No. 23 Georgia Tech slips up against lesser competition, this time Clemson

Georgia Tech shortstop Chandler Simpson has been an offensive catalyst for the Yellow Jackets. His play helped Tech to an 11-7 win over Georgia March 4, 2022 at Russ Chandler Stadium. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

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Georgia Tech shortstop Chandler Simpson has been an offensive catalyst for the Yellow Jackets. His play helped Tech to an 11-7 win over Georgia March 4, 2022 at Russ Chandler Stadium. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

In getting swept at Clemson this weekend, the No. 23 Georgia Tech baseball team continued its peculiar pattern in weekend series. The Yellow Jackets have handled their toughest competition and been handled against weaker opponents.

By RPI going into Friday’s games, Tech is 4-0 against its four highest-ranked opponents and 1-5 against the bottom six.

The RPI of the five power conference teams Tech has beaten in weekend series prior to Friday: Georgia (3), Virginia Tech (6), Miami (12), Florida State (15) and North Carolina (34).

The ratings of the five teams the Jackets have lost series to: Virginia (16), N.C. State (24), Wake Forest (25), Clemson (30) and Duke (108).

Tech was 19th.

In fairness, dropping a series two games to one on the road to RPI’s Nos. 16 and 25 teams (UVA and Wake Forest, respectively) are hardly inexcusable sins (although losing a series at Duke while giving up 34 runs in three games won’t win points with the NCAA Tournament selection committee).

Regardless, Tech (27-21 overall, 12-15 ACC) lost an opportunity to build on its best series result of the season – taking two of three games from the Hurricanes last weekend. After knocking off Miami, Tech returned to the top 25, announced the extensions of coach Danny Hall and assistant coaches Danny Borrell and James Ramsey and celebrated the graduation of Jackets great Mark Teixeira before crashing against the Tigers. Clemson earned its first ACC sweep of the season by hitting .339 (The Tigers were hitting .282 for the season before the series.) in winning the three games 9-3, 12-9 and 14-2. The Tigers became the fifth team to score 30 runs in a weekend series against Tech this season.

Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, five different Clemson batters took Tech pitchers deep as the Tigers (31-17, 9-14) hit eight home runs in the series after averaging 1.7 per game for the season before Friday.

Tech has pitched well enough to contribute to the Jackets’ impressive collection of series wins, but its staff ERA crept up to 6.64 for the season by giving up 27 earned runs over the three games.

For Tech, leadoff man and second baseman Chandler Simpson was 6-for-12 to raise his batting average to .445, which is nine points higher than the Division I leader going into Friday’s games.

Simpson is one game shy of qualifying for NCAA rankings. To be considered, players must play in 75% of their team’s games, and having missed 13 consecutive games with an injury earlier in the season, Simpson has played in 35 of Tech’s 48 games, 72.9%. If he plays in Tech’s next three games – Wednesday against Georgia Southern, May 16 at Akron and May 17 at Kent State – he’ll reach the 75% threshold.

Catcher Kevin Parada, who went into the weekend leading Division I with 23 home runs, did not homer and was 1-for-14 against Clemson. Texas’ Ivan Melendez hit three this weekend to reach 25 and pass Parada.

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