Yellow Jacket Softball is at a crucial turning point in their season. After getting swept by Florida St over the weekend the Jackets find themselves in a 5 game losing streak with a midweek game against the best team on their schedule in Georgia on Wednesday and the meat of their ACC coastal schedule right after.
Over the weekend the Yellow Jackets got a glimpse of the level of play needed to be at top of the ACC. Even though Friday’s game was very lopsided all the way through, Saturday and Sunday have valuable takeaways for a young Tech squad.
On Saturday Emily Anderson pitched pretty well only giving up 3 earned runs to a very good Seminole offense, and the Yellow Jacket bats put runners in place to score game winning runs but just couldn’t get situational hitting. The Jackets were plagued by strike outs, especially with runners in scoring position.
On Sunday for the first time all weekend the Jackets had a lead. They took a 3-1 lead into the sixth but then a combination of good hitting, loss of pitch command, and shaky defense let Seminoles score 9 runs and win in run rule fashion. The team is going to watch these games and see the times when they played a good enough level to win, and try to produce that consistently.
Four of the final five ACC series on the Jackets’ schedule are in coastal division games. The most important conference series now that the conference is broken into divisions. But before the Jackets can get started with that they have to deal with in state rival, Georgia. Georgia is ranked 6 in the country and brings in a record of 32-4. They are coming off a series win at Tennessee. Georgia is the first team to ever run rule Tennessee in back to back games in Knoxville.
The Bulldogs pitching staff held one of the best offenses in the country to just 2 runs in 3 games, The Bulldogs pitching staff may be one of the deepest staffs in the country. They have 6 players on their roster listed as a pitcher. All those pitchers have at least 1 appearance this season.
However, Brittany Gray and Kylie Bass are their two main starters. Gray has yet to lose a game this season and has an ERA of 0.47. Bass is 10-1 with an ERA of 1.41. Although there is plenty of danger in their lineup the Bulldogs offense really starts and ends with Cortni Emanuel who leads the team in hits and has 31 stolen bases on the year. Keeping her off the bases will be the Jackets first priority.
This is an important game for Tech that goes beyond the bragging rights in the rivalry. This game will be the difference of the Jackets carrying a 6 game losing streak into the heart of their ACC schedule, and then bringing a ton of momentum into the weekend. Am I saying a loss to Georgia means the Jackets can’t win the coastal? No. But what I am saying is the moral and confidence of the team going into their most important stretch of the season greatly depends on the outcome of this game.
Georgia Tech hosts Georgia Wednesday night with a 7:00 first pitch.