After coming off of a strong start to the season, thanks in large part to ACC Player of the Week Kel Johnson, the Yellow Jackets return to action Saturday morning down in Florida to take part in Caravelle Resort's Baseball at the Beach.
Game 1: Saturday, Feb. 21, 10 a.m. vs. Florida International
Going to the mound for the Jackets will be junior southpaw Jonathan King. In his first start, King went 5.0 innings against St. John's. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits, while also striking out three batters and walking one. He gave up a home run, but held St. John's hitters to a measly batting average of .158.
Likely going to the mound for the Panthers will be sophomore righty Cody Crouse or sophomore righty Chris Mourelle. Crouse started the season opener and pitched 5.0 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits, while also striking out six batters and walking one.
Mourelle pitched the third game of the season for the Panthers and went 5.0 innings of shutout, one-hit baseball. He also struck out three batters and walked two.
Offensively for the Panthers, the key player for which to watch will be senior third baseman Josh Anderson. Last season, Anderson, hit an even .300 while also hitting five home runs and 43 RBI. So far this season, he has hit .267 with a home run and three RBI while also slugging .600.
Game 2: Saturday, Feb. 21, 2 p.m. vs. Coastal Carolina
Going to the mound in the second game will be sophomore southpaw Ben Parr. Earning the win in his first start of the season, Parr went 5.0 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits, while also striking out two batters and walking none. Parr's biggest area of improvement will need to be hits allowed. Those eight hits gave him an opponent's batting average of .421.
Parr's opponent will likely be redshirt sophomore righty Alex Cunningham. In his first start, Cunningham pitched 5.2 innings of shutout ball, while giving up two hits. He also struck out four batters while walking three en route to his first victory of the season.
Offensively for the Chanticleers (yes, that is actually their nickname), the player for which to watch will be junior second baseman Connor Owings. Last season, he led the Chanticleers with a .326 batting average, four home runs, 34 RBI and a .446 slugging percentage.
Owings has gotten off to a fast start this season too. In his four games, Owings has hit 5-for-15 with two home runs and six RBI.
Game 3: Sunday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. vs. Albany
Going to the mound for the series finale will be senior captain and southpaw Devin Stanton. In his first start, Stanton dominated up until the moment right before he was pulled when everything fell apart for him. He had pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball before giving up three runs on four hits. He finished the game with six strikeouts and four walks.
This will be just the third game of the season for the Great Danes of Albany. Albany has not yet announced their starters for the weekend and I don't have anything to base my prediction off of, so I think it could be a couple of options. Junior southpaw Brendan Ryan is likely to get the first game after a successful stint last season. That really leaves three guys: junior righty Ryan Stinar, senior righty Matt Gallup and sophomore righty Stephen Woods.
Stinar had a solid season last year going 1-3 with a 5.97 ERA in his 13 appearances (five starts). The other two didn't perform quite as well. Gallup went 1-4 with a 7.75 ERA and Woods went 1-5 with a 10.98 ERA.
Junior catcher Evan Harasta will be the player for which to watch offensively for Albany. A season ago, Harasta hit .314 with two home runs and 28 RBI. He also led the team with a .484 on-base percentage.
How does Tech come out this weekend? Will Kel Johnson continue his hot start?