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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Pumped Up

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Softball is on an eight (!) game win streak and that isn’t even the biggest news of the week.

Caio Pumputis following his second individual ACC title.
Georgia Tech Athletics

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA - Seems like this writer missed the memo when he decided to head to Florida State on Friday, with men’s tennis squaring off against the Seminoles...in Atlanta. Nevertheless, a rambunctious swim meet later, and we dig back into what is perhaps the singles busiest week of actual competition the non-revenue sports have seen in quite a while, this aside from events off the court. Let’s dive in.


No. 4 Men’s Golf

Noah Norton ended day one of play tied for the lead, while Tech sits in the drivers seat by two shots following one day of play. More on the results of this next week.

This Week: Tech is at Southern Highlands early this week.

No. 19 Men’s Swimming

This week, the Tech men followed the ladies to Greensboro for the ACC Swimming and Diving Championship. They started the weekend well, with the 200 medley relay team of Rodrigo Correia, Caio Pumputis, Christian Ferraro, and Corben Miles re-upping their A-cut from earlier this year. Also, Pumputis, Correia, Ferraro, and Colt Williamson scored a B-cut with a school-record-breaking 800 Freestyle Relay, with Pumputis snagging the 200 Freestyle individual record with his flat start to leadoff. As noted in the sidebar, the A-cut relay means any Tech relay is eligible to swim at NCAAs. On the second day, Williamson broke his own 500 Freestyle record, notching a B-cut, while Pumputis took out the school mark as well as annihilated the Greensboro Aquatic Center record in the 200 IM, a notable feat in a pool that plays host to several large meets per season in his A-cut swim. Pumputis’ first place finish in the event is the first Tech ACC swimming champion since 2012. Corben Miles added a B-cut in the 50 Free as well. Pumputis broke another school record in the 100 Breaststroke, placing second with a B-cut time. Kyle Barone and Ferraro added B-cuts in the 100 Butterfly, Joonas Koski and Tim Slanschek earned two of their own in the 400 IM, and Williamson, Correia, and Barone reached three more in the 100 Backstroke. Athletics said it well, so I’ll quote them here, “Pumputis finished in first in the 200 breast finals with a time of 1:51.56, breaking the school record, pool meet record, and conference record. Pumputis’ time also tops as the fastest time in the country this season.” It was an incredible swim. Correia and Williamson earned B-cuts in the 200 Backstroke, Darren Lim scored a B-cut in the 100 Freestyle, Ferraro, Slanschek, and Clay Hering took B-cuts in the 200 Butterfly, Cale Russell got his own B-cut in the mile (1650), the first time that has happened in quite a while for Tech.

Other than a mysteriously subpar 200 Freestyle by Correia, the Jackets had a solid meet. Though their numerical finish perhaps left a little to be desired - the relays the second half of the meet are worth a lot of points but Tech didn’t get a lot of traction in them - unlike last year, they swam as good or better than expected. Ultimately, Pumputis was named co-MVP of the meet and Tech finished a few spots higher in eighth. Though perhaps the lofty top-20 ranking would imply they have at least a little more depth than that, it was still not a bad showing for the Yellow Jackets, led by the unquestionable star, and one of the best to come out of Tech in a very long time, Caio Pumputis.

This week: Tech’s divers are up for Zones after the Yellow Jackets host a last-chance meet next weekend.

Softball

Monday, February 25th: Georgia Tech (7 - 6) defeats Southeastern Louisiana (7 - 8), 4-2.

Monday, February 25th: Georgia Tech (8 - 6) edges Mississippi State (10 - 4), 6-4.

Wednesday, February 27th: Georgia Tech (9 - 6) handles Kennesaw State (5 - 10), 6-3.

Friday, March 1st: Georgia Tech (10 - 6) dispatches Fordham (5 - 10), 1-0.

Friday, March 1st: Georgia Tech (11 - 6) sweeps Fordham (5 - 11), 4-2.

Saturday, March 2nd: Georgia Tech (12 - 6) dispatches Hofstra (2 - 9), 8-1.

Saturday, March 2nd: Georgia Tech (13 - 6) sweeps Hofstra (2 - 10), 2-1.

Sunday, March 3rd: Georgia Tech (14 - 6) rallies to beat Western Carolina (6 - 6), 9-6.

There was a lot of softball to write about since last weekend, but, the good news is all of it resulted in wins. To make any noise this year, Tech absolutely needed to win the game it is supposed to, and, even though that may not necessarily have been true opening weekend, and flipping one of the Illinois games would have been nice, this week was extremely beneficial for the Jackets if not to just rack up a bunch of wins. Why host a tournament to lose winnable games, after all?

Tech’s best win of the week was by far the one over Mississippi State to close out their road swing in Starkville. With being out of town, I only made it to the Kennesaw State game, in which notable Tricia Awald was pretty cold at the plate against her former team, but across the board the pitching looked much more solid than it had previously, and the defense bailed it out a couple key times when it got shaky. That’s probably the biggest difference - make plays, and runs don’t score. This week, Tech did a terrific job of executing, and, even though most of the teams were absolutely inferior competition, Tech’s bats have come around just a bit with the nicer weather and it’s been excellent to see them pile up some needed wins.

