State’s baseball teams crowding top of RPI rankings

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

The top of the baseball RPI rankings has a strong Georgia flavor. All of the state’s six Division I teams are ranked in the top 31.

That’s No. 4 Georgia, No. 9 Georgia Tech, No. 10 Kennesaw State, No. 18 Georgia Southern, No. 24 Mercer and No. 31 Georgia State. Of teams in the top 31, Texas has three and no other state has more than two.

Tech and Georgia State play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium.

“When we played Georgia State early in the year, I thought they were really good,” Yellow Jackets coach Danny Hall said. “Georgia Southern is really good. And I’m not sure what’s happened with Kennesaw this weekend, but I know they’re near the top of their league. All the teams in our state are good. And, quite honestly, I think that’s why our RPI is really good right now.”

Tech regularly plays every other team in the state, a commitment that brings more peril this year than most. The Jackets lost midweek games to Georgia Southern and Mercer (they play second games against both later in the season) and split two games with Kennesaw State. (Tech took two of three from Georgia, though.) Tech will go for a two-game sweep of Georgia State on Tuesday night. (Mayor Andre Dickens, who holds degrees from both schools, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.)

Besides defeating Tech, Mercer also has beaten Florida State and went on the road to take a weekend series at Utah. Coach Craig Gibson’s Bears are in the top 15 nationally in ERA (3.39) and runs per game (9.1) and have the second-best record (27-5) in Division I. Mercer is tied for first in the Southern Conference at 3-0 and has won eight games in a row.

“All the teams in our state are good. And, quite honestly, I think that's why our RPI is really good right now."

- Yellow Jackets coach Danny Hall

On a seven-game win streak, Georgia State is in first place in the Sun Belt Conference at 10-2 in league play, 22-10 overall. Georgia State has made a considerable turnaround after finishing the 2021 season with an 18-37 record. The Panthers are trailed by Georgia Southern, which is tied for third at 8-4 and 20-11 overall. This past weekend, Georgia Southern took two of three on the road from Texas State, which had been ranked as high as 10th nationally.

Kennesaw State is likewise in first in the East Division of the ASUN Conference at 10-2 and 21-9 overall. Tech is 21-12 and tied for fifth in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

Georgia is 24-8 overall and in second in the SEC East at 8-4. The Bulldogs and Owls play Tuesday night at Kennesaw State.

The possibility for at least three in-state teams to reach the NCAA Tournament seems high. Three entrants would tie the most that the state has put in the field of 64 in at least the past five tournaments (2019 – Tech, UGA and Mercer).

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