The Georgia Tech baseball team normally sets a 40 win season as the barometer for a successful season. Are they where they wanted to be? "I think so," said Coach Danny Hall. "We wanted to win the regular season title and we didn't accomplish that but certainly our win total is big and finishing second overall in the league is a great accomplishment."
Heading into the ACCT the team is a little fatigued right now. The team got home late from Boston early Sunday morning and practiced Monday prior to leaving for Greensboro. "I'm kinda happy that we don't play until Thursday because it gives your team, especially your starting pitcher Deck McGuire, on normal rest."
While he likes the Thursday start, Coach Hall doesn't feel the same way about playing four days in a row. "I don't like the fact that we have to play four in a row but I hope we do play four in a row," said Hall. "I think it makes it a little harder but one of my coaches pointed out that Virginia had that same deal last year and suddenly we feel a little better."
Eight teams qualified for the tournament and Hall feels all have a chance to win the tournament. "The team that plays the best for a four day period is going to win it," said Hall. "I'm confident we have the ability to do that and hope we can."
The last few weeks of the season Coach Hall has made some minor changes in the batting order. The latest came against Boston College when he moved Thomas Nichols and Chase Burnette ahead of Cole Leonida when facing right handed pitching. The lineup in the ACCT will depend on who the team matches up against. "I'm assuming that Virginia Tech will throw Harmon the left hander." Hall will try to space the lineup out against Harmon.
Coach Hall expects match-ups to be part of the ACCT. Facing lefties is one thing Tech may have to deal with in the tournament. "We've faced lefties all year so if I had a good lefty I'd probably march him out against us," said Hall. "Harmon from Virginia Tech gave us everything we could handle and NCST doesn't have a lefty starter they could match but both their right-handers strapped us pretty good up there." Beating top pitchers is what the post-season is all about.
The team knows they can't look ahead to Clemson because of the problems they had with Virginia Tech and North Carolina State. "We have our hands full with Virginia Tech and they have series wins over us, Miami, and Florida State." The same is true with North Carolina State. "We didn't have many answers for them offensively," said Hall. "I think NCST was one of the most physical teams we played all year." The team's approach will be to look at the opponent they are playing and try to match up as best they can against that opponent.
While their focus is on the ACCT, the staff and team are also trying to set things up for the regionals. "It's been a goal from the get go and I'll mention it to the team," said Hall. "If we go to the ACC tournament and play well we have a chance to be a top eight national seed." While it's important, it's something the team will have to earn it. They can do that by playing well in the tournament this week.
The Jackets open up Thursday night against Virginia Tech, followed by NCST, Clemson. Look for the starting rotation to be Deck McGuire on Thursday, Brandon Cumpton on Friday, and Jed Bradley on Saturday. If needed, Mark Pope could be moved up his tentative spot in the ACCT championship game to one of the earlier games.