Coming off a sweep of Virginia Tech the previous weekend Georgia Tech had high expectations against Jackson State and Wake Forest. Both series at home so the Jackets were looking to take advantage of the homefield advantage to add some more wins to their 13-3 record. How did that turnout? Well let’s get into it.
March 15th: #7 Jackets breeze past Jackson State in 8 innings, winning 16-6
I don’t have much to say about this game. It was pure domination. The hitting continued to be on another level. Andrew Jenkins, Drew Compton, Kevin Parada, Tyler Hare, and Colin Hall all had multiple RBIs during the game. Andrew walked away with 4 RBIs while everyone else I listed had 2 RBIs. There wasn’t much Jackson State could do given how hot GT was at the plate.
March 16th: Game Canceled
The game was canceled due to weather... good chance to either go to a bar or get some studying in depending on your lifestyle.
March 18th: #6 GT can’t find the hits needed to overcome Wake, GT loses 5-3
Going into the matchup against Wake there was an understanding that this series would revolve around hitting. Both Georgia Tech and Wake Forest were leading the ACC in various offensive categories regarding home runs, extra bases, and RBIs. The box score reflected the focus on hitting as wake had 10 hits on the day and the Jackets had 9. Despite having 9 hits on the day, GT could not find a way to capitalize on base runners and only managed to score 3 runs. This game really came down to execution on batting. GT pitching limited the damage on walks but couldn’t contain the Deacon offense early on and from there the Jackets could not catch up. Tough loss at home.
March 19th: The Demon Deacons commit possible war crimes as they defeat GT 27-7
This one hurt. Despite the final score the game was actually close through the first 4 innings or so. Then Georgia Tech broke one of the unwritten rules in baseball: Don’t let the other team score 12 runs in an inning. Georgia Tech burned through 3 pitchers in the top of the 5th, trying to find a way to get out of the onslaught by the Deacons. After demoralizing the pitching there wasn’t much the team could do to get back into the game. I don’t blame them, if I get behind by more than 10 runs in a game I usually hit the restart button if I haven’t already thrown my controller into the wall. Sometimes this happens in baseball, you just hate when it has to happen to your team.
March 20th: The Jackets avoid a sweep, winning 14-5
The jackets needed a boost after the first 2 games in the series. Starting pitcher Marquis Grissom Jr. and Reliever John Medich helped to give the rest of the team that push by throwing 5 innings of scoreless ball giving up only 2 hits (they did walk 6 people but obviously that didn’t impact things too much). This combined with a 6 run first inning set the Jackets on a pace that the Deacons could not catch up to.
Hitting found its balance again as Kevin Parada, Tres Gonzales, Andrew Jenkins, Colin Hall, Stephen Reid, and Jackson Finley all had multiple RBIs in this game. Hopefully this game puts some wind back into the Jackets sails going into next week.
Georgia Tech’s weaknesses finally began to catch up to it this week. Wake Forest has one of the hottest hitting teams in the country and they showed what facing a hot offensive opponent can do to GT pitching.
It’s easy to focus on the Saturday blowout as being the biggest downfall of the week. While it is a bummer... I tend to see losses like that as anomalies. Losing by 20 is rare but sometimes it happens in baseball where you get so far behind your team just can’t find the motivation to come back.
To me the more disappointing loss was on Friday. There were plenty of opportunities to make a comeback and find a way to win the game with our hitting, but the Jackets just could not find a way to deliver the necessary runs needed to catchup. It’s just a fact that pitching is not the strongest point on the team, so when pitching is keeping games close the Jackets will need hitting, baserunning, and fielding to execute at a higher level to win the game.
Wake was a particular example of a tough matchup for Georgia Tech, a team which can keep up with Tech’s hitting and has a bullpen which can close out a game if Georgia Tech doesn’t score early and often off the starting pitcher. Games against teams in the ACC with potent hitting (especially slugging percentage) such as NC State and Duke will be important down the line.
Speaking of which, look who is on the schedule this week. we have a home and away against Kennesaw State during the week and an Away series against NC State this weekend. NC State will be our toughest challenge on the year as they have the highest slugging percentage in the ACC, best fielding percentage in the ACC, and have the second lowest opponents batting average in the ACC. To win Georgia Tech will need to make the most of the opportunities they get on base and not be afraid to pitch around some of the better hitters on the NC State lineup such as J.T Jarret, Tommy White, and Josh Hood. Be sure to watch the games if you can this weekend, our boys are going to need all the support they can get. As always, Go Jackets!