A good bit going on with Georgia Tech spring sports over the weekend. A quick roundup:
The Yellow Jackets awoke Saturday morning not knowing if it would be the last day of the season. Tech needed either to beat Miami or Virginia Tech to lose to North Carolina to secure the final spot in the eight-team ACC tournament. It turns out they got both. Cole Pitts shut down the Hurricanes, holding Miami to one run in seven innings on two hits, leading the Jackets to a 2-1 win.
Pitts, a freshman, was named ACC pitcher of the week for his efforts.
Tech earned the No. 8 seed in the ACC tournament, starting Wednesday in Greensboro, and has been placed in a four-team pool with No. 1 Florida State, No. 4 Clemson and No. 5 Virginia.
The Jackets will play FSU Wednesday at 11 a.m., Virginia Friday at 11 a.m. and Clemson Saturday at 11 a.m. The team with the best record in the pool plays for the league title Sunday.
Tech is ranked 28th in RPI, which would seem to be pretty safe, and holds a strong strength of schedule. However, if the Jackets lose three in a row, they’d give the tournament selection committee enough reasons to keep them out, starting with a 31-24 overall record and a league record of 12-18.
The Jackets have received a break in that they’ll face FSU’s mid-week starter, Scott Sitz, as the Seminoles will presumably wait to use their top starters for Virginia and Clemson. Tech will start ace Buck Farmer, who held FSU to one run and five hits in eight innings in the Jackets’ 2-1 loss to the Seminoles in April.
Farmer was one of four Tech players to earn All-ACC honors Monday. Farmer and left fielder Brandon Thomas were named to the first team and first baseman Jake Davies and right fielder Daniel Palka made the second team. It’s the fifth year in a row that a Tech pitcher has been named all-conference.
Davies, a senior, and juniors Farmer and Thomas all stand to be drafted in the major league draft in June. Thomas is ranked by mlb.com as the No. 80 prospect overall. Farmer is No. 92.
The Jackets were bounce at the Tuscaloosa regional Saturday, losing 10-1 in an elimination game to South Alabama. Tech lost its first game 4-3 Friday to South Alabama before recovering Saturday with a 9-1 win over UT-Martin.
In the opener, Tech led 3-2 going into the top of the seventh but gave up a pair of runs on a triple. In the UT-Martin game, Tech led 3-1 going into the seventh, when the Jackets put up six runs to put the game away. Third baseman Kelsi Weseman went 4-for-4 and pitcher Hope Rush threw a complete game, giving up four hits.
In the second South Alabama game, the Jaguars needed only five innings to knock out Tech. Pitcher Kylie Kleinschmidt lasted only into the second, giving up five runs.
Tech’s season ended at 37-23, a reflection of key injuries and a tough schedule. While the Jackets did claim the ACC tournament title, it’s the lowest win total for coach Sharon Perkins since 2008, when the Jackets went 32-31.
The Jackets failed to get out of regional qualifying for just the second time in their past 22 trips. They were the No. 2 seed in the Southwest regional at Oklahoma. What did in Tech was two things – one, the Jackets didn’t take better advantages out of good scoring conditions on Thursday, posting a 290 for eighth place (the top five teams advance).
Two, they couldn’t handle tough conditions Saturday. Tech began the final round Saturday in fifth place, three shots ahead of Oklahoma.
High winds made scoring difficult, and heavily favored the team playing its home course. Oklahoma gained 12 shots on the day as the Jackets posted the third worst (out of 14 teams) score of the day and finished nine shots out of qualifying position.
Ollie Schniederjans had the best overall score for Tech, 3-over for the tournament, good for a tie for 15th.
The men’s and women’s teams will send individuals to the singles and doubles championships that begin Wednesday.
For the men, Kevin King and Juan Spir will be the No. 2 ranked doubles team and both have at-large spots in the singles tournament. King and Spir are 65-21 in their career, and reached the NCAA semifinals last year.
For the women, Jillian O’Neill will play in the singles championship and will play doubles with Alex Anghelescu.
Note: The Tech caravan continues with an event Tuesday (tonight) at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Midtown. Dan Radakovich, Brian Gregory, Paul Johnson and MaChelle Joseph, along with Wes Durham, are scheduled to speak. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is free, but sign-up is requested.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog