ATLANTA, GEORGIA — For the very last time, at least for yours truly, it is that time of year again. The time when April trickles into May, the mysterious corner of baseball stats going from a weird preseason aberration to “statistically significant” happens, and midterms turn into finals. I am certain it is no easier to be a student athlete in these times. So, as the men and women of Georgia Tech stare down the gauntlet of impending finals, it’s important to remember that all of these athletes are people and students, too. They have dreams and goals and deadlines that exist independent of their status as some of the most gifted athletes around.
Sports are an escape, yes, but also a burden. Something, something, cursed Atlanta sports fans, something. It is around these times that, in my opinion, the most compelling moments happen. For everything on the field we see, there’s a million other things looming and passing with an unstoppable, indefatigable cadence fit only to be made by something that is bigger than one student, one professor, or one deadline. So it is in finals season, once more, that we can acknowledge the incredible feats performed in front of our eyes, and the plentiful ones behind the scenes that we cannot.
After all, that is one of the things that makes college athletics what it is, is it not?
Last Week on the Flats
Overall: 15-25 / Last Week: 2-2
Polls - NFCA Coaches: NR / D1 Softball: NR / ESPN USAS: NR
Nerd Stuff - RPI: #84
To be quite honest, it’s a little surprising to be talking about the four games softball played this week. Now, sure, in this strange year, that is generally par for the course - every weekend features a four game slate against a conference opponent - but in this week, Tech’s open weekend, there were no games schedule originally. However, somewhere in the middle of all that, Tech called up to Kennesaw and brought the Owls down to the Mew for a game in exchange for a trip up 75 of their own after a midweek trip to Troy, Alabama. Why, in this year with very minimal midweeks, did we need to go to Troy instead of them coming up to Atlanta? Not sure. But, the softball was rather similar between the pair of little series.
In the midweek set, Tech took the first game 4-2, which was a low scoring affair. Troy got on the board first, but a pair of home runs in the fifth were all Tech needed to put the game away. In the second game, Troy again was the first to cross the plate, although Tech answered right back to take the lead. However, Troy immediately returned the favor with four runs of their own, and Tech would be at arms length at best the rest of the day.
On the short road trip, Tech was quiet on Friday. Their opponents scored first and again kept Tech’s bats quiet enough that the Jackets were at bay the rest of the day. However, on Sunday, back at home, Tech managed to win the return game in a 3-2 pitching duel. This quick game put Tech back at .500 for the week, and they are at rest until they face Virginia in a four game series this weekend.
Polls - Golfweek Coaches: #33, Golfstat: #30
Tech got about as close as they could have gotten to the final day of match play at the ACC Championships and not have won this weekend at the Capital City Club. Tech roared all the way back from sixth place to a dead heat with Wake Forest and Florida State for the fourth spot on the backs of strong play from Christo Lamprecht, Noah Norton, and Connor Howe. However, they ultimately fell by just a single stroke after Howe, who had the best day on the team, bogeyed the final hole, leaving Tech out of match play. Despite being the three-time reigning ACC Champion, Tech had lost quite a bit since the last time the tournament was contested in 2019, as Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci, to name two in particular, have left for greener fairways.
Tech awaits their status and hopes for a bid to the NCAA Regionals in the coming weeks.
Overall: 17-10 / Last Week: 3-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #16
While Golf was just barely missing the chance to play for an ACC title, the Racquet Jackets were doing their darnedest to come home from Rome with a trophy. Starting the weekend with a match against Virginia Tech - they handled the Hokies with ease - they then proceeded to knock off NC State and Miami in back to back fashioned before drawing national #1 team North Carolina in the ACC Championship match. To get them their, Tech saw strong play up and down the lineup, but most notably saw not one but two of their three wins locked down by Mahak Jain. Despite all the winning, though, it was not meant to be on Sunday, and Tech quickly fell behind 1-0 after losing the doubles point. The Tar Heels would quickly notch two more points in singles, though Carol Lee did manage to get Tech on the board before the match was sealed. Tech awaits their tournament bid, and we will have more information on that in the coming days and weeks.
Overall: 13-9 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #31
The men, meanwhile, tried their best to match the ladies in their march through the ACC tournament, but were stopped short after an early 4-3 win over Miami by the top seeded Virginia Cavaliers. Tech had previously seen them on the road this year, and, well, whatever they saw must have taught them something, because they were only a hair shy of a massive upset over a very solid UVA team. Tech set themselves up for success quickly with a win in doubles, thanks to the upset of UVA’s top ten ranked team on court one by Marcus McDaniel and Andres Martin. Tech quickly ceded the lead back to the Hoos, who took courts 5 and 1 in two sets apiece. Chen Dong tied it back up on court 6 with a two set win of his own and Pablo Schelcher gave Tech a 3-2 margin. However, following a loss on court 4 to tie it back up, Andres Martin seemed to be in control in the third set on court 2, up 5-3. However, he found himself in the tiebreaker after being broken back, and ultimately fell 7-5, the slimmest of margins against a great team.
Tech awaits news of if they will make the postseason, as they are currently in a bubble spot, hoping that not many bids are stolen in front of them. While a win over UVA would have almost certainly assured them of a spot in the Big Dance, for now they wait to hear their fate.
In the Club House
Lacrosse saw their game cancelled this weekend, but hockey was back in action to finish off their spring slate. They fell 5-2 in an emotional game to their archrivals to the east, the ice mutts from Athens. This concludes their season with a 1-3 record, but the abbreviated slate just whets the appetite for more Tech hockey in the fall.
Best of the Week
- Spring Game Preview
- Spring Open Practice Review
- This Week’s Mailbag, Mostly Because the Comments are Fun
Sidenote on some of the wanting to see more history, etc. stuff - I promise Rearview and the one-offs I used to do are coming back, I just need to finish this whole “grad school” thing in one piece first.
This Week on the Flats
[IMAGE - Insert the coming week’s schedule image from Excel]
Caption: This Week on the Flats
Source: Data via RamblinWreck.com, Compiled by Jake Grant
[talk about the big games of the week ahead]
Poll of the Week
Most interesting part about the Spring Game
This poll is closed
Seeing new faces
Seeing new play styles, etc.
Seeing the familiar standouts
Just being in the stadium
Paying too much for concessions