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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Three True Outcomes

In which we get...actual softball news!

Senior Day, 2019
Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - There are few things in life quite like driving around on a crisp night with the windows down and sunroof open, bright skyline of Midtown Atlanta off in the distance. With the weather having broken, at long last, plenty of that was in store this weekend with sports returning to the Flats, friends in from out of town, and errands to run. And, most notably in the realm of non-revenue sports, we got a beautiful Friday night with a chance to do something that proves all too fleeting in the fall - actually find out what the heck softball has been up to.


Softball

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that athletics didn’t post a postgame recap of the game and there were no tweets about it, so I have no idea what the final score was on Friday night. But, the good news is that yours truly headed out to the Mew to take in a beautiful Atlanta evening and some fall ball.

Tech started a bit shaky in the top of the first, by putting two nonconsecutive runners on, but a quick laser from behind the plate after the first one caught her stealing and Jacksonville State went down swinging on a full count to end their half of the inning. However, Tech didn’t really do much in the bottom of the inning, going down in order, but Bailee Zeitler (at least I presume it was her, going off of last year’s roster, as Tech wasn’t in uniforms and the like - note: the name thing applies to all batting results) did scorch a liner right to the hot corner, which probably would have been a double had it gone a foot left or right of the third baseman. In the second, Tech got a couple range-y plays on popups, with Tricia Awald making a nice catch in foul territory with her back to the plate near the wall and Crosby Huckabay following it up with a routine fly to right before Jacksonville State once again struck out to end the inning. The bottom of the second, though, was where Tech really came alive.

If you remember back to the summer retrospective on the previous season, I noted that Tech wasn’t terribly great at hitting for contact, but their on base and slugging percentages were somewhat ludicrous. Tech was a team of the three true outcomes - strikeouts, walks, and home runs - last year, and the second inning showed that, rather than slowing, that trend is probably due to increase even more this season. Here was the result, straight from my official FTRS Detailed Game Notes™:

- Awald, HR (no doubt), dead 8 (1-0)
- Stanford, BB
- Kauf 1B, Stanford to 2nd
- beaned w/ full ct., Kauf to 2nd, Stanford to 3rd
- (I think Prairie) BB (nice contact laced foul), all advance, run scores (2-0)
- BB, all advance, run scores (3-0)
- Zeitler 1B, all advance, run scores (4-0)
- 1B, all advance, run scores, pitching change (5-0)
- Huckabay K (1 out)
- Awald FC 1-2, runner out at plate (2 out)
- Stanford BB, all advance, run scores (6-0)
- Kauf HBP, all advance, run scores (7-0)
- groundout to 3, unassisted (3 out)
—————
13 batters, 4 H, 6 BB/HBP, 7 R

So, yeah, it was a good inning. One that saw a lot of good plate discipline - something this team is quite good at - and making decent contact when given the opportunity.

In the top of the third, Tech allowed a runner on a hit batsman, but, other than a screaming liner right at Lily Hooper, the Gamecocks went down without a threat. In the bottom of the third, Hooper followed it up nicely when she absolutely clobbered a ball to deep left field that was the most solid contact of the three innings I was able to watch. Tech would go on to win, though certainly not a shutout, in a lengthy extra-innings-for-the-sake-of-it game.

It was definitely good to see them play in person, especially with little in the way of coverage of the fall season coming on ramblinwreck.com. I know it’s a game that should be taken with a grain of salt, but Tech did lose to this same team by a single run in tightly played games each of the last two years, and this was, well, not that, so it’s a little bit easy to get carried away. But Tech didn’t lose a ton - though we saw a huge difference last year when a player like Katie Krzus was out due to injury - on a team that took another step forward last year. Its signing class and crop of transfers are pretty talented, too. Pitching was what held this team back last year, and, if Friday was any indication, that has improved. I’d say it’s pretty exciting to see what this team can do once the calendar flips to February.

This week: Tech hosts Allbarn Thursday night at Mewborn in...an even more compelling matchup than last Friday’s already compelling Jacksonville State game. So that ought to be fun.

