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Opponent Preview: Georgia Tech

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Meet the Yellow Jackets... Yet another Top 10 RPI opponent for the Wolfpack

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 01 Georgia at Georgia Tech Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Georgia Tech

Mascot: Flying A**holes | School Location: Scrip Club Capital, GA | Conference: ACC

2022 Record: 16-6 (4-2, T-3rd Coastal) | 2022 RPI Rank: 4

2021 Record: 31-25 (21-15, 1st Coastal) | 2021 RPI Rank: 42

2020 Record: 11-5 (2-1, T-2nd Coastal) | 2020 RPI Rank: 56


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Doak Field at Dail Park (Raleigh, NC)

Game Time(s): Fri, Mar 25 @ 6:30pm | Sat, Mar 26 @ 7:00pm | Sun, Mar 27 @ 1:00pm

TV: Friday (ACCNX), Saturday (ACC Network), Sunday (ACCNX)

Radio: GoPack.com (Friday | Saturday | Sunday) / WKNC 88.1

Live Stats: Sidearm Stats


Tell me about this team

And in steps yet another Top 5 opponent for the Wolfpack...

This Georgia Tech team can mash! From 1-to-8, they hit like beasts (the only reason that’s not 1-to-9 is because Jack DeLeo has been out for a month). There are at least six guys in that lineup who will be drafted this year, including a definite 1st rounder in catcher Kevin Parada and possibly college baseball’s most dynamic player in shortstop Chandler Simpson. As a team, they’re hitting .326/.430/544 (State is at .308/.392/.507 for reference), having topped double-digit runs in ten of 22 games played this year (State has done so in eight of 20 games).

The pitching is what is going to dictate the kind of season the Yellow Jackets have. The talent is there, but it’s whether or not the starters can maintain control well enough to work deep into games to limit the exposure of a bullpen that’s not overly deep, but does have some nice pieces to work with. As a team, they’ve tallied 220 strikeouts in 200.1 innings this year, which is fantastic, but they’re also averaging almost five walks issued per game and have surrendered 27 home runs.

That’s it. That’s the story and that’s the question: this team will hit and pound out runs by the bushel, but can they pitch well enough to take home some hardware?


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Friday: RHP Chance Huff (JR)

Saturday: RHP Zach Maxwell (SO)

Sunday: RHP Marquis Grissom, Jr. (SO)


Key Players:

Offense

SS Chandler Simpson (SO) - .468/.564/.565, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 24 R, 10 RBI, 13 BB, 6 K, 2 HBP, 10-13 SB. Atlanta native who is a transfer from UAB and is draft-eligible this year. Has missed the last six games, but is a complete difference maker when he’s on the field. His speed is plus-plus and he has a great approach at the plate that makes him even harder to get out.

C Kevin Parada (SO) - .394/.491/.713, 6 2B, 0 3B, 8 HR, 28 R, 31 RBI, 15 BB, 8 K, 3 HBP, 4-5 SB. Another 1st round catching talent out of the ACC. Entered the year as a bat-first prospect and a likely Top 10 pick this year, he’s shown an even more refined approach at the plate that could catapult him into the Top 5. His defense is the only blemish for him. He blocks well, but struggles to throw out runners and doesn’t frame exceptionally well.

LF Tres Gonzalez (SO) - .346/.476/.494, 6 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 28 R, 24 RBI, 19 BB, 9 K, 3 HBP, 4-5 SB. Really advanced hitter who can hit any pitch in any count and knows it, so you’ll see him work counts. Lefty hitter does everything well except hit a lot of homers. Has reached base safely in all 22 games this year, and has multiple hits in seven of the last nine.

2B/SS Tim Borden II (SO) - .350/.506/.650, 3 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 21 R, 17 RBI, 11 BB, 22 K, 10 HBP, 0-1 SB. Currently filling in at SS with Simpson out. Transfer from Louisville where he didn’t get many chances last year after shining in an abbreviated 2020 campaign. Better glove than bat, which is saying something given his production this year. Carries an 8-game hitting streak into this series.

1B Andrew Jenkins (SO) - .374/.444/.604, 6 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 29 R, 25 RBI, 9 BB, 25 K, 5 HBP, 0-1 SB. Had a huge week last week, going 8-for-17 with 4 HR. Stocky right-handed hitter who can crush the ball. Could shoot up draft boards if teams believe he can move to 3B in the pros.

3B Drew Compton (SO) - .306/.408/.577, 5 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 15 R, 23 RBI, 13 BB, 20 K, 3 HBP, 0-0 SB. Switch-hitting third-year player who burst on the scene last year with 13 homers. Was a highly regarded prep hitter but has slowly slid down draft boards, but his play at 3B this year may start bumping him back up.

Pitching

RHP Chance Huff (JR) - 2-1, 4.13 ERA, 28.1 IP, 20 H, 7 BB, 31 K. Huge (6’4, 220 lbs) transfer from Vanderbilt. Struggled big time with control coming into this year (35 BB and 14 HBP in 42.2 IP), but seems to have that worked out now. His last two outings haven’t been great, and he’s only reached 90 pitches in an outing once. Throws a low-90s sinking fastball, but his best pitch is his slider.

RHP Zach Maxwell (JR) - 1-0, 6.35 ERA, 17.0 IP, 15 H, 18 BB, 29 K. A damn offensive tackle out there at 6’6, 275 lbs. He can touch the upper 90s and even 100 with his heater, but works mostly in the mid-90s. His breaking ball plays up to that exceptionally well... when he can locate it. And that’s mostly the story with this guy. 75 BB and 18 WP in 63.1 IP in his career. He’ll be a high draft pick (see: fastball velo, size), but he’s a reliever that Tech is hoping will work out as a starter.

RHP Marquis Grissom, Jr. (JR) - 1-2, 4.24 ERA, 17.0 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 18 K. Athletic kid with a nice build, which you’d expect given who his dad is. Low-to-mid 90s fastball with an excellent change-up. Opinions on his breaking ball vary, but he’s not scared to use it in any count. The coaching staff is slowly working him up in terms of pitch count as he hit a season high 67 last weekend. Control can be an issue, and his desire to challenge hitters inside results in a decent number of HBPs.

LHP Cody Carwile (FR) - 2-0, 0 SV, 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 14 K. Tall, 6’4 lefty from the state of Florida with a frame and profile that screams “potential”. Not a big velo guy, he sits in the upper 80’s, but has exceptional control for a freshman. He throws all three pitches for strikes and really should switch roles with Maxwell.

RHP John Medich (rSR) - 1-0, 0 SV, 3.29 ERA, 13.2 IP, 11 H, 6 BB, 16 K. Former transfer from D3 Rhodes College in Tennessee. Struggled with his command last year which limited his opportunities and struggled again with it last weekend (5 BB, 1 HBP, 2.1 IP), but that was the first time all year that control reared its ugly head. He’s a fastball-slider guy who sits in the low 90s.

RHP Dawson Brown (SO) - 1-1, 3 SV, 6.57 ERA, 12.1 IP, 12 H, 10 BB, 10 K. GT’s closer this year - at least until they move Maxwell to the bullpen. Son of former MLB star Kevin Brown. Doesn’t have tall build or pinpoint command of his pops, but does pitch to contact the same way. He’s switched to being a sidearm guy but still brings the fastball in in the 90s. The sidearm approach really lets his slider play up.


Quick! Fun Facts!

Georgia Tech redshirt-junior LHP Sam Crawford is a Raleigh native who went to high school at St. David’s.

The Yellow Jackets have had 60 former players appear at the MLB level, including 4 in 2021 (C Joey Bart, SF; LHP Sam Clay, WAS; LHP Buck Farmer, DET; RF Charlie Blackmon, COL).

NC State trails the all-time series between the two schools, 59-78. Last year, GT swept State in Raleigh in the ACC opener for both squads, but the Wolfpack got revenge in the ACC Tournament semifinals by topping the Yellow Jackets, 8-1.


Prediction

This all depends on whether Sam Highfill can return to the rotation for State this weekend. If he starts, I see the Wolfpack taking two-of-three. If he doesn’t, I see the Yellow Jackets walking away with the series win.

Outcome: Sammy, my boy. You pitchin’ or what?