Returning three starters, the infield looks to be one of the strongest position groups for the Yellow Jackets this year. Returning from last year are 1B AJ Murray, 2B Thomas Smith, and SS and team captain Mott Hyde. These three players were key contributors for the Yellow Jackets a year ago.
Junior AJ Murray is coming off of a productive year at first base. He hit .271 with five home runs, 10 doubles, 35 RBI, and four stolen bases. Returning at second base, Thomas Smith is coming off a good year as well. The former walk-on hit .286 with three home runs, five doubles, 13 RBI, and three stolen bases, in his sophomore season. The leader of the infield, senior SS Mott Hyde, is coming off of a productive season, where he hit .266 with six home runs, eighteen doubles, 32 RBI, and six stolen bases. Mott Hyde was elected by his teammates to join Dusty Isaacs and Devin Stanton as team captains for this season.
Replacing Zane Evans behind the plate this year will not be an easy task. Senior, and former walk-on, Mitch Earnest will give this season his best effort in doing so. Earnest had his fair share of time a season ago, hitting .306 with three home runs, four doubles, 15 RBI, and a stolen base. Playing 3B this year will be sophomore Matt Gonzalez. Gonzalez saw considerable playing time as a freshman, hitting .291 with three home runs, nine doubles, 37 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. Gonzalez looks to join AJ Murray as a source of power in the Yellow Jackets line-up this season. He showed his powerful swing off during the 2013 College Baseball Home Run Derby. He hit 16 home runs through three rounds, losing by one home run to Rice’s Michael Aquino.
|Player||Position||Senior Stats||New Team||Rookie Stats|
|Zane Evans||C||.361 BA, 14 HR, 12 2B, 66 RBI||Kansas City Royals||.352 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI|
|Sam Dove||3B||.288 BA, 3 HR, 14 2B, 34 RBI, 7 SB||Philadelphia Phillies||.171 BA, 2 HR|
Also joining this infield are four freshmen. Arden Pabst will spell Mitch Earnest behind the plate this year. Coach Danny Hall has shown excitement about Pabst's leadership qualities from behind the plate. He was ranked as the number six catcher in California and the number 23 catcher overall. Brandon Gold, who will split time at 3B and the bullpen, was ranked as the number 31 3B in the entire US. Joining him will be two freshmen who played spectacularly during Fall Practice this year. Connor Justus, number two SS in the state of Georgia and number 46 nationally, had a productive fall for Team Isaacs (Gold team) where he hit .364 with three doubles. Elliott Barzilli, who per ESPN was the number four overall middle infielder, played for Team Hyde (White team). With them, Barzilli hit .333 with one home run and four RBI.
|Arden Pabst||C/IF||Harvard Westlake (CA)||
No. 6 C California
No. 23 C National
|Brandon Gold||3B/RHP||Johns Creek (GA)||No. 31 3B National|
|Connor Justus||IF||Cartersville (GA)||
No. 2 SS Georgia
No. 46 SS National
|Elliott Barzilli||IF||Palisades Charter (CA)||No. 4 Middle IF per ESPN|
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