Volleyball

Tech (8-6) is swept by Louisville (10-3) 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 27-25)
Tech (8-7) rallied in vain against Notre Dame this week (11-3) 3-1 (25-14, 18-25, 25-15, 26-24)

Tech’s losing streak stretched on into this weekend - and then back out of it. Louisville is one of the stronger teams in the conference, but Tech couldn’t quite get anywhere of significance, falling in three. If it’s a reasonable leap to take, I’d say they looked marginally more competitive than last year, but losing three straight is losing three straight. The second set, where Tech looked flat, proved to be an anchor for the Jackets. They then followed up their jaunt to Louisville with a spin through South Bend to play Notre Dame. Tech looked again simply okay in this game, falling behind early, though managing to make this one interesting. In the end, though, the result was the same, and Tech was unable to put it all together quite like they had against Arkansas and Syracuse. Tech looked great on the attack, especially Sunday, but more pedestrian than the Fighting Irish on the defensive side of the ball. Again, faltering and dropping matches comes from the set or two where Tech never really seems to get anything going. But, this week will be a chance to regroup after seeing two quality teams in hostile environments.

This week: Tech heads back out on the road for a rare Wednesday tilt in Clemson before shipping up to Blacksburg for a game against the Hokies.

Men’s Tennis

Brandon Freestone, Pablo Schelcher, Keshav Chopra, and Marcus McDaniel played in the pre-qualifying draw the past two days. Andres Martin is already in the qualifying draw, which should begin play today. This lengthy tennis tournament’s draw begins on Wednesday. Yes, it’s very complicated. We will see how it all plays out in Tulsa as the week unfolds.

This week: Of note, the schedule posted is pretty whack (three different tournaments), so I don’t necessarily understand who will be where for the most part, but, well, there’s a seemingly excessive amount of men’s and women’s tennis to be played this week.


The Hot Corner

What sport do I want to feature this week? Why, baseball, of course, if you couldn’t tell by the title. I haven’t forgotten about the swimming and women’s basketball schedule looks, but this week, well, I’m a little lacking in the hunt for a real World Series - thanks, insufferable inherited curse of Cubs fandom - and want to talk baseball, so we’ll settle for the White and Gold World Series. Tech released the rosters of both teams today, and the two seem pretty well balanced. With an (apparently) outstanding pitching coach pickup, based on the numbers they’ve been tweeting about, and just hearsay through the grapevine, it seems like Danny II, The Deuce (petition to make that his nickname) has been doing some great work. I’m excited to see some of that live this week. Also, Tech has plenty of playing time open for the taking, with pitching seeing a sharp uptick in departures, yet another all-conference talent catcher in Kyle McCann, and first baseman/most reliable reliever hybrid Tristan English departing for the draft and center fielder Nick Wilhite, who had finally really come into his own last year, hanging up the spikes presumably in favor of a future in music. Like I said, a lot of positions to fill, and three days of games for players to establish themselves as a prime candidate come February.

Stay tuned to this space for a more detailed breakdown of what the team looked like in person next week, from hitting and pitching, to fielding, lineups, and general observations. My goal is to get over to the Rusty C for one, and hopefully two, of the games so we can get a good first look at the Jackets as they add the no. 4 ranked recruiting class in the nation to a core that peaked at no. 3 in the nation last year. Is it weird that I still am a little dumbfounded typing a sentence like that? Let’s hope it becomes the norm. Golf and tennis sure are doing their part, at least.


For football coverage:

click here

For basketball coverage:

Rob, Reed, Patrick, and the gang have been doing great work getting the Countdown to Tipoff underway, so be sure to check out their stellar previews!


This Week on the Flats:

BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location

Monday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, mainly Tulsa, OK

Tuesday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, mainly Tulsa, OK

Wednesday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, mainly Tulsa, OK

Volleyball at Clemson
7:00 PM, Clemson, SC, ACC Network (yay!) and maybe WREK 91.1

Thursday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, mainly Tulsa, OK

Softball vs. Auburn
6:00 PM, Mewborn Field

Friday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, mainly Tulsa, OK

Women’s Swimming and Diving at the Rice Invitational
All day, Houston, TX

Saturday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, Tulsa, OK

Men’s Tennis hosts the Georgia Tech Invitational
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Women’s Swimming and Diving at the Rice Invitational
All day, Houston, TX

Football at Duke
12:30 PM, Bobby Dodd Stadium, ACC Network Extra and Regional Sports Networks (Fox Sports South in Atlanta) and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM)

Sunday:
Assorted Men’s and Women’s Tennis Tournaments in Far Away Places
All day, Tulsa, OK

Men’s Tennis hosts the Georgia Tech Invitational
All day, Ken Byers Tennis Complex

Volleyball at VPISU
1:00 PM, Blacksburg, VA, ACC Network Extra and maybe WREK 91.1