Georgia Tech Baseball: Jackets welcome Northwestern to town for three-game series

4 Mar 1998: A general view of a baseball laying in a glove on the grass during an Arizona Diamondbacks spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Hohkam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 9-8.
4 Mar 1998: A general view of a baseball laying in a glove on the grass during an Arizona Diamondbacks spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Hohkam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 9-8. /

The Georgia Tech baseball team will welcome the Northwestern Wildcats to town this weekend for a three-game series.

Georgia Tech will welcome Big Ten opponents, the Northwestern Wildcats to town on Friday afternoon to begin a three-game series. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a midweek home-and-home series sweep of the Georgia State Panthers and are looking to improve upon their 5-3 record.

Last weekend, the Yellow Jackets played the top five ranked UCLA Bruins in a three-game series. After taking game one of the series in exciting fashion, a walk-off home run by Kyle McCann, UCLA’s pitching staff dominated the last two games of the series and took the series.

This weekend, the Northwestern Wildcats will come to town looking to get above .500. The Wildcats enter the weekend with a 3-4 record on the season and are coming off a three-game series against the Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils took the first two games of the series including a 23-8 victory before the Wildcats won the last game of the series 5-3.

The Jackets, on the other hand, could push their record to 8-3 on the season with a series sweep but taking at least two out of three games in this series should be the goal this weekend. Here are our projected pitching matchups for this weekend’s series.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday – 4:00 pm: RHP Xzavion Curry (GT) vs RHP Hank Christie (UN)

Xzavion Curry will look for second win of the season as a follow-up performance to his stellar start last weekend against UCLA. Curry is off to a strong start this season, posting a 2.70 ERA through two games and 10 innings pitched. While his WHIP is currently above 1.00, Curry has been able to get himself out of trouble mostly thanks to strikeouts and keeping the ball out of the air.  So far he’s struck out 13 opposing hitters.

Christie himself is off to a tremendous start this season, as he enters this weekend with a 1.50 ERA while striking out 14 through 12 innings pitched. He’s allowed six hits and one walk in the process. He’s still looking for his first victory on the season, however, getting no-decisions in his first two starts. He’ll be a quality test for the Jackets bats that have wakened up in their last two games against Georgia State.

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Saturday – 2:00 pm: LHP Connor Thomas (GT) vs LHP Sam Lawrence (UN)

Connor Thomas will look to bounce back from a rough start against UCLA on Saturday. Last weekend, Thomas pitched five innings for the Jackets but gave up nine runs in the process on nine hits and a lone walk. Thoms pitched well in his first start against West Virginia, pitching seven innings and allowing three unearned runs. He rarely has bad back-to-back starts so expect him to bounce back well against the Wildcats.

Northwestern’s Sam Lawrence like Thomas is coming off a tough outing. Last weekend against Duke, Lawrence allowed six earned runs in just two innings of work. He did pitch well against BYU the weekend before, allowing no earned runs over five innings. Lawrence is coming off a rough 2018 that saw him post an ERA of 7.62 over 13 appearances but he does have the talent to be a strong pitcher, pitching his way to a sub-3.00 ERA in 2017. It will be interesting to see which Lawrence the Jackets will face on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday – 2:00 pm: LHP Brant Hurter (GT) vs LHP Quinn Lavelle (UN)

The tall and lengthy left-hander will most likely make his second start of the season on Sunday against Northwestern. Hurter, made his first start of the season last season against UCLA and pitched a solid game. In five innings of work, Hurter allowed just one earned run (two total) on six hits while striking out seven. He’ll enter Sunday’s game with a 1.50 ERA but has done so over just six innings pitched.

Another left-hander will take the mound for Northwestern as Cleveland, Ohio native Quinn Lavelle will take the mound for his third start of the season. Lavelle so far this season has made two starts, pitching his way to a 0.96 ERA over 9.1 innings pitched. Last weekend, he put together a strong outing against Duke, allowing just one earned run a day after the Blue Devils put up a 20+ spot on the Wildcats pitching staff. Sunday could shape up to be a great pitching duel based off these two pitchers last performances.

Players to Watch:

  • C Kyle McCann 

There was no other choice for us here as we expect a big weekend out of Kyle McCann. The junior backstop has so far played in all eight games for the Jackets and we expect him to play in each of this weekend’s three games. That being said, it would be smart of Danny Hall to relieve McCann of his catching duties in at least one of the games and put him at DH. The Jackets will need his bat and fresh legs as the season goes on. So far through eight games, McCann is off to a solid start, hitting .300 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI.

  • SS Jack Dunn

The Wildcats don’t have a ton of power bats, with just three home runs as a team this year but shortstop Jack Dunn is most likely their most dangerous weapon. The senior from Alpharetta, Georgia will surely have family in town to watch this weekend as he brings his .414 batting average to town. Dunn has only one extra-base hit so far this season but leads the Wildcats in RBI with 5.  Never count out a player, however, playing near their hometown.

First pitch between the Yellow Jackets and Wildcats is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.