The Georgia Tech baseball team takes on the North Carolina Tar Heels in a three-game weekend series, starting Friday.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will look to build a winning streak this weekend as the face ACC foe, 9th ranked North Carolina (13-4, 2-1) in a three-game weekend series starting Friday. The Yellow Jackets enter Saturday’s three-game set against North Carolina after defeating 12th ranked Oklahoma 2-0 on Tuesday.
While still early in the season, the three-game set could be important for the Yellow Jackets down the road this season.
The Jackets will once again, have their handfuls this weekend after facing a strong pitching performance out of Oklahoma on Tuesday. Entering the weekend series, all three of North Carolina’s probable pitchers have ERAs of 3.20 or less.
Now let’s take a quick look at the three pitching matchups for this weekend’s series. Pitching matchups are courtesy of Georgia Tech’s game notes.
Friday: RHP Xavion Curry (3-1, 3.60 ERA) vs RHP J.B. Bukauskas (2-0 , 0.69 ERA)
The freshman ace for the Yellow Jackets struggled for the first time this season last Friday, allowing eight runs (five earned) over four innings pitched. The loss to Miami last Friday gave Curry his first career loss and jacked up his ERA to 3.60. So far this season, Curry has been around the plate, for the most part, walking just seven batters in his 20 innings.
North Carolina is a strong hitting team so Curry will have to battle in his second career ACC start. Curry’s performance on Friday, could be a benchmark of where the freshman is in his development and what to expect this season going forward.
Georgia Tech will be facing one of the best pitchers in the nation in J.B Bukauskas. The expected top ten draft pick in this June’s MLB Draft, is 2-0 on the season and has an ERA of 0.69 through 26 innings this season. Last time out against Virginia, Bukauskas pitched six innings allowing just one run while striking out seven.
The junior right-hander has been a strikeout machine through his first four starts, striking out 10, 11, 9, and 7 respectively. When it comes to allowing free passes, he’s allowed just five walks. With a strikeout to walk ratio of 7.4, Bukauskas will not give the Jackets much to work with on Friday.
Saturday: RHP Jonathan Hughes (1-0, 3.38 ERA) vs RHP Luca Dalatari (2-2, 2.76 ERA)
The former second-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles didn’t have his best start last weekend against Miami allowing three earned runs over four innings. Allowing three runs over his first three starts, Hughes will look to get back on track on Saturday. From a health standpoint, Hughes should see five innings if all goes well for the Flowery Branch native.
Hughes has the ability to take over a game if he gets rolling but that won’t be easy against North Carolina. That being said, North Carolina has struggled at times this year to score runs, scoring four runs or less six times through 17 games.
North Carolina will be throwing one of their own freshman pitchers into the heat on Saturday in Luca Dalatari. So far this season Dalatari has been tremendous which already earned him an ACC Pitcher of the Week award this season.
After starting the season 2-0 with strong starts against Kentucky and Radford, pitching seven and eight innings respectively, Dalatari has taken two straight losses. The unfortunate part for the freshman is his last two starts have potentially been his best, considering the teams he faced. Two weeks ago, the freshman pitched six innings against Long Beach State allowing just three runs. Last week, he followed up that performance with allowing just one earned run against Virginia over the course of eight and a third innings pitched.
It seems Dalatari is just beginning to heat up on the mound which could spell bad news for the Jackets. A future ace for the Tar Heels, Dalatari could be giving the Jackets nightmares on Saturday
Sunday: TBA vs RHP Jason Morgan (2-0, 3.20 ERA)
Head coach Danny Hall has yet to announce who will start for the Jackets for Sunday’s afternoon affair. RHP Keyton Gibson started the first three Sunday games for the Yellow Jackets, going 1-2 while allowing 12 runs over seven and third innings pitched. Last weekend against Miami right-hander Jake Lee got his first start of the season but didn’t fair much better than Gibson. In less than three innings, Lee allowed seven runs in what ended up a 17-7 loss to the Hurricanes.
For now, it’s unknown who will go for the Yellow Jackets. While both Gibson and Lee could be options for the Yellow Jackets, Danny Hall may choose to look outside the box. If he chooses to do so, some names to watch for are right-handers Micah Carpenter, Burton Dulaney, and Andy Archer.
The junior right-hander will be on the mound in the third game of the series for North Carolina. Like Dalatari, Morgan started off the season with two straight victories, allowing three runs over 11.1 innings pitched combined against Kentucky and Radford. In his last two starts aginst Long Beach State and Virginia, the junior has collected two straight no-decisions.
So far this season, Morgan hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a single game. Not a power pitcher just striking out six over his last two starts. That being said, Morgan does have the ability to control a game and keep opposing teams off the board.