What a way to start a season. For those that got to watch or listen to this weekend's series, they got to see/hear a high scoring and mostly clean series by the Yellow Jackets.
Since this is the first series of the year, I just want to let y'all know how I'll be doing these weekend series reviews. Instead of having a recap for each individual game, I'm going to collaborate all of those into one post and add a little bit more analysis in the form of "Stuff We Learned from the Last Series," which is still a working title. I'll come up with something better later, though I am open to suggestions.
Now does this mean we won't have recaps of games? Hopefully not. We still want to be able to give y'all individual recaps of each game, especially for exciting games such as these. This weekend was just a bit of an anomaly where I was stretched pretty thin between getting stuff done for the site and work, while also having some other stuff going on. From this point on, we will make it work so we have individual recaps.
Anyway, let's get to some analysis and what this piece is going to look like. I'll start off with each of the individual box scores.
Game 1: Georgia Tech vs. Purdue
WP: Burton Dulaney (1-0) || LP: Tanner Schumacher (0-1) || S: Matthew Gorst (1) || Box Score
Game 2: Georgia Tech vs. Western Michigan
WP: Jonathan King (1-0) || LP: Derek Schneider (0-1) || S: None || Box Score
Game 3: Georgia Tech vs. VCU
WP: Jonathan Hughes (1-0) || LP: Matt Oxner (0-1) || S: None || Box Score
From there, I'm pretty much going to jump straight into the analysis. So what did we learn from this weekend series?
1. My lineup was waaaaaaaay off
Okay, so I wasn't completely off. In fact, I was right about a couple of things. Even though I would ideally swap Keenan Innis and Ryan Peurifoy, the coaching staff opted to place Peurifoy in center and Innis in left and right. I don't totally hate it, since both have the flexibility to play all three spots, but I just like Peurifoy's arm in right field more and Innis' range in center more.
Continuing down the lineup, I was shocked to see Tristin English in at first base for every single game. I thought he would factor in more as the DH, especially with his defensive issues (he was one of four players with an error this weekend). I still prefer to have him as the DH in order for Kel Johnson to see more time as a defender. Having English at first also keeps Brandon Gold away from the offense. Other than his five innings in Game 1, Gold didn't see any other playing time this weekend. I think his bat is just too good to not let him play. Moving forward, I do think he'll see some time at first and/or third base, though.
The only thing that truly surprised me about the lineup was the addition of Trevor Craport (who I'll talk about in a little more detail further down). He turned out being one of Tech's best players this weekend.
2. The offense is looking very promising this year
And now, I'm going to talk about Trevor Craport in a little more detail. Craport's emergence at third base in the last two games of the series gets his bat in the lineup. And yeah, I guess you could say he had a pretty good weekend. He finished 6-for-10 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. He didn't walk at all, but he also didn't strike out. He also was able to do this while playing a spotless defense at the hot corner.
In addition to Craport, Kel Johnson and Matt Gonzalez also had strong weekends at the plate. Johnson finished 5-for-12 with a double, a home run and four RBIs, and Gonzalez finished 5-for-15 with two doubles and six RBIs. Unfortunately, though, these two combined for eight strikeouts and two walks (both for Johnson).
The team as a whole was pretty solid offensively, posting a slash line of .395/.435/.553, three home runs (11 extra-base hits), 23 RBIs and 4-of-5 in stolen bases. All in all, they were able to show the potential this offense has.
3. The pitching was really good, but where's Zac Ryan?
Anytime a pitching staff only gives up three runs over the course of one series, it's a good series. Brandon Gold got the series started with a fantastic performance, going five innings of one-run, two-hit ball, while striking out eight opposing batters. True freshman Burton Dulaney and junior Matthew Gorst also had solid performances, finishing with four total innings of four-hit ball with four strikeouts between the two, with Gorst getting the save.
Jonathan Hughes also had a solid performance in his first career start in Sunday's game against VCU. He went six innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits and also had a strikeout.
The big question, though, is where is Zac Ryan. After being the primary closer for the Yellow Jackets last year and then being named to the NCWA Stopper of the Year Award Watch List, Ryan was noticeably absent from playing time this weekend. There are a few possible explanations for this.
First is that he was surpassed as the closer by Matthew Gorst, who picked up the only opportunity for a save this weekend. Gorst is certainly a solid pitcher, but by most accounts, I would say Ryan is a superior one.
Another option could be that Danny Hall is giving him the opportunity to be the midweek starter. When Ryan first got to the Flats, there was plenty of talk that he would be the midweek starter for the Jackets, and at the beginning of his freshman year, that's exactly what he did. He didn't last long, though, as he eventually moved over to the bullpen.
The only other option I could think of is that he's dealing some sort of lingering injury that nobody is talking about. Hopefully, though, everything will be clear after Wednesday's game against Georgia Southern.
What did y'all learn about Beesball this weekend?