The Georgia Tech baseball team has one of it’s most important series of the season this weekend with some Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.
The Georgia Tech baseball team has started their 2020 season off on the right foot, sitting at 7-1, heading into a major out of conference series this weekend as there will be some Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate with the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a midweek drubbing of the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs, taking down the mid-major program 14-1 and are winners of four-straight. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are 8-1 on the season and recently beat Kennesaw State 15-1 after taking two of three from the Santa Clara Broncos. They enter this weekend as the country’s No.4 team according to D1Baseball.com.
Last season when the two in-state rivals met, the Yellow Jackets took two of three matchups, winning at home and at SunTrust Park. While in the past the three games would be spread out throughout the season, this year, the two will meet up over the course of one weekend.
On Friday night, the Yellow Jackets will travel to Athens to start the series at 5:00 p.m. before the two programs make the trip to Atlanta for game two on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. when they travel to Lawrenceville to finish the series at Coolray Field.
According to Georgia’s game notes for the weekend, these will be the pitching matchups.
LHP C.J. Smith (0-0, 3.12 ERA) vs RHP Zach Maxwell (1-0, 1.00 ERA)
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The Yellow Jackets this weekend will certainly have their hands full as Georgia is one of the most talented teams in the nation. The Bulldogs have the nation’s top MLB Draft prospect in Emmerson Hancock but also have a few players up and down their lineup that will make the transition to pro ball once they’re done in Athens.
One of those players is redshirt junior outfielder Tucker Bradley. Bradley is killing opposing pitching this year as he’s hitting .485/.585/.909 with four home runs and 13 RBI already this season. Redshirt sophomore Ben Anderson is also off to a great start in 2020 for the Bulldogs, hitting .423/568/.615 with four extra base hits and seven RBI. Both Bradley and Anderson this year have also walked more than they have struckout.
While Bradley and Anderson are just two players we pointed out, the entire Bulldogs lineup is dangerous with a team batting average of .284 including five players who are hitting above .300 this season. As a team they’re also wearing an on-base percentage over .400. It’s safe to say that there is really no easy out in this lineup and this will be one of the deepest lineups the Jackets face all season.
Comparatively, through eight games the Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs are very similar across the board. They’ve both averaging between 7.5-8.0 runs per game, they’re power numbers are close with 13 home runs (Georgia) to 10 home runs (Georgia Tech) while even the batting averages are close as the Yellow Jackets come in to the series with a .299 average.
One big difference that will keep Georgia Tech’s pitching staff and catcher Jake Holland on their toes is stolen bases. The Bulldogs have not been afraid to run at all this year, already attempting 19 stolen bases and succeeding in 18 of those tries. Tucker Bradley currently leads the Bulldogs in that category with five.
However, the biggest difference comes in not the stat categories but overall. Unlike the Yellow Jackets who have multiple freshmen in their starting lineup every game, the Bulldogs boast a lineup full of “veteran presence”. The Bulldogs probable lineup according to their game notes for the weekend, doesn’t have one freshmen in the starting lineup and has just one freshmen on their “potential other starters”. In a rivalry game where emotions could run high, it will be interesting to see if the Yellow Jackets can keep their emotions in check against a Georgia team that has much more experience in these situations.
Overall, this weekend should be a competitive series between the two in-state rivals. With the Jackets taking the season series last year, the Bulldogs will be looking for revenge. Both teams should be playing for NCAA Tournament spots throughout the rest of the season with high expectations surrounding both programs.
The Yellow Jackets probably are the underdog in the series right now but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Jackets take two of three in the series either. In a year where the Yellow Jackets might be more of a bubble team to make a regional this upcoming May, series against teams like Georgia often prove pivotal. It will be a good early season measuring stick series for the Jackets.
Fans can watch this weekend’s affairs against Georgia on SEC Network + on Friday evening and ACC Network + on Saturday afternoon.