Like Miami, Georgia Tech came into the season with high hopes and just like Miami, inconsistency in ACC play brought them back down to earth. Granted, Miami’s level of expectation was a bit higher than Georgia Tech’s at the start of the season, but the precipitous declines for the two teams are very similar.
The Yellow Jackets come into this series with a 31-22 record overall and an 11-16 record in ACC play. Most projections have them as a three seed in a regional.
With a series win here, they won’t have to sweat much on selection Monday. With a series loss, and certainly with a sweep at the hands of UM, they might find themselves on the outside looking in. Their RPI and strength of schedule would likely be right in line with tournament teams, but it’s going to be a hard sell for the committee to allow a team with a 12-18 or 11-19 conference record in.
As so many Georgia Tech teams have before, this team is led by their offense.
As a team, they have a .295 batting average. Their leading hitter is junior outfielder Brandon Thomas. Thomas sports a .366 batting average and an absurd .472 on-base percentage. He is also second on the team with 12 steals.
Not to be outdone, Sam Dove is hitting .341 with a .409 on-base percentage and ten steals.
Much of the power production on this team comes off the bats of Jake Davies and Daniel Palka. Davies, a senior first baseman, is hitting .320 with eight home runs and a team-leading 55 RBI. Palka, a sophomore, is hitting .301 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI.
The pitching staff doesn’t have much quality depth, but they are solid at the top.
Ace starter Buck Farmer is 7-3 on the season with a 3.49 ERA. In 87.2 innings pitched, Farmer has struck out 96 hitters. Cole Pitts (4-4, 4.76) gives GT a solid second starter.
The ace of the bullpen is undoubtedly Alex Cruz. On the season, Cruz, in 25 appearances, has a 1.67 ERA and a .165 batting average against. To give you an idea of the lack of depth in the bullpen behind Cruz, no other pitcher has more than 15 appearances out of the bullpen.
The Yellow Jackets sorely miss junior Luke Bard. Last year’s regular closer, Bard had a 0.99 ERA and .211 batting average against to start the season, but he hasn’t pitched in weeks.
I think we’re in for a really good series. These teams are very similar, but are polar opposites in terms of what they do well. Because of this, every pitch will be hard-fought. I’ll be the eternal optimist and say that Miami takes two of the three on the road in Atlanta to end the regular season on a good note.