June 30, 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 are doing in college summer leagues around the nation.
The Good Word is following the Jackets and reporting 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: Gonzalez got back in the swing, hitting a solid .294 for the week (5-for-17) with a pair of multi-hit games, a .368 on-base percentage and a hefty .588 slugging percentage, with a pair of doubles and a homer. “Gonzo” was involved in several key rallies along the way. On Tuesday, he drove in a key insurance run with a sixth-inning RBI double in the 4-1 win over Wareham. The next day he hit his first homer of the summer, a game-tying, third-inning shot, although the Mariners eventually fell, 7-5, to Orleans. Then, on Friday, he was central to Harwich jumping out to a 7-0 lead after two, as he singled and scored in the four-run first then added an RBI double and scored in the three-run second in the 10-4 rout of Chatham. Gonzalez entered the week looking to start new streaks as his four-game hitting and six-game RBI streaks both ended on Sunday. His eight RBIs are tied for the team lead, while his 13 hits rank fifth on the team.
A.J. Murray: Murray is a prime candidate for CCBL Player of the Week, as there was almost no way to get him out. He batted .462 (12-for-26), with multi-hit games in all five games Chatham played, and slugged .769, as four of his 12 hits went for extra bases — two doubles and two homers. A.J. was an RBI machine, driving in 10 runs, with at least one RBI in every game, while scoring four more. As expected, Murray was around several key rallies, as he had a two-run single in a three-run fourth, then hit an RBI double in a five-run eighth on Tuesday night as the Anglers overcame a 13-11 deficit to defeat Yarmouth-Dennis, 16-14. He provided almost all of Chatham’s runs with a three-run jack against Harwich in a 10-4 loss on Friday. But he saved his best for last, as he hit a walk-off homer in the 12th on Sunday to lift Chatham over Hyannis, 5-4.
Arden Pabst: The freshman catcher had a pair of hits and had his first multi-run game of the summer. His biggest game came on Tuesday, when he scored runs in back-to-back innings, in the Harbor Hawks’ 14-2 demolition of Cotuit. Pabst singled and scored as part of a six-run eighth, then reached via fielder’s choice in the ninth and again came around in the three-run ninth.
Even with a 2-3 week Harwich still leads the East with 22 points (11-6), good for a four-point lead. Chatham went 3-2, began the week on a run-scoring binge (29 in two games) then ended splitting one-run games. They lost two of three to end the week and at 8-8, sit in third, five points out of first and one out of second. In the West, Hyannis is coming off a 2-3 week, which saw the H-Hawks score a season-high 14 runs on Tuesday then 13 the rest of the week, during which they dropped three of four. They begin play this week with 20 points (10-7), two off the pace.
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 hit only .227 (5-for-22), but was around important rallies all week long as he scored four runs and drove in four others. On Wednesday, he scored the game-tying run in the sixth then the game-winner in the eighth in Harrisonburg’s 5-4 win over New Market. On Saturday, he drove in the tying run in the fourth inning in the 3-1 win over Waynesboro. But he ended the week with a bang, as on Sunday, as he went 2-for-5, with a two-run double in the seven-run eighth inning as the Turks scored 11 unanswered runs and rallied from 8-2 down after five innings to win, 13-8 win over the Woodstock River Bandits. Adding to the wildness on Sunday, Brandon finished the game, throwing a scoreless ninth inning. He allowed two hits, but added another strikeout in keeping his ERA at 0.00. He has thrown 28 of his 44 pitches for strikes in his two appearances.
Ben Parr: The freshman righty took a hit statistically in his one outing last week, but will gladly take his result — an improbable no-decision — and the team’s result — an even more improbable win. Parr started Sunday’s wild 13-8 win over Woodstock, but was hit hard, allowing five runs (four earned) and five hits in 2 2/3 innings. It was his shortest appearance of the summer and the first time he did not strike out at least one hitter. His ERA went up to 5.65 from 3.86, and his opposing batting average rose to .283 from .255, but the Turks also are 3-0 in his starts.
