Coming into the season, it was tough to say what kind of year Georgia Tech was going to have. They missed out on a regional last season for just the third time in the Danny Hall era, and while it was undeniable that the 2016 roster was going to have plenty of talent, much of that talent was young, unproven, or both.
Lo and behold, the Yellow Jackets have arrived a little early, perhaps, and after a huge sweep of Coastal Carolina over the weekend, they find themselves staring down a spot as a regional host, if they can put together a strong finish to the season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
W-L: 30-14 (10-10)
W-L vs. RPI Top 25: 8-7
W-L vs. RPI Top 50: 10-12
W-L vs. RPI Top 100: 12-13
Best Results: Three-game sweep of Coastal Carolina, series win over North Carolina
Worst Losses: Series loss vs. Duke
Summary: The Yellow Jackets made the college baseball world sit up and take notice with their 12-0 start to the season, albeit against somewhat weak competition, and while they haven’t kept up that type of torrid pace since entering the business end of their schedule, they’ve continued to play consistently well, avoiding any real prolonged slumps, while also notching significant victories all along the way.
What They Have Going For Them: The sweep of Coastal Carolina provides them with a marquee result. Perhaps sweeping the Chanticleers doesn’t carry the same type of weight in the minds of many as would sweeping a league foe like Florida State, NC State, or Miami, but from an RPI and overall resume perspective, the sweep was nothing short of a boon for GT. Like others we’ve profiled in this space, they’ve also done a good job of avoiding bad losses. They are 18-1 on the season against teams with an RPI of 101 or worse. That one loss is to Auburn, who is currently 110th in the RPI, so if a few things break right, they could end up undefeated against teams that fall into that category. The series loss to Duke hurts because that’s a series you would expect them to win, but the Blue Devils are a top-50 RPI team, so that’s not a particularly bad series loss from a metrics perspective.
What They Have Working Against Them: They’re currently only 10-10 in ACC play, and they’re incredibly unlikely to host as a .500 team in conference play, even if their other metrics stay about the same. It’s a particularly strong year for the ACC, so this isn’t a situation where they’re going to need to storm though the rest of their conference schedule in order to secure a host spot, but they very well may need to avoid getting swept against Miami this upcoming weekend, win their series against Virginia on the road, and then sweep Boston College in the final series of the season to feel good about their chances. Geographic need for the field of 64 could also end up playing a role in hurting their case to host, especially if the committee needs to find west coast hosts. If the final host spot, for example, comes down to Georgia Tech with an RPI in the high-teens and a similar resume to what they have now and, say, Oregon State with an RPI in the 30s and a Pac-12 regular season championship, and there are several other host locations in the southeast already, that spot is probably going to Oregon State. Even though it’s not been a good year on the west coast, the committee is going to have to find a couple of host locations in that part of the country.
What is on the Horizon? All of their weekend series ahead are huge at this point. The series this weekend against Miami is a chance to get into the driver’s seat for a host spot with a series win, the Virginia series is a head-to-head matchup with a team occupying a similar space in the ACC and hosting pecking order, and the final series against Boston College is a potential trap series against a BC team with some impressive wins of their own. There is also one final potential RPI land mine on their schedule in a midweek game on May 10th with Savannah State, who is currently 288th in the RPI. Even a win in that game will ding their RPI just for having played the game, but a loss, however unlikely, would really hurt.
As it stands now, Georgia Tech is probably just on the outside looking in for a host spot, but it’s all right there in front of them. Take care of business over the next few weeks and there could very well be regional baseball at “The Rusty C” for the first time since 2011.