The Yellow Jackets may have it even tougher than most No. 3 seeds. Their opponent in their opening game, Washington, was thought to be strong enough to be in contention to host its own regional. The Huskies, who were picked to finish 10th in the 11-team Pac-12 (Colorado doesn’t have a team, finished two games behind conference champion Oregon State, which received the top overall national seed.
Washington, at least on paper, looks like a slightly better version of Tech – not much offense or power (batting average of .280, 95th in home runs per game at .45) but strong defensively (fifth in the country in fielding percentage at .981) and pitching-wise (3.23 ERA).
Tech’s batting average is .279, is 149th in home runs per game (.34) but is 43rd in fielding percentage (.973, including .980 in the last 44 games) and has a near identical 3.28 ERA.
I would venture to guess that the Jackets have a better chance at winning a regional than most No. 3 seeds on the strength of its pitching. Tech can roll out four starting pitchers in Josh Heddinger (3.64 ERA, will start Friday), Devin Stanton (2.27), Ben Parr (2.74) and Matthew Grimes (4.22) who have routinely beaten top teams in the ACC. The Jackets have taken series from two teams who’ll have No. 1 seeds (Miami and Florida State), a No. 3 seed (North Carolina).