“I hope it kind of escalates him into being the pitcher of the year in our conference,” Hall told reporters after the game.
By winning the Coastal, Tech has secured at least the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament that starts Tuesday in Durham, N.C. The Jackets could earn the No. 1 seed Saturday if they beat Pitt and Louisville loses to Florida State. It would leave both teams at 20-10 in league play, with Tech winning the tiebreaker by virtue of its series win over the Cardinals in March.
After the ACC tournament, Tech will return to the NCAA tournament after missing the postseason the past two years. The Jackets are in strong position to be at home for the regional round, which would be the first time since 2011. Tech is No. 8 in RPI and also is in contention to earn a top-eight seed, which would enable the Jackets to be at home for the super-regional round if they were to advance out of regionals.
It has been a season that few predicted. The Jackets finished last season 31-27 and lost catcher Joey Bart as the No. 2 pick in the major-league draft. But, with development of a number of players, increased depth in the pitching staff, better health and a more focused approach at the plate, Tech has morphed into a powerhouse.
Entering Friday’s game, Tech’s team batting average had risen from .291 to .301, while the team’s walks-per-game rate had jumped from 4.3 to 5.9 and runs per game from 6.5 to 7.7. ERA had dropped from 4.95 to 4.65.
Two-way player Tristin English (.324 batting average, 57 RBI, team-high five saves) could be named ACC player of the year, which would give Tech back-to-back winners, including Bart.