May 22, 2005
by Simit Shah
Jordan Crews has seen a lot in his four years at Georgia Tech, but the relief pitcher has never seen anything quite like this season during his time on The Flats.
The Jackets began their season by extending their ACC winning streak to a conference-record 25 games. A number of contests have featured late-inning dramatics, including key victories over Miami and Clemson.
The explosive offense has been the best in ACC all season, highlighted by a school-record eight game stretch in which they scored 10 or more run per game. The team has hit 65 home runs, including six grand slams. Last weekend’s three-game sweep of Virginia Tech was by a record-setting 48-3 margin.
“In all my years of playing baseball, there’s been more stuff this year like that than I’ve ever seen,” said the senior. “It’s been really exciting. Everyone is having fun.”
The Jackets have clinched the ACC regular season title for the second straight year and are the top seed in next week’s ACC Tournament in Jacksonville. The back-to-back regular-seasn titles are a first for Tech, which posted a 22-8 mark in ACC play, along with a 38-16 overall record.
The lone senior on the pitching staff, Crews has been right in the middle of a lot of the Jackets’ success this season. The righthander leads the team in appearances with 26, and he has allowed only three runs over the past 15.2 innings of work.
Last season, Crews led the team with a 1.48 ERA in 19 appearances after playing just 18 games during his first two years.
“There’s no question that he’s been one of our key guys,” said coach Danny Hall. “If you look at what he brings to that bullpen, he’s definitely someone we count on to get the job done.”
“We didn’t have a lot of guys with experience in starting roles, because we lost all our starters from last year,” Crews said. “That was the big question mark heading into this season. The first half, we threw alright, but I think we’ve really come on lately. That’s what is going to carry us into the postseason.”
With such a young team, postseason experience isn’t in plentiful supply, as Jeremy Slayden, Cameron Lane and Crews are the only three current players that were members of the 2002 team that made it to the College World Series in Omaha. Crews recognizes some of those same ingredients in this year’s squad.
“This team reminds me a lot of my freshman year, as far how the team has developed a lot of chemistry,” he stated. “I think this year, one of the question marks was our team being so young, but I think that’s been a positive for us. We have young guys that have a lot of energy. They haven’t been to Omaha or won ACC Championships, but they have that fire.”
A workhorse on the field, Crews has been just as busy off it. A fixture on the ACC Academic Honor Roll, he graduated several weeks ago with a degree in Management, graduating with highest honor.
“That was definitely the reason I came here,” he noted. “I looked at some other schools, but the deciding factor was the strong education.”
“He’s one of the better students we’ve had since I’ve been here,” added Hall. “He sets a very good example for all of our players with what he does off the field.”
Crews also got married last December. He met his wife Sarah, also a Tech graduate, at freshman orientation four years ago. His marital status has contributed to his reputation in the clubhouse as the elder statesman.
“All the guys give me a hard time,” he said, “but I think they know it was right for me. They see me as an older, more mature guy. It’s fun hearing all the jokes that they make. The stuff they are going through being 18 or 19 is a world of difference than being married.”
Crews’ best man was former Florida State all-American Stephen Drew, a first round draft pick of the Diamondbacks last summer. The two were best friends growing up in Valdosta, and Drew is engaged to Crews’ sister. Drew’s older brothers, Tim and J.D. were also first round draft picks, which has helped whet Crews’ appetite for playing professionally.
“I’d love to get drafted, but I’m not really thinking about that,” he said. “I went to the College World Series my freshman year, but I didn’t get to pitch. Going there was an awesome experience, so I just want to get back to Omaha and have a shot at the national championship.”