[City], [State] — [talk about sports in general, or life]
Last Week on the Flats
Overall: 13-6 / Last Week: 2-1
Polls - AP: RV / Coaches: RV
Nerd Stuff - NET: 24 / RPI: 19
The women played a marathon of a week again, and they again looked tired as the calendar turned to Sunday. Much as they did two weeks ago, they played hard and won convincingly for two midweek games, but going on the road to icy and far away Boston College, despite them being a cellar dweller in the conference, was too much for the short-staffed and tired Jackets. The teams had combined for 6 points 7 minutes into the first quarter, and Tech squandered a chance at salvaging a road win by only scoring 2 points in the entire fourth quarter. Of course, this comes hot on the heels of a quality road win against a Florida State team that rarely, if ever, loses in their own building. In fact, Florida State has just one other loss at home since January 9th, 2020, which was *checks notes* when we beat them in Tallahassee last season. Coach Nell Fortner’s squad is 4-0 in the last two seasons against the Seminoles. So, even with the bad Boston College loss (which, well, they’re at least in the top 90 in NET, I guess?) it was still a week that featured two wins, one of which was quite impressive.
Overall: 5-6 / Last Week: 0-6
Polls - NFCA Coaches: NR / D1 Softball: NR / ESPN USAS: RV (29)
Nerd Stuff - RPI: N/A
The bar really did get raised after last weekend. Tech was one of the hottest-hitting teams in the whole country, and their pitching staff was lights out. However, with two of the top four or so teams in the conference in town for a grinding six game set, Tech definitely had its work cut out heading into the four day weekend. Things started out rocky on Thursday, too, with Tech keeping things tight against Florida State early in the first game before the ‘Noles pulled away for a comfortable win. That would be the only game that truly got out of reach for Tech, but even then there was a decent portion of the game where they were fairly competitive. They followed it up with 7-3 and 5-4 losses, both of which looked better than most recent Tech teams have against a program that has certainly been the finest in the conference the last decade or so. So, disappointing, yes, but catastrophic, no. A few key hits and the Friday game is a win, and the same could be said about both games today against Clemson. In fact, for much of the first game Sunday, Tech was outhitting Clemson, who ultimately did win simply by having strung hits together better in the first for a big crooked number. Tech? They left the bases loaded that inning. In the second game, Tech rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh after a gem of a triple play by freshman Jin Sileo in the top of the frame, who is now not-so-quietly one of the most exciting new additions to the team. Ultimately, though, despite a nice piece of situational hitting by Cameron Stanford with two outs - she scalded a two run double - they came up just short after Tricia Awald hit a solid line drive right at the shortstop.
I couldn’t work this into the narrative above, but I would be remised to not mention the defense from Tech outside of the triple play was very solid, too. A certain play where Stanford fielded a ball deep in the left field corner off a bounce off the wall to throw out the runner trying to stretch a single into a double in game one of the Clemson doubleheader comes to mind as the best example. A good defense saves runs and keeps its team in the game, and the Tech defense certainly did that this weekend.
Some luck changes and Tech goes 2-4. This team played better as the weekend went on, but there are still questions to be answered - namely, consistency - if they are to be considered threats to the powers at the top of the conference or for a postseason berth. However, the ACC seems to be a conference on the rise, with newcomers Clemson and Duke raising the bar, so hopefully a rising tide lifts all ships for the conference as a whole when it comes to getting postseason looks. If Tech continues its trajectory of improvement, look for them to make noise. The question will be when and if that happens.
Swimming and Diving
Polls - CSCAA Coaches M: 22 / W: NR, SwimSwam M: 16 / W: NR
Nerd Stuff - CAP M: 15 / W: 30
It was a generally productive week for the women and the divers as they headed to Greensboro for their leg of the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships. Tech’s women scored their most points ever at the meet, which is great, leading to a ninth place finish. The Jackets parked themselves solidly at #30 in the country in our CAP rankings, thanks to a bevy of solid swims that wound up with top 100 times in the country and a harvest of NCAA B Cuts. It seems that this year there are fewer A cuts - automatic consideration for the championships - than I expected based on past years, so perhaps a swimmer or two will find their way to NCAAs coming up in a few weeks. As for top names from the weekend, Mackenzie Campbell, Brooke Switzer, Astrid Dirkzwager, Claudia Butterfield, and Arianna Sakellaris are all underclassmen that had exceptional swims, and divers Camryn Hidalgo and Ruben Lechuga led the way on the boards.
The men are up next in Greensboro, with the divers next in action at the Zones meet.
Polls - Golfweek Coaches: RV, Golfstat: 39
Noah Norton finally turned the corner and rounded into the form we knew and loved from the veteran anchor of this golf team, as he just narrowly missed out on the tournament championship at Palm Desert, hosted by Wyoming. The senior ended the weekend with a -5 day and a -9 overall, landing him alone in second place. Norton was joined by Christo Lamprecht in the top 10, easily the best performance of his young career. On the weekend, Tech thoroughly handled three other teams in the Golfstat rankings, and, like we saw in Hawaii, the team has only gotten better as the season has progressed. It will be exciting to watch them continue to hone their craft as we creep closer to the postseason, and surely they will be ranked higher than #39 next week in the Golfstat rankings.
Overall: 8-5 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: 12
Tech had an interesting and rather jam-packed weekend, hosting the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday and the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday. Why this wasn’t the usual Friday/Sunday split, I do not know, but it seems rather odd that it wouldn’t be. Instead, Tech played back to back, and looked a little tired on Sunday against a top ten FSU team. The previous day, Tech was originally going to play outside, but for unclear reasons (Miami thinking it cold and/or windy came to mind), they moved inside and delayed the start. Delayed starts were a theme up and down Fowler this weekend. Anyways, that win, a gutsy and exciting 4-3 victory, was a solid one and not one to turn the nose up against, especially considering they rallied to win four singles after losing the doubles point. And a loss to a very good Florida State team isn’t, either, but it would have been nice to have the usual day of rest in between. It is still unknown where Ava Hrastar and Mahak Jain are in the injury/COVID/etc. miasma, but having especially Hrastar back would be a big boost to the depth on this team.
6-3 Overall, 1-1 This Week
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: NR
The men also had a theme of struggling in doubles this weekend, as singles carried them to their road win in Tallahassee after dropping a decision in Miami, truly the inverse of the ladies’ weekend. The Jackets were once again led by an impressive showing from Marcus McDaniel, who was the only Tech player to collect two singles wins on the weekend, as he knocked off a top 100 player in the form of Alex Knaff. All in all, a solid weekend for Tech, and one with some good building blocks moving forward.
Best of the Week
- Miami? Never Heard of ‘Em
- Baseball Pregame Tidbits
- Talking Trains and Other Atlanta Improvements in the Mailbag
This Week on the Flats
The next big test for softball comes on Sunday, in the form of the only meeting of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate on the softball diamond this year. Elsewhere, the Men’s Basketball game against Virginia Tech is about as must-win as they come, so hopefully they come out looking like the team that beat the brakes off Miami on Saturday. Nearest and dearest to my own heart, though, is the men’s swim team heading up to Greensboro where they have to clock in some big swims if they want to cash in on high NCAA-related expectations in the coming weeks. All that and more in a packed schedule this week.
Poll of the Week
Best way to lose a sporting event?
This poll is closed
Blow out loss
Be competitive, until you’re not
Generally out of reach the whole game