Georgia Tech baseball coach Danny Hall is taking nothing for granted.
Asked if he felt the Jackets had done enough to make a case for an NCAA tournament bid, Hall replied, “I’ll never say that until I hear our name picked on Monday” on the tournament selection show.
The Jackets are in a different boat at the ACC tournament than they typically are. Their 32-24 record is one loss better than Hall’s worst season, record-wise, at Tech (32-25 in 2007). Tech’s 12-18 ACC record is Hall’s first season under .500 in ACC play. Tech needed a win or a Virginia Tech loss on the final day of the regular season to avoid missing the ACC tournament for the first time in school history. (The Jackets got both.)
Injuries on a scale unprecedented to Hall have taken a sizable bite out of the Jackets.
Tech will be the No. 8 seed and is in a pool with Florida State, the top-ranked team in the country, Virginia (No. 17 in Baseball America) and Clemson (No. 24 in RPI). So, certainly, if the Jackets can accomplish anything in Greensboro, they’ll get the notice of the NCAA tournament selection committee. Tech’s RPI as of Tuesday was No. 22.
“It’s different, but for me, the past two years, we’ve kind of been the top to beat up going up there,” third baseman Sam Dove said. “Now, we don’t have much pressure. We just get to go up there and play.”
And, should they get in the NCAA field, it may be the case they might be more tournament ready than in seasons past.
“I think we’ve been on a major grind for several weeks here just trying to keep our head above water here in the league, so I think we’ve been used to playing with some pressure on us,” Hall said.
Tech will pitch ace Buck Farmer in the tournament opener Wednesday at 11 a.m. He said he was leaning towards pitching freshman Cole Pitts in the second game, against Virginia Friday at 11 a.m., and Jake Davies on Saturday at 11 a.m. against Clemson. The team with the best record in the four-team pool will advance to Sunday’s championship game.
“Pitching staff-wise, I think we’ve done about as much as we can possibly have imagined or done when you look at who we’ve lost,” Hall said. “I think we’re playing pretty good. Is it going to be good enough? We’re going to find out.”
All games will be televised (Fox Sports South in Atlanta) and streamed online on ESPN3. The NCAA tournament field will be announced Monday.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog