked out like I wanted it to for them.

Max Povse was the starter for the aforementioned marathon with Duke. Looking at his ERA, people would think that he did not do very well at all. They would be sort of right. In two innings against the Dukies, Povse gave up two runs on three hits. He was also able to strike out three batters, only allowing one walk. Povse started 14 games a year ago. Finishing with a 4-4 record, Povse pitched to a 4.74 ERA in 77.2 innings. Add to this that he also struck out 81 batters and was the only pitcher on the entire staff to record a complete game shutout.

Game 3 Sunday, Feb. 23, 1:00 PM: RHP Josh Heddinger (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. RHP Lee Gilliam (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Against the toughest team in the Battle at Midtown, Josh Heddinger held his own pretty darn well. While he did give up four runs, only one of them was earned. All those runs were scored on four hits. Heddinger also recorded three strikeouts and two walks. Even so, the Yellow Jackets came semi-close to winning the game, but ultimately lost 5-3.

Lee Gilliam started the second game of the season for the Spartans. In this game, he pitched two innings, allowing no runs on only one hit. In addition, Gilliam also struck out three batters and walked two. A season ago, Lee Gilliam finished with a 2-4 record in 12 starts. While the W-L may not be impressive, Gilliam was still able to lead his team in ERA for pitchers that made a start. He also recorded 58 strikeouts through 68.1 innings.

Below is the line-up that the Spartans have used for their first two games.

Name Position Height/Weight B/T Class
Nick Chapman RF 6-1, 193 L/R Jr.
Hunter King 2B 5-11, 190 R/R Jr.
Julian Abreu 1B 6-1, 190 L/L RFr.
Aaron Wright DH 6-2, 210 L/R Jr.
Jake Hall C 6-1, 195 R/R So.
LJ Kalawaia CF 6-0, 175 R/R Jr.
Sean Guite 3B 6-1, 190 R/R Sr.
Zac MacAneney LF 5-9, 180 L/L RJr.
Nin Marrero SS 6-0, 190 R/R RSo.

Offensively for the Spartans, there will be three main players to keep an eye on: RSo. Benigno (Nin) Marrero, Jr. Hunter King, and RFr. Julian Abreu. Marrero has four hits in nine at-bats, while also scoring three runs. He leads the Spartans in slugging % with .556. Hunter King has excelled in the two-hole for UNC-G, getting five hits in his 12 at-bats. Out of all these guys, the one with the most untapped potential is Julian Abreu. After missing most of last year with an injury, Abreu is coming back and can play the outfield in addition to 1B. So far this year, Abreu has had four hits in 11 at-bats.

This should be an interesting series. UNC-G seems to be in a similar ship as Georgia Tech. They have lost some pretty good players in Christian Wolfe (.421 BA, 4 HR, 39 RBI) and Trevor Edwards (.287 BA, 13 HR, 49 RBI), but they definitely have some young talent in Julian Abreu and Nin Marrero. I think Georgia Tech will be just be able to win the series this weekend two games to one.

What say you Beesball fans? How do we do this weekend? Will we be able to stand up to the Spartans? What do you make of Julian Abreu?