In one of the more intriguing draws and games, Georgia Tech will host Georgia State on Friday in the first round of the NCA baseball regional. I half thought the NCAA might have some fun and put UGA and Ga. State in the Atlanta regional, as well.
While making the NCAA is old hat for Danny Hall and the Jackets (he’s now guided the Jackets to the playoffs 14 of the past 16 years, including the College World Series in 1994, 2002 and 2006), this will be the Panthers’ first time in the postseason.
There have been some comments on this board from Tech fans unhappy with Hall’s reign, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. The playoffs 14 of 16 years in what has arguably been the toughest conference in the country? Three times in the College World Series? One loss in the title game? There’s a reason you don’t see too many dynasties in college baseball. In fact, during the past 10 years no team has won the CWS more than twice. LSU is the closest thing to a dynasty in baseball, winning the title five times during the past 18 years, and it hasn’t played for the championship since last winning it in 2000.
Why? It’s tough to do. And baseball doesn’t exclude anyone from the playoffs. Every team, even the ones that are I-AA or a mid-major in football, can play for the national championship in baseball.
Throw in the fact that baseball rosters, which are obviously much smaller than football rosters, constantly churn because of the draft. Three times in 15 seasons? That’s the same as three sweet 16s in basketball, which is a decent accomplishment.
Anyway, let’s look at how the Jackets and Panthers match up statistically in a few key categories (leaders in bold):
Category Tech State
Team BA .318 .310
Opp. BA .263 .284
HR 104 72
Opp. HR 46 53
RBI 438 426
Opp. RBI 252 325
SLG .549 .474
Opp. SLG .389 .426
ERA 4.68 5.41
Opp. ERA 7.98 7.24
SO 478 459
Opp. SO 380 384
As you can see, Tech is better in most categories, has a big advantage in home runs, and a significant advantage in slugging percentage and opponents’ RBI, which says to me that Tech takes much better advantage of taking advantage of scoring opportunities, and limiting its opponents’ chances.
One more thing about Tech. It played arguably the toughest schedule in the country this year. It did stumble at the end, but it is hosting for a reason.
Anyway, send me your thoughts on this matchup, as well as Tech’s chances of making it to the super regionals.