The play of the week was absolutely Cameron Stanford’s walk-off three run home run against Western Carolina Sunday morning. Excellently done. Breanna Roper leads the team in batting average, on base percentage, runs, hits, doubles, and RBIs. And yes, I know batting average and RBIs are faulty but she’s still doing a great job at the plate. Both of these girls are sophomores. This is looking to be a productive tandem for the future.

This week: two weekday home games - the makeup against Jacksonville State and the annual home leg against the school in Athens - before opening ACC play with a trip to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Women’s Basketball

Thursday, February 28th: Georgia Tech (17 - 11) loses to Miami (24 - 6), 69-56.

Sunday, March 3rd: Georgia Tech (17 - 12) falls to Florida State ( - ), 53-45.

Refusing to comment on the coaching situation, I will add just one thing: this team is very fire-and-ice, if you will, so eliminating the head coach for a stretch push for the NCAA Tournament was probably going to result in something like this - two straight losses to conference contenders when Tech needed a win to hang around in the conversation for the big dance.

In the first game, Tech played a much larger rotation than usual on the road against a surprisingly good Miami team. Miami looked outclassed in McCamish last year, and this year they’re fantastic? I don’t get it. Anyways, Tech played a lot of players, and, as always, the Elizabeths were solid, but it wasn’t enough to sniff a win in Coral Gables. On Sunday, Tech returned home to close the regular season against a ranked Florida State team, and even led at half, but turnovers and abysmal free throw shooting sunk the Jackets chance at a nice, and probably necessary, upset.

This week: Tech opens ACC tournament play in Greensboro with a chance to avenge the wackiest game of the year - a 91-90 road loss to North Carolina.

Women’s Tennis

Using the phrase “falling off a cliff” is probably hyperbolic to describe the change between last year’s women’s tennis team and this one’s, but it’s hard to lose multiple key pieces and then be forced to have to fit the team back together. Women’s tennis took a rather harsh loss on the road at Duke, one of the best teams in the country, but notched a good upset win over Syracuse to close the weekend. And that’s certainly a step in the right direction.

This week: Tech gets two road tilts against conference foes in Winston-Salem and Louisville.

Men’s Tennis

Men’s tennis got the upset win they’ve seemingly been on the edge of grabbing for the last two or three weeks - see: heartbreaking loss to Tennessee - with their victory over Florida State. This team is by no means a serious conference contender, but they do look much better than last year. With a lot of younger talent, another year and another couple good finds by the coaching staff, and it seems like this team is even more promising in the medium term than I had previously thought. To beat the Seminoles, Tech took the doubles point and the two teams split the singles, and wins by Andrew Li and Cole Gromley set Tech up for the win when Carlos Divar slammed the door shut on no. 21 Florida State.

Tech wasn’t quite so lucky on Sunday, falling 4-3 to Clemson, but it was a good weekend for the Jackets thanks to the solid upset Friday night.

This week: Tech is at rest.


For Men’s Basketball Coverage:

Click here

For Baseball Coverage:

Click here


This Week on the Flats:

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

Monday:
Men’s Golf at the Southern Highlands Collegiate
12:00 PM, Las Vegas, NV, Live Streaming at 3:00 PM

Tuesday:
Men’s Golf at the Southern Highlands Collegiate
12:00 PM, Las Vegas, NV, Live Streaming at 3:00 PM

Baseball at Kennesaw State
5:00 PM, Kennesaw, GA, ESPN3 and WREK 91.1

Softball vs. Jacksonville State
5:00 PM, Mewborn Field

Wednesday:
Baseball vs, Kennesaw State
5:00 PM, Russ Chandler Stadium, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Softball vs. the School out East
7:00 PM, Atlanta, GA, ACC Network Extra

Men’s Basketball at North Carolina State
9:00 PM, Raleigh, NC, RSNs, and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)

Thursday:
Women’s Basketball vs. North Carolina (ACC Championship - Second Round)
2:00 PM, Greensboro, NC, RSNs and WREK 91.1

Friday:
Track and Field at NCAA Indoor National Championships
All day, Birmingham, AL

Swimming and Diving at American Short Course Championships
All day, Austin, TX

Women’s Tennis at Wake Forest
4:00 PM, Winston-Salem, NC

Softball at VPISU
6:00 PM, Blacksburg, VA, ACC Network Extra

Baseball at Miami
7:00 PM, Coral Gables, FL, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Women’s Basketball vs. TBA (ACC Championship - Quarterfinals)

Saturday:
Track and Field at NCAA Indoor National Championships
All day, Birmingham, AL

Swimming and Diving at American Short Course Championships
All day, Austin, TX

Softball at VPISU
2:00 PM, Blacksburg, VA, ACC Network Extra

Baseball at Miami
7:00 PM, Coral Gables, FL, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Women’s Basketball vs. TBA (ACC Championship - Semifinals)

Sunday:
Swimming and Diving at American Short Course Championships
All day, Austin, TX

Women’s Tennis at Louisville
12:00 PM, Louisville, KY

Softball at VPISU
1:00 PM, Blacksburg, VA, ACC Network Extra

Baseball at Miami
1:00 PM, Coral Gables, FL, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1

Women’s Basketball vs. TBA (ACC Championship Game)