Freshmen Impress On Opening Day

Matthew McGavic

When all was said and done on Valentine's Day, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets came away with an impressive 6-0 shutout over the Saint Peter's Peacocks on Opening Day 2020. However a decisive victory such as tonight did not have the smoothest start out of the gates.

After retiring the first two batters of game, the Jackets quickly found themselves in a pickle. Freshman RHP Zach Maxwell gave up his only hit of the game and walked two batters, with freshman catcher Jake Holland also allowing two passed balls to set up a bases loaded, two out jam.

With a freshman battery set out on Opening Day, they could have very well allowed the floodgates to open and let the Peacocks crack the scoreboard. However after a meeting on the mound with pitching coach Danny Borrell, they quickly gathered themselves and escaped the inning without surrendering a run.

"I thought it was impressive," head coach Danny Hall said.

Maxwell went on to pitch 4.0 innings in his collegiate debut and strike out 5 batters in the process. Once his day was done, Coach Hall would continue the youth movement on the mound. Freshmen Dalton Smith, Brody Westbrooks and Ben King would wrap up the final 5.0 innings and strikeout 7 combined batters, with Smith getting tabbed with the win.

"It was a great feeling, It was one of those things you dream of," Maxwell said regarding getting the start on Opening Day. He was just the third freshman to start on the Opening Day for the Jackets since 1967.

However the mound was not the only place where the freshman presence was felt. 3 were able to crack the starting lineup, replacing the holes left by Tristin English, Kyle McCann and Nick Wilhite.

Drew Compton, Jake Holland and Andrew Jenkins took those respective spots at first base, catcher and designated hitter, and they immediately contributed. All three notched their first collegiate base hits, with Compton going above and beyond that. In his first collegiate at-bat, he launched a home run that bounced off the right field foul pole to open up the scoring for the Jackets. He was the first Jacket to homer in his first plate appearance since Michael Guldberg in 2018.

"I was just trying to not look like a fool in my first AB," Compton quipped following the game. "I was just looking for my first hit, and it ended up being a home run."

By the time Jadyn Jackson, Stephen Reid and Tres Gonzalez were inserted into the lineup as the game came to a close, it increased the total freshman in the game to double digits with 10. While they did not have the impact that their fellow underclassmen did, there's no question Coach Hall has faith in them to get the job done.

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