At halfway point of ACC slate, time is now for Georgia Tech to make a move

Georgia Tech starting pitcher Logan McGuire (28) delivers a pitch during the first inning against a UGA batter on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. (Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Georgia Tech starting pitcher Logan McGuire (28) delivers a pitch during the first inning against a UGA batter on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. (Miguel Martinez /

With 15 ACC games down, and with 15 to go, the time is now for Georgia Tech baseball to make a move toward its goal of returning to the NCAA’s postseason.

“It’s not gonna get any easier of the last five weeks of the season. It’s a tough schedule ahead,” veteran Tech pitcher Ben King said. “We’re just hoping to go out and give our best effort and whatever happens, happens.”

Tech, at 22-13 overall and 7-8 against the ACC, is at the halfway point of the conference schedule and has some work to do, both in the standings and in the conversation to be considered for an at-large berth into an NCAA Regional. The Yellow Jackets go into the weekend with an RPI of 74 and in third place (behind four teams) in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

Baseball America projects Tech as one of the first eight teams on the outside looking in of a postseason field of 64. The Jackets missed the NCAA Tournament in 2023.

“I think we’re in good shape, but we got 15 (ACC) games to go. We’re getting ready to go through the juggernaut,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “Everybody that we play moving forward is either ranked or they have a really good RPI, which is a good thing if we can capitalize on us getting better and winning some of these games and series. I think that’s the way you get ahead in this league is to win series. We’ve won a couple (series) in a row and now we gotta go try to win some more of ‘em.”

Tech’s harrowing road through the rest of the regular season begins at 6 p.m. Friday at No. 10 Virginia (29-9, 11-7 ACC). It also has a road trip to No. 6 Clemson (30-6, 11-4 ACC) to start the month of May, hosts No. 7 Duke (24-10, 11-7 ACC) and travels to No. 8 Florida State (30-6, 10-5 ACC) for the regular-season finale.

The Jackets need any number of wins they can muster over that stretch. With a current RPI of 74, Tech is only 1-6 against Quadrant 1 teams. It also has a bad loss to Cornell (RPI 172) on the resume.

A sweep of North Carolina State and a series win over Virginia Tech, however, has shown Hall’s bunch has the capabilities to play high-level baseball. They just have to do it more consistently.

“We’ve been up-and-down. We show flashes of being of kind of (a College World Series)-caliber team. But we’ve shown flashes of really not being anywhere close to where we wanna be,” King said. “I think a lot of that is just kind of turnover from bringing in this many new guys as we have. It can be a little bit hard for a team to find its rhythm and consistency. But I really like the culture that we’ve got. I feel like all the guys really like each other, and we play well with each other.

“If we play up to our level of ability, we can play with anybody in the country. I’m not saying we’re gonna go to Clemson or go to Florida State and sweep ‘em on the road, but I think we can go and compete with them for three games if we play up to our level of capability. I think we’re trending in that direction, I really do.”

Tech heads into the weekend with the league’s best mark for walks drawn (242) and second among ACC teams in on-base percentage (.431). Freshman Drew Burress ranks top 10 in the ACC in walks (30), batting average (.378), hits (51), home runs (16), on-base percentage (.491), runs (44), RBIs (45), slugging percentage (.822) and total bases (111).

Where Tech still needs improvement is on the mound with its team ERA of 5.71 and 9.6 hits allowed per nine innings. Tech has 12 pitchers who have made at least eight appearances this season – only sophomore Carson Ballard, freshman Michal Kovala and senior Cam Jones have sub-3.00 ERAs among that group.

“I think we’ve improved. I think we’re definitely improved. I think there’s still some growth,” Hall said. “I think there’s guys that can definitely get better. You see flashes of it, but the consistency is kind of what you look for as a coach. You wanna see more guys as consistent as King so that when we put ‘em in a game we know what we’re getting. Same thing with hitters. There’s guys that they get hot and then they slump a little. Looking for that consistent piece from everybody. It’s not easy to get to sometimes, particularly with young guys you’ll sort of see that go up and down a little bit.

“Pitching, hitting, defense, we’ve made improvements. But now we gotta keep making improvements in the next 15-20 games.”