June 16, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
It’s never too early to start working toward 2015 and that’s exactly what 19 players on the Georgia Tech Baseball team will be doing over the next couple of months, as theare playing in college summer leagues around the nation.
The Good Word will follow the Jackets and report throughout the summer with a weekly review.
Here’s a recap on each of the leagues in which the Jackets are participating.
Cape Cod Baseball League
Matt Gonzalez, IF/OF, Harwich Mariners; A.J. Murray, 1B/DH, Chatham Anglers; Arden Pabst, C, Hyannis Harbor Hawks
Matt Gonzalez: After hitting in each of his first three games, Gonzalez went hitless over the weekend against Hyannis. He’s hitting .158 (3-for-19) in the early going but played a key role in a six-run fourth-inning outburst that broke open the Mariners’ 10-0 win over Brewster, smacking an RBI single and later coming around to score. “Gonzo,” who was among the nation’s leaders in outfield assists, has moved back to the infield, splitting time at third and short. He’s fielding .900, with one error in 10 chances — the error coming at third.
A.J. Murray: Murray hit in each of his first four games before going hitless in his final game of the week, the second game of Sunday’s twin-bill. Overall, he’s hitting .250 (4-for-16), with a double and two runs scored. Most impressive thus far has been Murray’s ability to put the ball in play, as he’s struck out only one time in his first 16 at-bats. Defensively he’s been solid at first base, making but one error and fielding at a .978 rate in his five games there.
Arden Pabst: The freshman catcher has seen action in two of Hyannis’ first four games, which they’ve split, including a matchup against Gonzalez and Harwich. Pabst is still looking for his first hit (although he’s only been up four times), but has a .333 on-base percentage and has scored a run.
Harwich has started 4-1, outscoring their opponents 29-6 and lead the East Division. Chatham scored 10 runs in winning opening day, but scored only four runs in its ensuing four games, losing them all. The Anglers are 1-4, tied for fourth in the East. Hyannis began the summer 3-0 before dropping its first game, the second game on Sunday against Harwich, 5-2. The Harbor Hawks are second in the West behind the 4-1 Bourne Braves.
Brandon Gold, 3B, Harrisonburg Turks
Ben Parr, LHP, Harrisonburg Turks
Tanner Shelton, LHP, Harrisonburg Turks
Thomas Smith, 1B, Harrisonburg Turks
Brandon Gold: The freshman’ third baseman has hit in five of his last six games and brings a three-game hitting streak into the week. Gold’s hitting .240 overall, with a .345 on-base percentage. On Sunday, he had an RBI single in the two-run sixth that tied the game with Waynesboro. It was his third RBI of the summer and his first in five games. More important, he got Jackets teammate Ben Parr off the hook for the loss. Harrisonburg eventually won the game, 7-6. Defensively, Gold has been flawless in his seven games.
Ben Parr: The freshman lefty didn’t get a decision in his first appearance, on Sunday, allowing four runs (three earned) in 4 2/3 innings. Parr cruised through the first four innings, shutting out Waynesboro on three hits, before allowing four runs on four hits in the fifth. He struck out one and walked two, throwing 78 pitches, 45 for strikes.
Tanner Shelton: The hard-throwing freshman lefty has pitched to a 1.93 ERA (one earned run — four overall — in 4 2/3 innings) and five hits in three appearances. He’s pounded the strike zone of late, striking out five while walking only two his last two times out, covering 4.0 innings. Shelton walked three batters in 2/3s of an inning in his first appearance. His last time out he threw 3.0 innings, allowing three runs but only one earned and four hits, striking out three and walking one in a 10-0 loss at New Market.
Thomas Smith: Smith is wielding a hot bat heading into the week. After going 1-for-9 over his first four games, “Smitty” hit .333 over his last three (5-for-15), with a three-hit game on Friday and a two-hit game on Sunday. In Friday’s wild 4-3, 13-inning win over Strasburg, he hit a game-tying two-run double in the seventh, then doubled again with one out in the 13th, coming around to score the winning run. On Sunday, he singled to ignite a game-tying, two-run, sixth-inning rally, then, in the seventh, belted a ground-rule double as part of a go-ahead, two-run rally. Smith, who manned first base for Tech in 2014, is playing second and is fielding at a .973 clip, having made one error in 36 chances.
The Turks are 7-5, tied for third, three games behind Waynesboro, and head into the week on a three-game winning streak, winning all three games by one run. They are 5-1 in one-run games.
Coastal Plain League
Matthew Gorst, RHP, Asheboro Copperheads
Connor Justus, SS, Asheboro Copperheads
Matt Phillips, RHP, Asheboro Copperheads; Ben Schniederjans, RHP, Columbia Blowfish
Matthew Gorst: The freshman righty took a hard-luck loss in his first start of the summer Wednesday night, as Asheboro fell to Forest City, 3-0. The game stopped in the sixth inning due to stormy weather. Gorst went five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out seven, while walking three. The Copperheads had runners at the corners and two outs in the sixth, when the game was delayed and eventually called. After the second-inning, in which he allowed both runs on two hits, with a walk, Gorst settled down, retiring 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced, including seven in a row at one point, and he did not allow a hit after a one-out single in the second.
