Last weekend Georgia Tech faced their first series loss of the season against Wake Forest. This probably left a bad taste in the mouth of our Georgia Tech ball players as a tough road trip loomed on the horizon against NC State. The Jackets needed to get back into the driver seat as they took on Kennesaw State and then bring their best against the Wolfpack. Well I’m not going to spoil the rest of the article... lets see how they did.
March 22nd: #10 Jackets tear up the Owl nest, GT wins 13-2
Pitching was great in this one, not that it was needed but its always good to see. Dalton Smith, Logan McGuire, Aeden Finateri, and Cort Roedig all had a fantastic outing. Only 2 walks throughout the entire game shows improvement where needed. But lets get to the real star, Stephen Reid had 3 hits and 2 Home Runs (one of which was a Grandslam) which totaled him 6 RBIs in the game. Take a bow Stephen, that’s what peak performance looks like.
March 23rd: A comeback falls short as the Jackets lose at home to Kennesaw State 14-12
Pitching did matter in this one, and it hurt the Jackets in the late innings. You’d be excused for thinking Georgia Tech had already lost this one by the third inning. A 6 run rally by KSU left the Jackets down 8-2 by the end of the third. Never a situation you want to find yourself in for baseball.
Luckily for the Jackets there was some hot hitting down the line to catch up. The runs were spread pretty evenly throughout the game for GT, and the hot hitting left Georgia Tech down 1 run going into the 9th inning. Unfortunately the bullpen did not come through and ended up giving another 2 runs to the Owls in the top of the 9th. GT did score what would’ve been the tying run in the bottom of the 9th, but with the extra scores for the Owls this was not enough to save the Jackets.
The loss wasn’t all on the pitching, there were 4 errors which led to 5 un-earned runs on the day. Hopefully this won’t weigh to much on the players minds, but when you lose by 2 runs you always think back to the mistakes that gave up extra scores. Starter Luke Bartnicki and reliever Dawson Brown had tough outings despite some strong performances going into this game. This was just a tough emotional ride for both the players and the fans. You hate that you had the game fall away early, then hate it even more when you’re team falls just short of a huge comeback.
On the plus side hitting continues to do well, I could name all the batters who contributed for the Jackets but it would take a while since pretty much everyone in the lineup found a way to contribute. We may look back at the end of the season and see this game as a perfect summary of both the strengths and weaknesses within the Georgia Tech baseball program.
March 25th: Jackets hurt themselves with errors and fall to NC State 8-6
You see those 8 runs by the NC State Wolfpack, well only 4 of those were earned by the pitching staff. 3 errors by our fielding led to 4 additional runs as the game dragged on. It’s a shame because the Jackets had a 6-1 lead going into the bottom of the 4th off of more fantastic hitting by Andrew Jenkins... but the fielding shot us in the foot. Brace yourselves, it did not get any better as the weekend went on.
March 26th: An error gives away the win to the Wolfpack 6-5
Honestly this is one of those cases where my title probably overstates what actually happened. The Jackets kept the game close throughout and pitching tried its best to keep things in line. Going into the 7th Gt was only down 4-5, but an error in the bottom of the seventh made the score 6-4. That would end up being the deciding run in the game. This was the third game in a row where errors played a deciding factor in the game. If I hadn’t recently donated my hair to charity I would have pulled it out during this game.
March 27th: The bats fall silent as GT loses 6-1
On the plus side we can’t blame this loss on errors (although there was one). NC State had 10 hits and was assisted by 5 walks from the GT pitching, given those numbers GT would’ve needed some significant results at the plate to stay in this one. Unfortunately this was the one game this week where almost no one could find a grove. There were 4 hits on the game and Tim Borden II had the sole RBI of the game. Tough way to wrap up a road trip as there wasn’t much positive to highlight.
A familiar feeling of crushing despair this week for GT sports fans. Losing 4 out of 5 games is never fun, but knowing that 3 of those 4 were self inflicted losses with errors makes you feel even worse.
These are the types of opponents GT will be facing as the season goes on. The ACC schedule will not be getting any easier so losing close games over and over again feels like repeatedly stubbing your toe on the foot of a table.
The Jackets certainly have a knack for hitting which gives me optimism; but clearly some time needs to be spent working on fielding and pitching. Coach Hall will have a little time to get the team ready this week. There is a home game against Charleston Southern on Tuesday and a away series against UVA this upcoming weekend. Hopefully our team has time to reflect on their fielding problems before going into another tough set of road games. Times are tough, but Georgia Tech’s season is far from done so tune in and watch out for some more wins. As always, Go Jackets!