Tanner Shelton: The hard-throwing freshman righty was superb in two appearances covering 5.0 innings, allowing only one run and six hits, striking out four while walking one. On Monday, Shelton came in with runners on second and third and nobody out and retired the side in order in a 6-1 Turks victory. The next night, he threw 4.0 innings of relief, allowing only one earned run — on singles to the first three hitters he saw — then put up goose eggs the rest of the way. The double play was certainly his best friend, as he induced one in the seventh, eighth and ninth. He heads into the week with a 4.22 ERA, down more than two runs from where he started the week, and is in the black in strikeouts-to-walks ratio (11Ks vs. 7 BBs).
Thomas Smith: Smith heated back up, hitting .318 (7-for-22), with four RBIs and three runs scored. He finished the week on a three-game hitting streak and has now hit in six of the last seven games, with a pair of multi-hit games, during which he’s hitting .320. The hot streak has pushed Smitty’s summer batting average to .270. One of his best games came in the 13-8 victory, as he singled twice and scored once in the decisive eight-run seventh inning.
The Turks are 16-7, in second place, a scant half-game out of first, following a 5-1 week, and headed into the week on a four-game winning streak for the second straight week. Three of their games were decided by two-or-fewer runs and the Turks won all three to raise their record to 8-2 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 deserved a better fate in his lone appearance, last week, as he got no decision on Saturday against Florence, a 5-4 10-inning loss. Gorst went a summer-high seven innings, allowing three runs, only one of them earned, scattering 10 hits, striking out seven while walking only one. He lowered his ERA to 2.65, and improved his strikeouts-to-walks ratio to nearly 3:1 (18 K’s vs. 7 BBs). His opponents’ batting average is at .323.
Connor Justus: The freshman shortstop went 1-for-8 at the plate in three games, but was on base constantly, reaching base via walk four other times and raising his on-base percentage to .245. Defensively, Justus uncharacteristically committed errors in back-to-back games, his first two miscues of the summer.
Matt Phillips: The freshman right-hander did a tremendous job in his one relief appearance on Friday. Phillips threw four innings allowing only one unearned run, surrendering only five hits, allowing the Copperheads to nearly come back from a 5-0 deficit in a game they’d lose, 6-5. Phillips retired seven of the final eight hitters he faced in lowering his ERA for the summer to 2.25 (2 earned runs in 8.0 innings) and opponents’ batting average to .226.
Ben Schniederjans: The freshman righty did not pitch last week. Schniederjans heads into the week with a 4.00 ERA, with a .254 opponents batting average. He’s pitched 18.0 innings, third-most on the team and has one of the team’s three complete games.
Asheboro went 2-3 last week, having scored eight runs in each of their wins win and 12 total in their three losses. For the second straight week, the Copperheads finished the week on a three-game losing streak and are 12-15, tied for fourth place in the West. Columbia had a tough week, going 0-2 and allowing 22 runs. They start the week 9-18, in seventh place in the West.
Zac Ryan, RHP, Battle Creek Bombers
Zac Ryan: The freshman righty had an adventurous outing in his one appearance, getting a win and allowing only one run and four hits over four innings. Ryan pitched the final four innings of Battle Creek’s 2-1, 10-inning win over Kenosha, striking out three, walking two and maneuvering in and out of jams in just about all of them to preserve the tie. He pitched out of a first-and-second, two-out jam in the ninth, then a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the 10th. The outing lowered his ERA to 4.63 and opposing batting average to .179.
The Bombers went 4-3 for the week, including their most lopsided win of the year, a 15-1 rout of La Crosse on Saturday, to finish the first half 15-19, 10 ½ games back in the South Division.
Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League
Grant Wruble, C, Southern Ohio Copperheads
Grant Wruble: The junior catcher had a difficult week at the plate, getting one hit in 16 trips to the plate (.167) but did have two RBIs. The one hit was an RBI single in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s second game against Licking County, a 4-2 loss. Wruble begins the week hitting .238, with a .360 on-base percentage and a .622 OPS. He’s still tied for the team-lead with seven walks and his six RBIs, are tied for fourth on the team.
The Copperheads went 3-2 and begin the week 9-9, in fourth place, but only 2 ½ games behind the first-place Cincinnati Stream.
