Week 3 Preview: Gardner-Webb & Georgia

Matthew McGavic

Georgia Tech's first week back on the diamond saw them go a respectable 2-1, but the Jackets followed that up with an even better week two. Ninth inning heroics saw them win in Statesboro against the Georgia Southern Eagles in the Jackets' first road trip of the season, then they came home and outscored the Ohio State Buckeyes 29-8 to sweep them in their weekend series.

Coming up next for the Jackets however will be one of their biggest tests of the season. After a midweek game at home against Gardner-Webb, they will turn around and face the Georgia Bulldogs. However unlike years past, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate will be a three game series and not a single game. Further deviating from the norm, the series will be played at three different locales. Friday will see the Jackets travel to Athens for the series opener, Saturday they will come home to Russ Chandler Stadium for game 2, and the Sunday series finale will take place at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, GA.

News & Notes

  • Georgia Tech rises as high as 17th in the nation in the latest polls (D1Baseball)
  • According to NCAA metrics, outfielder Michael Guldberg is the toughest player to strikeout in Division I.
  • Guldberg also has the 10th highest batting average (.565) and 18th highest on base percentage (.633) in Division I.

The Week Ahead

Georgia Tech will stay home for a normal midweek game, then play a road/home/neutral three game series.

Home (Atlanta, GA)

  • Tuesday, February 25th @ 4:00pm vs. Gardner-Webb
    • ACC Network Extra
    • WREK 91.1 FM

Away (Athens, GA)

  • Friday, February 28th @ 5:00pm vs. Georgia
    • TV TBA
    • WREK 91.1 FM

Home (Atlanta, GA)

  • Saturday, February 29th @ 2:00pm vs. Georgia
    • ACC Network Extra
    • WREK 91.1 FM

Neutral (Lawrenceville, GA - Coolray Field)

  • Sunday, March 1st @ 2:00pm vs. Georgia
    • TV TBA
    • WREK 91.1 FM

Know The Foe

School: Gardner-Webb University
Nickname: Runnin' Bulldogs
Location: Boiling Springs, NC
Total Enrollment: 3,594
Head Coach (school record): Jim Chester (5-2)
2020 Record (conference record): 5-2 (0-0)
Team Leaders:

  • Avg: Mitch McLendon (.350)
  • RBI: 2 tied at 7
  • HR: Cam Pearcy (2)
  • ERA: Luke Williamson (0.00)
  • Strikeouts: Isaac Campbell (16)
  • Wins: Landon Mitchell (2)

School: University of Georgia
Nickname: Bulldogs
Location: Athens, GA
Total Enrollment: 38,652
Head Coach (school record): Scott Stricklin (196-158-1)
2020 Record (conference record): 7-1 (0-0)
Team Leaders:

  • Avg: Buddy Floyd (.500)
  • RBI: Tucker Bradley (9)
  • HR: Tucker Bradley (3)
  • ERA: 5 tied at 0
  • Strikeouts: Ryan Webb (18)
  • Wins: 6 tied at 1

Opponent Breakdown:

Gardner-Webb
Georgia
Georgia Tech

RPI

252

9

95

SOS

273

17

165

Home Record

5-2

6-1

5-1

Away Record

0-0

1-0

1-0

Batting:

Gardner-Webb
Georgia
Georgia Tech

Base on Balls

18 (45)

32 (40)

101 (31)

Batting Average

125 (.255)

66 (.281)

29 (.299)

Hits

137 (56)

25 (75)

47 (69)

Home Runs

96 (4)

20 (9)

31 (7)

On Base Percentage

37 (.401)

38 (.399)

56 (.388)

Runs

91 (42)

30 (55)

62 (46)

Slugging Percentage

129 (.364)

44 (.431)

23 (.476)

Pitching:

Gardner-Webb
Georgia
Georgia Tech

Earned Run Average

149 (4.14)

84 (3.00)

54 (2.57)

Hits Allowed/9 Innings

125 (8.00)

47 (6.36)

11 (5.43)

Strikeouts Per 9 Innings

119 (9.3)

44 (10.9)

62 (10.6)

Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio

187 (1.76)

54 (3.25)

102 (2.55)

WHIP

168 (1.48)

47 (1.08)

39 (1.06)

Walks Allowed/9 Innings

212 (5.29(

71 (3.36)

146 (4.14)

Key: Rank out of 297 (Value)

Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs

Much like their previous midweek game against Georgia Southern last week, the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs have a similar makeup at the plate. Like the Eagles, they are also lead by a one-two upperclassmen punch in outfielder Mitch McLendon & infielder Cam Pearcy. Both have an OPS over 1.000 and batting averages over .330, but they each have their own way of attacking opposing pitchers. McLendon has very good plate discipline, and leads the Runnin' Bulldogs in walks with 12 and on base percentage at .606. Once on base, he also keeps pitchers honest, leading the team in stolen bases (3) and stolen base attempts (4). Pearcy on the other hand is a pure power hitter. His slugging percentage is 3rd in the Big South (.667), and he also leads the team in home runs (2), doubles (3), and total bases (18). Fortunately for Tech, there is not much to worry about at the plate past these two hitters. Outside of McLendon & Pearcy, Gardner-Webb is batting just .231 for the season. Limit the damage caused by this duo, and the Jackets' pitching staff should be in good shape.

Fortunately for Georgia Tech, they will not be facing two of Gardner-Webb's better arms due to it being just a midweek game and not a three game series. Weekend starters Isaac Campbell (1.98 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) & Landon Mitchell (2.63 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) are not expected to see the mound tomorrow, leaving way for last week's midweek starter Sean Casteel. He did not last long, only going 2.0 innings deep and surrendering a pair of earned runs before first year skipper Jim Chester went to the bullpen. The Bulldogs bullpen is solid, with 4 strictly relief pitchers carrying an ERA under 3.50. Come Tuesday, there's a decent chance at chasing the midweek starter out of the game early if the Jackets can strike early. They will just have to be prepared once it becomes a bullpen game.

Georgia Bulldogs

The 2020 college baseball season may only be entering its third week, but the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are about to face arguably their biggest test of the season in the Georgia Bulldogs. So far at the plate, the Dawgs have excelled greatly. They feature 5 batters with averages at .375 or above, 5 with an OPS above 1.000, 3 with a slugging percentage over .600 and 3 with an on base percentage over .500. Out of all these hot starts at the plate, none have been hotter than from two-way player Tucker Bradley. The redshirt junior has a staggering 1.415 OPS, and leads the team in hits (13), home runs (3), RBI (9) and total bases (23). Stopping him will be next to impossible, and even slowing him down will a tall task.

If you thought the Dawgs were loaded at the plate, they pose an even bigger threat from the mound. Their weekend rotation is top tier, and has one of the best Friday-Saturday starting duos in the nation. Junior RHP Emerson Hancock is projected to be a Top 10 pick in the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft, with Saturday starter RHP Cole Wilcox also projected to be a first rounder. Complimenting the starters, UGA also has 7 relievers so far this season post an ERA under 2.00, highlighted by Ryan Webb and his 18-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This Georgia squad has very little weak spots, and winning the series will be extremely tough to do.

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