Connor Justus: The freshman shortstop had a tough week at the plate, hitting .118 (2-for-17) but still found himself involved in several important rallies. Last Monday, facing teammate Ben Schneiderjans, he walked and scored the first, and tying run in a two-run second inning, as Asheboro beat Columbia, 3-1. On Friday, his eighth-inning infield hit drove in an insurance run in a 9-5 win over the Blowfish. Then, on Saturday, he scored the game-tying run in the fourth inning and laid down a big sacrifice bunt in the three-run seventh against Martinsville in the Copperheads’ 8-4 win. Defensively, Justus continues to shine at short, perfectly taking in all 22 chances.
Matt Phillips: The freshman right-hander did not pitch this week. He’s made one appearance thus far, taking the loss in relief on June 7, in a 4-3 loss to Florence. Phillips threw 1 2/3 innings
allowing a pair of earned runs, on one hit and a walk. He also threw a wild pitch. After getting out of a seventh-inning, first-and-third, one-out jam, to preserve the lead for starter Brandon Warren, he ran into trouble with two out in the eighth, as a walk then an error preceded a decisive two-run homer.
Ben Schniederjans: The freshman righty made his first two starts during a busy week. He lost both outings but pitched well in both. Last Monday, he made his first appearance of the summer, allowing only two earned runs in 4.0 innings in a 3-1 loss at Asheville, in a five-inning game, shortened by the weather. He allowed two runs, four hits, striking out two, walking two but also throwing two wild pitches. A walk and a wild pitch to Jackets teammate Connor Justus led to the first run of the two-run second. A two-out double brought in the other run. Schniederjans allowed only two hits the rest of the way, and even got even with Justus, striking him out in the third. Ben made his second appearance on Saturday, at Gastonia. A last-minute starter, he went seven innings, allowing five runs (all earned) and nine hits, striking out four and walking one. His control was something of an issue, as he hit three batters. Schneiderjans is pitching to a 5.73 ERA in his two appearances.
Asheboro went 3-3 last week, but are a two-game winning streak. The Copperheads are 9-8, tied for third in the West. Columbia had a tough week, going 1-5 and losing their final four games of the week, three of them by two-or-fewer runs. They start the week 6-11, in seventh place in the West.
Zac Ryan, RHP, Battle Creek Bombers
Zac Ryan: The freshman righty was a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities, including a five-out save on Thursday at LaCrosse. Ryan did not give up a hit and allowed only one batter to reach (via walk) on Tuesday. He didn’t allow a baserunner in his other two appearances. Six of the 11 outs Zac recorded came via the strikeout and he threw 34 of his 46 pitches for strikes, including all six in his save Sunday at Wisconsin Rapids.
The Bombers went 4-3 for the week and are in a three-way tie for sixth in the South Division, but sit only 3 ½ games out of first.
Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Grant Wruble, C, Southern Ohio Copperheads
Grant Wruble: The junior catcher got off to a great start, hitting in four of the five games he played last week, at a sizzling .400 average (6-for-15), second-best on the team, driving in four runs, and walking five times while striking out just once. After going 2-for-3 on Monday, his two-run double accounted for all of Southern Ohio’s scoring in their 2-1 victory over the Lima Locos. On Friday, he walked twice, scoring both times in the 12-2 rout of the Xenia Scouts. He followed that up on Saturday with his second two-hit game of the week. He had an RBI single in the seventh, then singled and scored in the ninth, but the Copperheads came up short, 8-5.
The Copperheads broke even, going 3-3 for the week. They sit at 3-5, in seventh place, four games back of first-place Hamilton.
Sunbelt Baseball League
Kyle Leach, RHP, Gwinnett Tides
Ryan Peurifoy, OF, Home Plate Chukars
Kyle Leach: The junior right-hander continued frustrating opposing hitters in two appearances last week. After recording a save his first time out on June 7, Leach threw 3.0 scoreless innings in two appearances, both at Brookhaven. He allowed one hit in each game but also chalked up two strikeouts. In his three appearances thus far, covering 3 1/3 innings, Leach is holding opposing hitters to a .167 batting average.
Ryan Peurifoy: The freshman outfielder continues to tear the cover off the ball. He hit .350 for the week (7-for-20), and had a pair of multi-hit games, his fourth of the summer. He had at least one hit in all five games he played last week and has a hit in all eight of Home Plate’s games. On Monday, he singled twice and reached three times, scoring in both of the Chukars’ three-run innings in their 7-6 loss. In Saturday’s first game, he singled in both the sixth and seventh innings, as Home Plate nearly rallied from a 7-1 deficit, before again losing 7-6. In the nightcap, he had a two-run single in the five-run second in the Chukars’ wild 13-10 victory. His .382 batting average and .471 slugging percentage rank third on the team, he’s also third on the team with 13 hits and is tied for second on the team with seven RBIs. He leads the team with 6.667 runs created. Defensively, he’s perfect in the field and has two outfield assists (second amongst team outfielders).
It was low-tide for Gwinnett this week, as the Tides went 0-4, getting outscored 31-6. The 3-5 Tides are in third place in the East, one game out of second and 3 ½ out of first. Home Plate went 2-3 during the week, dropping two of three one-run games they played, and at 4-5, sits in second place in the West, also 3 ½ games out.
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