Feb. 27, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
– Georgia Tech ends its seven-game homestand with a weekend series against 2013 MAC Tournament champion Bowling Green. First pitch today is at 4 p.m., Saturday afternoon’s game begins at 2 p.m. and the series finale Sunday starts at 1 p.m..
After pushing over .500 by sweeping UNC Greensboro last weekend, Tech lost 5-3 in 12 innings to Kennesaw State on Tuesday afternoon. The Jackets twice rallied to tie the game in must-score situations, trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, then 3-2 in the bottom of the 11th, but they couldn’t push across the winning run in either inning and lost in the 12th. Freshman shortstop Elliott Barzilli went 3-for-5 and scored a run while fellow freshmen Brandon Gold and Keenan Innis each added two hits. Dusty Isaacs took the loss, allowing his first two runs of the season, both unearned. Five of the eight runs in the game were unearned.
Bowling Green’s midweek game at Dayton was cancelled due to sub-freezing temperatures. They last played last weekend at Murray State, losing two of three to the Racers. They took Friday’s opener, 5-3, jumping out to a 4-0 lead after two, then holding on, getting five shutout innings from the bullpen. The Falcons dropped Saturday’s game, 5-3, despite overcoming a 3-0 deficit, and out-hitting MSU, 12-10. Centerfielder Patrick Lancaster and first baseman Jeremy Shay each had three hits. In the finale, BGSU fell, 5-3, despite five innings of one-run, one-hit ball from pitcher Andrew Lacinak. A four-run seventh by Murray State proved decisive. The Falcons got 10 hits, two each from shortstop Brian Bien, first baseman T.J. Losby, left fielder Andrew Kubuski and right fielder Jesse Rait, but left 10 men on base.
This will be the first series between the Jackets and Falcons. The schools played four games, all at Rose Bowl Field between 1969 and ’74. The Jackets outscored the Falcons 15-13, but have lost three of the four games, all three by one run (6-5 in 11 on March 28, 1969, 2-1 on March 24, 1973, and March 23, 1974). The Jackets’ lone win was a 7-2 romp on May 20, 1971.
Jackets fans can hear every pitch on WREK 91.1 FM, with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers on the call. The game will also be streamed on RamblinWreck.com. Live stats are available on Gametracker, also on RamblinWreck.com.
Let’s play ball!
Friday: Jonathan King, LHP (1-0, 3.00) vs. Cody Apthorpe, RHP (1-1, 2.89), 4 p.m. ET
Saturday: Cole Pitts, RHP (0-0, 0.90) vs. Mike Frank, RHP (0-0, 3.00), 2 p.m. ET
Sunday: Josh Heddinger, RHP (1-1, 2.61) vs. Andrew Lacinak, LHP (0-0, 0.90), 1:00 p.m. ET
Bats Heating Up: The change in the weather appears to have suited Georgia Tech’s hitters. The Jackets have had at least 11 hits in each of their last four games (54 total) and have averaged 7.25 runs per game. That average was even higher prior to the loss to Kennesaw State, when Tech managed three runs, despite leaving 10 men on base. The Jackets had a total of six runs on 14 hits in the three games preceding last weekend’s bonanza.
Puer-Gold-Barz: Georgia Tech knew it was going to need production from freshmen and is getting it consistently, especially from the trio of outfielder Ryan Peurifoy, third baseman Brandon Gold and shortstop Elliott Barzilli. Gold is currently riding a five-game hitting streak, while Barzilli and Peurifoy bring four-game streaks into this weekend (the current- and season-high longest hitting streak is six games, which belongs to sophomore Matt Gonzalez). Together the trio has combined for seven multi-hit games (Barzilli, three, Gold and Peurifoy, two each) and each has a three-hit game — accounting for three of the team’s six three-hit efforts. Barzilli also made news on Opening Day, when he homered in his first college plate appearance, against Old Dominion. He leads the team in runs (7), slugging percentage (.636) and on-base percentage (.458), is second in hits (9) and is tied for second in RBIs (4). Defensively, he’s been flawless at short. Gold is right behind Barzilli in hits (8), and is second with four RBIs, and three doubles, with a .393 slugging percentage. He’s been a rock at third. Peurifoy is second on the team, hitting .412, with a robust .647 slugging percentage and a .400 OBP. His two stolen bases tie Gonzalez for the team lead.
Spin Control: Junior outfielder Daniel Spingola has been solid hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Yellow Jackets. He’s hitting .286 (6-for-21) when leading off and has reached via hit in five of those six games, with a pair of multi-hit games. If he’s not getting a hit, chances are he’s drawing a walk, as his four bases on balls tie for the team lead with freshmen Connor Justus and Brandon Gold. Spingola, who is second on the team with seven runs scored, has scored in four of the five games he’s led off and has driven in runs in three of those games. He’s currently fourth on the team in on-base percentage (.387) and is fifth in slugging (.407). Spingola is batting .333 (2-for-6) in the seventh spot, where he’s hit in the three games he hasn’t led off, giving him a .296 BA for the season.
Tech-nicalities: The fourth and eighth innings have been good ones for the Yellow Jackets so far in 2014. The Jackets have outscored the opposition 11-2 in the fourth, including the seven-run outburst last Sunday against UNCG, and have an 8-1 bulge in the eighth.
On Deck: Georgia Tech has a big week ahead, traveling to Athens on Tuesday for its first of three midweek against Georgia (first pitch at 7 p.m.), then opening its ACC schedule over the weekend, hosting Wake Forest. Bowling Green visits High Point, N.C., for a weekend series with the Panthers.
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