Georgia Tech came off its worst week of the season so far against NC State into facing another tough road trip against Virginia. As much as I like the UVA campus, this did not look to be a fun vacation as the Cavaliers have been on a run of their own in baseball. So (for those of you who can’t read the title) let’s talk about how the Jackets did.
March 30th: Jackets show no mercy and beat Charleston Southern 17-3 in 7 innings
The mercy rule was in effect for this game as the Jackets really took it to the Buccaneers. Kevin Parada had the biggest highlight of the night with 3 hits and 6 RBIs on the night. Personally I was more impressed with the consistency that Drew Compton managed as he had 3 at bats, 3 hits, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. Not bad at all.
5 Pitchers shared the spotlight, with Logan McGuire putting in the most work on the night throwing 3 full innings. Cameron Hill, Cort Roedig, Sam Crawford, and Cole McNamee were the other pitchers who put in work. Of the 5 pitchers only McGuire and Roedig gave up 2 earned runs, along with 1 run which was scored on an error, which led to the 3 points that Charleston scored. There were no walks during the game which is a good sign, and indicative of how dominant the Jacket pitching was. The shared load would allow for the pitchers to be of use during the more dangerous series against Virginia. Good all around game for the Jackets.
April 1st: Do you believe in unlikely-hoods? GT takes down #2 UVA 6-4
It might seem like an April’s fool prank but we pulled off the upset against a #2 UVA in Charlottesville. We haven’t had much positive to say about GT pitching as of late, but this game was a great example of the bullpen coming through.
Chance Huff had some early struggles but managed to only give up 3 earned runs during the first 4.2 innings of the game. The real story though is Zach Maxwell who pitched as well as we’ve seen any GT pitcher do all season. Maxwell went 4 innings of shutout pitching to close the game; this included a bases loaded no out situation in the sixth inning that he managed to scrape his way out of with some help from Jadyn Jackson who made a All-Star catch to end the inning.
Hitting wasn’t as strong as it usually was, but Kevin Parada, Colin Hall, and Tres Gonzales managed to combine for 6 RBIs which was all the Jackets ended up needing to win. Great game by the Jackets considering most people assumed we were going to get swept by UVA. Sadly the rest of the weekend did not go as well as this game.
April 2nd: Pitching Stumbles and Batting Comes up short, UVA wins 13-9
After an impressive Friday game GT fell back to earth on Saturday. Pitching could not find its footing through the first 6 innings as they gave up 6 walks and 13 hits which included a 7 run 6th inning that put the game well out of reach.
The batting tried its best to catch up. Andrew Jenkins was a standout as he hit 2 home runs and accumulated 3 RBIs. Jadyn Jackson and Drew Compton also had 2 RBIs each, but this was simply not enough for the Jackets to catchup.
I can’t put too much blame on the Jackets for not making the comeback as UVAs pitching shut things down in the late game. Brandon Neeck of UVA locked things down in the 8th and 9th with 4 strikeouts against 5 batters faced. This was a tough loss, but an understandable one against the #2 team in the country. Tech kept things as close as they could but the early stumbles and big hits from UVA kept things just out of reach. Wish I could say the same about the Sunday game.
April 3rd: UVA dominates the Jackets 18-9
Pitching gave up a 10 run 4th inning to UVA... I don’t think much else needs to be said about this game. Georgia Tech had 14 hits and 9 runs on the day from their offense, but they had no way of stopping the onslaught from UVA. I don’t have much to say on this game, I can’t put a positive spin on this loss even though it was to the #2 team in the country. This is exactly what we fear from GT pitching when it struggles, 11 walks on the day along with 15 hits given up. This was just not the best day for the GT pitching staff.
I guess you could argue that we took 1 more game than most expected from the Cavaliers on the road... just be sure to ignore how bad the last game of the series was. This was a demoralizing set of games following the initial optimism going into the weekend. Pitching has gone back to giving up walks and hits against tougher opponents.
Now this doesn’t mean we should be hating on our boys too much. After the football and basketball season it has been easy for some fans to jump at making the worst assumptions about the team, which I don’t necessarily think is fair. It is clear that the Jackets have the talent to dominate less talented opponents and compete with top 25 talents, however our team doesn’t show the experience necessary to overcome competitors like UVA who sit at the top of the NCAA on a regular basis. I’m not sure if there is a good solution to the problem; improving a pitching staff is not something that happens over night. Hopefully Danny Hall can find a solution otherwise the Jackets will be looking forward to another season of making the playoffs and then getting knocked out early.
This upcoming weekend will have GT going against the Florida State Seminoles in a home series. FSU’s strength seems to be based around their pitching so this will be a matchup to that Tech could theoretically take advantage of. Can GT’s strong hitting overcome the talented FSU pitching staff and can the Jacket’s pitching lock down a less talented lineup from FSU? This will be an important matchup in defining the rest of the season so be sure to watch if you can. Let’s get this train back on track boys, Go Jackets!