by Matt Sefcovic (@MattSefcovic)
Georgia Tech and Louisville provided plenty of fireworks in a matchup of two top 10 ACC foes in Atlanta over the weekend in a series that saw 66 runs. In the end, the Louisville pitching staff couldn’t stop the red hot Yellow Jackets offense that has made their appearance known in the ACC after sweeping NC State on the road last weekend. With the series win against the Cardinals, Georgia Tech has now won 12 consecutive ACC series.
On Friday afternoon, the Louisville pitching staff was able to hold the Yellow Jackets to just 6 runs on the way to a 13-6 victory, but Georgia Tech’s bats came alive in games two and three. Michael Kirian (2-0) led the way for the Cardinals on Friday in just his second start after transitioning from the closer role last season. Kiran allowed only one run, a solo home run to Drew Compton, who led the day at the plate for the Jackets. The Cardinals tallied 11 hits and added 10 walks, led by Henry Davis and Trey Leonard, who both homered in the game. Georgia Tech put on a little pressure late in the game, scoring two runs in the 7th and three in the 8th, but Leonard’s 2 run home run in the 9th sealed it for the Cards.
On Saturday, the Georgia Tech offense left no doubt on the way to a 19-6 victory over the Cardinals. The 19 runs were the most surrendered by Louisville since Dan McDonnell took over in 2007 and the most lopsided conference loss since joining the ACC. Five different Yellow Jackets recorded a multi-hit game, including home runs by Compton, for the second consecutive day, and Justyn-Henry Malloy, who added 3 RBI.
Freshman phenom Kevin Parada followed up his ACC Player of the Week honors with a 4-4 day at the plate. Andy Archer (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, with 6 strong innings, allowing just 2 runs (one earned) with 5 strikeouts and no walks. The Cardinals made too many mistakes on the day with 4 errors which led to 7 unearned runs, not to mention the mental errors and baserunning mistakes that cost them a few runs. The Cardinals did have a few bright spots at the plate with 13 hits, led by Lucas Dunn and Alex Binelas, who seems like he may be turning things around after his slow start to the season. Going into the series, Binelas was batting .065, which has doubled to .130 after three games in Atlanta.
After two high scoring affairs on Friday and Saturday, the rubber match was bound to provide plenty of sparks in the finale, and it delivered. Every time one team threw a punch, the other team countered, but Georgia Tech was just too much for Louisville, winning the game 13-9. The Cardinals actually outhit the Jackets, but timely hitting and the 3 unearned runs in the bottom of the 8th was the final straw for the Cards. Georgia Tech was once again led by Compton, who homered in each game of the series, and added 3 RBI. Six different Yellow Jackets recorded multi-hits in the game on their way to a 13 hit day and added 7 walks. Louisville was led by Dunn, once again, and Cooper Bowman, who each had four hits apiece. Bowman ledoff the game with a homerun to right-center field. Luke Smith (2-1) struggled finding the zone on Sunday after just 2.1 innings of work, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, while walking 4 batters.
It is going to be a long ACC season with 36 games this year, but Georgia Tech is the early favorite after sweeping a top 25 NC State team on the road and taking the series against Louisville. I would not want to be a pitching staff and looking across the field to see Danny Hall’s group in the dugout right now. On the flip side, Louisville has a lot of questions to be answered. Who is going to step up in the bullpen? Who will the starters be going forward? The staff was without Glenn Albanese, their Friday night starter, but they will need a few more arms in order to compete against this gauntlet of an ACC schedule.