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Baseball: Yellow Jackets Begin ACC Play Against Demon Deacons

Beesball is set to start a three game series at home against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest to open ACC play.

Danny Karnick/Georgia Tech Athletics

Coming off of a very disappointing, and controversial, loss to the puppy dogs over in the cesspool, Georgia Tech is looking to rebound in their first series against an ACC opponent this season. Georgia Tech is also looking to extend a two-series sweep over the last two weekends.

This weekend's series will be the first time since 2011 that Georgia Tech has opened ACC play at home. Under Danny Hall, Georgia Tech has won 14 of 20 ACC-opening series and has won seven of their last nine.

Leading the Yellow Jackets offensively is Thomas Smith. Coming into the series, Smith is hoping to extend an eight-game hitting streak. His hitting streak has pushed his batting average to .310. He also leads the Yellow Jackets in homeruns and RBI with two and nine, respectively. Also contributing for Georgia Tech have been Matt Gonzalez and Ryan Peurifoy. This season, Gonzalez, a sophomore, is leading the entire team in batting average with a .356 average. He has also added seven RBI and three stolen bases. In addition to making some pretty amazing plays in the outfield, Peurifoy, a freshman, has held his own at the plate. He is second on the team with a .313 batting average with a triple, six RBI and two stolen bases.

Of players who have started more than 10 games for the Demon Deacons, three players have a batting average higher than .340. Senior Matt Conway is leading the way with a .378 batting average. Conway also leads the Demon Deacons in homeruns and RBI with two and nine, respectively. Second on the team in batting average is another senior, Evan Stephens. Stephens has accumulated a .367 batting average. He has also added one homerun, six RBI and five stolen bases (which leads the team). The final player with a batting average greater than .340 is another senior, Conor Keniry. Keniry has a .341 batting average. He has also added four RBI and two stolen bases.

Game 1 Friday, March 7, 2014 4 PM: LHP Jonathan King (2-0, 2.20 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Fischer (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

Last weekend against Bowling Green, Jonathan King pitched 7.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits and striking out four batters while walking two. Over the whole season, King has pitched a total of 16.1 innings in three starts. He has allowed five runs (four earned) on 13 hits, while striking out 10 batters and walking four.

Getting the start for the Demon Deacons on Friday is senior RHP Jack Fischer. Through three starts, Fischer has pitched 18.0 innings, allowing nine runs on 25 hits. Fischer has also struck out 12 batters and walked four. He has yet to allow a homerun this season, but has an opponent's batting average of .325, which leads pitchers who have made a start for Wake Forest.

Game 2 Saturday March 8, 2014 4 PM: RHP Cole Pitts (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. LHP John McLeod (2-0, 0.46 ERA)

A weekend ago against the Falcons, Cole Pitts pitched 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out four and walking three. Over the whole season, Pitts has pitched 15.0 innings in three starts. In his three starts, Pitts has allowed three runs on 14 hits, striking out 13 batters and walking four.3

Getting the start Saturday will be junior John McLeod. McLeod has been phenomenal for the Demon Deacons so far this year. In his three starts, McLeod has pitched 19.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out 20 batters while walking eight. He, like Fischer, has yet to allow a homerun this season, but his opponent's batting average of .174 completely blows Fischer's out of the water.

Game 3 Sunday March 9, 2014 1 PM: RHP Matt Grimes (1-0, 1.17 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Kaden (1-0, 2.87 ERA)

Junior RHP Matt Grimes is making his first ACC start for the Yellow Jackets since March 2012. Since coming off of Tommy John Surgery, Grimes has been limited to the bullpen. Last weekend against Bowling Green, Matt Grimes came in relief of the pitcher whose spot in the rotation he is taking: Josh Heddinger. In Grimes' 4.2 innings of work, he gave up zero runs on one hit and struck out three batters and walked one. This season in the bullpen, Grimes has pitched 7.2 innings. In that time, Grimes has allowed one run on four hits and struck out four batters and walked two.

Closing out the series for the Demon Deacons will be junior Connor Kaden. In his four appearances (two starts), Kaden has pitched 15.2 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits. He has also struck out 20 batters and walked six. Of all the starters for Wake Forest this weekend, Kaden is the only one to allow a homerun. His opponent's batting average is right up there with McLeod's, however, with .190

How do we do in this series? Excited to see Matt Grimes in the rotation? Will Thomas Smith continue his eight-game hitting streak?