Georgia Tech baseball went 1-2 over the team's three-game weekend series with Virginia, marking a second consecutive ACC series loss at the hands of a highly-regarded conference foe. Tech's offense, one which produced 21 runs in the landslide victory over Savannah State just days earlier, could do no right against Wahoo ace Connor Jones, falling by a final score of 6-3 in game one. Brandon Gold was solid yet again, but the team's inability to get everything moving at once was too much to overcome for the Tech's Friday starter. Saturday, however, was much less kind to the Jackets and starting pitcher Ben Parr, Tech's win "vulture" who was previously 7-0. A five-run first frame was all it took to cement the win for UVA; the Jackets would never match the total.
Game three, however, was the weekend's silver lining for Tech -- the Jackets took the final game by a score of 5-4. Though freshman Jake Lee got the start for Tech, the man who went the distance was closer Matthew Gorst. He was absolutely stunning from start to finish, taking over for Lee in the third inning and propelling his team the rest of the way with a career-best 6.1 shutout innings to qualify for the win. Getting that from any pitcher at the college level is very impressive, but your closer coming in with no warning and being able to go nearly 7 innings without allowing a single run is nothing short of unfair for the opposing team. We are almost through an entire season, and Gorst boasts a cumulative ERA of just 0.46 over 23 relief appearances. That is almost unheard of in ACC play.
Lost somewhere in the pain of the 2015 football season is the fact that the 2016 Jackets will open up the upcoming season in Ireland versus Boston College, a game where Tech is an early favorite in Vegas. The game will count as a home game for Boston College, but I have no idea what the crowd will be like. If I had to guess, I'd say that the majority of fans would be pulling for Boston College just because of the Ireland/Boston connection; an estimated 15% of Boston's population has Irish ancestry, the highest rate in the United States among major cities. No one knows what the 2016 Eagles will be, but the same can be said for the Jackets. It should be a fun game regardless.
Though last year was thought to be peak Heisman time for the ACC, this year's landscape of teams very well could feature even more viable candidates than 2015. I wish that I could pump up Justin Thomas this time around like a few people did last year, but I just don't see a Heisman-worthy campaign in the straws for Tech's senior signal caller. Some of that has to do with the national perception of option quarterbacks, but the main issue is that this team's offensive line doesn't appear nearly dominant enough to boost Thomas from excellent to elite. It could still happen, but Paul Johnson's resolution to employ a dual-quarterback system at times is both logical and a limiting factor for Thomas' accolade hopes.