Coming off midweek loss, Miami battles Georgia Tech on the road

Freshman outfielder Zach Levenson hits a ball during the fifth inning of Miami's game against Pitt on Sunday April 24, 2022 at Mark Light Field.
Freshman outfielder Zach Levenson hits a ball during the fifth inning of Miami's game against Pitt on Sunday April 24, 2022 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

It may be a different feeling for the Miami Hurricanes this weekend in Atlanta when they face off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

After a rough start from sophomore starting pitcher Jake Garland, Miami (31-10, 16-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) dropped its midweek matchup to the Stetson Hatters 12-4 on Tuesday. The midweek loss, an anomaly, became only the second for the Hurricanes this season, with their last loss in the spot coming to Central Florida on March 16.

“Just a total team effort in terms of playing poorly,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said Tuesday. “I’m not sure where this came from, but very disappointed.”

Suddenly, the No. 3 Hurricanes find themselves with serious work to do to keep their top-five ranking after this weekend. The Hurricanes called upon six relievers on Tuesday, as well, hindering the endurance of some of the arms for this series.

“We’ve got to get ourselves ready real quick because we got a big series this weekend,” DiMare said.

Georgia Tech (25-17, 10-11 ACC) comes in losing a midweek of its own. The team went down 12-8 at home against Troy on Tuesday, marking its third consecutive loss.

With Miami on deck, the Yellow Jackets will look for the top production their star hitters Chandler Simpson, Andrew Jenkins and Kevin Parada have provided the team all season.

Simpson, a transfer from UAB and second baseman for Georgia Tech, has hit for an ACC leading .433 batting average. Simpson has a home run with 16 RBI to go along and has stolen a base a team leading 14 times.

Jenkins, an Atlanta native, has an impressive .397/.461/.678 slash line with 46 RBI. and has hit 10 home runs, but at the cost of 47 strikeouts.

Parada, a 2021 Freshman All-American by D1Baseball and Perfect Game, has hit 21 home runs, tied for the most in the country. Parada has also drove in 71 runs this season for second in the country.

The Yellow Jackets as a team have been relatively one-dimensional. With a team batting average of .324 the squad has amounted 406 runs, the best in the ACC. Yet, Georgia Tech ranks as the 13th best pitching staff statistically, the team has an ERA of 6.46 and has allowed an ACC worst .288 batting average to opponents.

Conversely, Miami enters as the eighth best offense in the ACC and the sixth best pitching staff, giving up 203 runs while scoring 313.

Miami is expected to send Carson Palmquist back to the mound on Friday. Palmquist holds a 3.35 ERA and comes off a win against Pittsburgh in which he went over five innings without allowing a run and had 11 strikeouts.

Saturday, the Canes will send Karson Ligon to the mound. Ligon owns a 3.21 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 20 walks in nine starts.

Sunday, the Hurricanes may decide to start Alejandro Rosario but have the option of pitching Jake Garland after his short start on Tuesday. Rosario comes off a shaky outing against Pittsburgh in which he gave up six runs, five hits, and two walks in just two innings.

Georgia Tech will have Chance Huff starting on Friday, John Medich on Saturday and Marquis Grissom Jr. on Sunday.

Huff, a right hander, pitched with Vanderbilt before transferring to Georgia Tech where he owns a 3-2 record across ten starts in 2022, holding a 6.63 ERA.

Medich, a Senior, comes off a quality start at Duke.

Grissom Jr. will throw after a loss against Duke last Sunday in which he gave up six runs in only 1.2 innings of work.

First pitch on Friday is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday’s game, however, will start at 4 p.m., while Sunday’s matchup will begin earlier, at 1 p.m.