2. Improving defensive play
Hall placed a heavy priority on defense in the preseason. The Jackets ranked 12th in the ACC in fielding percentage and had a number of costly lapses in the field. Tech was 14-5 when it didn’t commit an error, 9-9 with one error and 4-14 with two or more. The Jackets also turned 43 double plays in 55 games after leading the country in 2016 with 1.27 per game, the highest rate in Division I. Hall noted the defensive play of outfielders Nick Wilhite and Michael Guldberg, which should help them earn playing time.
3. Turning to freshmen
The Jackets will have to rely on freshmen in the starting lineup. At third base, Luke Waddell, Oscar Serratos and Michael Guldberg are competing for the job. Hall called Waddell the best position player in the state of Ohio last year as a high-school senior. Serratos, from Grayson High, was drafted in the 14th round by the Cleveland Indians. Right field could go to Baron Radcliff, Colin Hall (Danny Hall’s son, who joins older brother Carter on the team) or Cole Neuber. Radcliff was an all-state quarterback at Norcross High. Tech has not lacked for impact freshmen. But they’re a variable, as they’re being counted on to contribute while learning the college game.