Georgia Tech pitcher Cole Pitts will get the start Friday in the Jackets’ opening NCAA tournament game against College of Charleston in Gainesville, Fla. Coach Danny Hall will hold back staff ace Buck Farmer on the reasoning that Tech will almost certainly have to beat Florida, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, to get out of the four-team, double-elimination regional, and he wanted to save Farmer for the Gators.
“If things work out the way I think they might work out, I think that we’re going to need Buck to beat Florida,” Hall said.
Either decision is a calculated risk. Starting Farmer, a two-time All-ACC pick who has a 9-3 record with a 3.43 ERA, against College of Charleston gives the Jackets a better chance of winning that game and moving into the winner’s bracket, but then gives Tech a lesser chance against Florida. Starting Pitts against College of Charleston increases the risk of losing and falling into the loser’s bracket. Hall said the coaching staff had a “pretty heated debate” on the matter before Hall made his choice.
“Your whole goal is not just to have a good showing,” he said. “Your goal is to win the tournament.”
Hall said that, before telling the team, he spoke with strength coach Steve Tamborra, who typically has a good read on the team.
“[Tamborra] goes, ‘The players have already talked about it. They want to pitch Pitts on Friday,’” Hall said. “I said, ‘Well, I guess I made the right decision.’”
Pitts, a freshman, has been in good form of late. In his last four starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.97 ERA. He has given up 23 hits over 21 2/3 innings, 21 of them singles.
“We’re counting on him to pitch well in this game against College of Charleston and then we’ll proceed from there,” he said.
Jake Davies and Josh Heddinger are options in third and fourth games, should Tech advance past the first two games. Hall said he would want Davies, a lefty, to pitch against Florida, which has a lineup heavy with left-handed hitters.
Pitts could face the Cougars’ Christian Powell, the pitcher of the year in the Southern Conference who is reportedly projected to be selected in the fifth or sixth round of the major league draft next week.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog