Georgia Tech’s road to its defense of its ACC baseball championship is set. The Yellow Jackets will begin, as they did last year, against Florida State at Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Tech is the No. 7 seed and will be in a four-team pool with FSU (No. 2), Virginia (No. 3) and Virginia Tech (No. 6). Tech will play the Cavaliers Thursday at 11 a.m. and the Hokies Friday at 3 p.m. All games will be broadcast on regional sports networks (Fox Sports South in Atlanta) and ESPN3.
The other pool has No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 N.C. State, No. 5 Clemson and No. 8 Miami.
What are Tech’s chances of making it to the championship to have a chance at its ninth ACC title?
This past weekend series illustrated again it’s entirely possible but hardly anything to expect. Tech dropped two of three against Miami. Ace Buck Farmer got roughed up in the opener, an 8-3 loss, then Dusty Isaacs took his turn in the second game with eight runs (seven earned) in the first 1 1/3 innings en route to an 11-7 loss.
On Saturday, freshman Jonathan King shut out the Hurricanes over six innings in his second ACC start as the Jackets won 10-1. Shortstop Mott Hyde hit his fifth home run in the past 20 games. Tech gave Miami starter Bryan Radziewski, who had a 1.26 ERA going into the game, his first loss since March.
It will take three wins, or possibly even the right two, to get into the final. Farmer can win one game and has shown a knack for meeting the challenge in big games, though he’s encountered some turbulence at the end of his career.
In his last five starts, he has thrown 32 1/3 innings with 20 earned runs for a 5.57 ERA with 39 hits allowed. Cole Pitts, King and Isaacs have all demonstrated the capacity to go five or six innings and keep the Jackets in the game, but have not shown any game-to-game consistency. King, for instance, earned a start against North Carolina by shutting out Ohio State over six innings. But against the Tar Heels, he gave up three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first ACC start. In his two previous ACC starts, Isaacs suppressed Clemson and North Carolina before the Hurricanes tagged him.
The Jackets have to like their chances, particularly as a No. 7 seed. Tech took series from Virginia and Virginia Tech and, but for a mishandled double play, could have beaten FSU.
The question, though, is what are the odds that Tech can line up the four consecutive effective starts that it’ll need to get into the final and win?