Sunbelt Baseball League
Syd Hopkins, RHP, Prospect Braves
Kyle Leach, RHP, Gwinnett Tides
Ryan Peurifoy, OF, Home Plate Chukars
Joe Wiseman, RHP, Windward Braves
Syd Hopkins: Pitching for the Prospect Braves in the four-team Sunbelt Prospects Division, the freshman has had a superb summer in four appearances (three starts). Despite an 0-1 record, Hopkins is pitching to a Division-best 1.35 ERA (two earned runs in 13 1/3 innings) and holding opponents to a .217 batting average (seventh). He’s allowed 10 hits. In his first two starts Syd pitched 10 innings allowing three runs (only one earned), but received three total runs of support. He took a loss in his last outing, on Wednesday, only lasting 1/3 of an inning, allowing one run on two hits.
Kyle Leach: The junior right-hander had a good week allowing one run but no hits striking out two and walking two in two very different appearances (covering 1 1/3 innings), both against Home Plate. On Thursday, Leach got his first win of the summer and really earned it. He came into the game in the bottom of the eighth, with the score 2-2, the bases loaded and nobody out. He proceeded to induce a 5-2-3 double play, then, after a walk to reload the bases, got a strikeout to end the inning. He’d get the win when Gwinnett scored three times in the top of the ninth. On Saturday, this time pitching the ninth with a 3-1 lead, he faced two hitters, striking out one then walking the other before being relieved. The walk would come around to score but the Tides still won, 3-2. His ERA dropped slightly to 7.20 (he had been at 7.36 at the start of the week), with his opposing batting average dipping to .294 from .357.
Ryan Peurifoy: The freshman outfielder had another strong week, batting .273 (3-for-11) in the three games he played, but saw his consecutive games hitting streak end at 11 in the second game Friday. His first hit on Wednesday was a big one, a walk-off RBI double in the eighth inning, plating the only run of Home Plate’s 1-0 win over the East Cobb Patriots. He went 0-for-4 in the second game, his first of the summer in which he did not get a hit or at least reach base. Peurifoy got back on track on Thursday, going 2-for-4, with a pair of singles, including one as part of a rally in the first inning against Gwinnett. He’d reach three times (once on a dropped third strike). Ryan’s .358 average leads the team, while his .434 slugging percentage ranks fourth. He’s tied for the team lead with 19 hits, and is second on the team with eight RBIs. Defensively, he still is perfect and leads the team with five outfield assists.
Joe Wiseman: The sophomore righty reliever had a mixed week, not all of his making. On Monday, he threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning at the Atlanta Crackers, lowering his ERA to a summer-low 3.18. Seven of his eight pitches went for strikes. On Sunday, he walked the only batter he faced in the top of the ninth against Brookhaven, with a 9-6 lead. That runner would come around to score, pushing his ERA up to a summer high 4.77. Wiseman (0-1) has allowed five runs in his five appearances, covering 5 2/3 innings, but only three of the runs have been earned and he’s had superb control, as he’s walked only two hitters while whiffing seven.
Gwinnett had a good week, going a perfect 3-0 — twice beating Home Plate — allowing two runs in each of the three games. The 8-7 Tides remain in third place in the East, 2.0 games out of second and 3.0 out of first. Windward is 4.0 games back of Gwinnett, at 4-11, coming off a tough 1-3 week, although they finished on a good note, beating Gwinnett, 3-2, on Saturday. Home Plate went 1-3, with a pair of one-run defeats, during the week and, at 5-11, remains in fourth place in the West, five games out.
The Prospect Braves are coming off a 1-3 week and begin the week at 5-8, fourth in a tight four-team race, but are only 3 ½ games out of first.
California Collegiate League
Elliott Barzilli, IF, Los Angeles Brewers
Elliott Barzilli: The freshman infielder is wielding a sizzling stick, hitting .405 in 13 games (15-for-37), with a pair of triples and three RBIs. Barzilli has a .463 on-base percentage and a .977 OPS. He’s hit superbly in the clutch, batting .357 with runners in scoring position (5-for-14). Defensively, he’s been solid, fielding .972, with one error in 35 chances, helping turn six double plays.
The Brewers began the week on a four-game winning streak and a 9-4 record, best in the CCL South by two games over the Southern California Catch.
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