Georgia Tech baseball trying to clinch spot in ACC Tournament in final series

Georgia Tech pitcher Marquis Grissom is scheduled to start Friday’s game at Pitt. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech pitcher Marquis Grissom is scheduled to start Friday’s game at Pitt. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Georgia Tech’s baseball team finds itself in an unusual spot as it plays its final regular-season series this weekend, starting Thursday at Pittsburgh. The Yellow Jackets appear to be in good position for a third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, with an RPI of No. 25, the No. 2 strength of schedule and a 14-12 record against teams in the RPI top 25 and an 8-3 mark against teams in the top 11. (In an NCAA Tournament projection released Thursday, placed Tech among its “last four in” at No. 61.)

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But, the Jackets have yet to earn one of the 12 spots in the ACC Tournament, which starts Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. Eight teams have clinched berths, but Tech has a little bit of work to do against the Panthers.

With a league record of 12-15, Tech is one of five teams in contention for four remaining berths along with North Carolina (12-15), Wake Forest (12-14-1), Clemson (10-16) and Duke (10-17). Since the ACC went to a tournament format that did not include all of the league’s teams in 2006, Tech has qualified every year.

The Jackets can clinch a spot outright with two wins in the three-game series with the Panthers. If they win one and finish 13-17, they’ll need help from one of the other four teams still in contention. At 13-17, Tech would need one of the following four scenarios to occur to qualify:

1) Duke loses at least one game in its series with Virginia Tech.

2) Clemson loses at least one game in its series with Boston College.

3) Wake Forest gets swept by N.C. State.

4) North Carolina gets swept by Florida State.

The Jackets conceivably could earn their spot Thursday with a win and a loss from either the Blue Devils or Tigers. Tech could still make it in if it were to lose all three games to the Panthers.

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The Jackets’ chances to get in are favorable, although squeezing into the ACC Tournament isn’t quite the position that one might have expected for a team that was picked to win the Coastal Division, was seventh in Division I in runs per game (9.1) through Thursday’s games and has a national player-of-the-year candidate in catcher Kevin Parada, among other attributes.

At Pittsburgh’s Cost Field, Tech will try to outslug Pitt in a matchup of the teams ranked 12th (Pitt) and 13th (Tech) in the ACC in ERA. Tech’s starter in the opener will be John Medich, who has ascended to the No. 1 starter spot in his second season with the team. Medich transferred to Tech after graduating from Division III Rhodes College and is pursuing a master’s in quantitative and computational finance. A little-used reliever most of last season, Medich has started in each of Tech’s past four weekend series, giving up 11 earned runs in 19 ⅓ innings for a 5.12 ERA. Medich is from Sewickley, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Marquis Grissom is scheduled to start Friday’s game. Saturday’s starter has yet to be determined. Chance Huff, who has started in every weekend series this year, pitched four innings and threw 60 pitches against Kent State on Tuesday.

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