1. Accolades continue to collect for Georgia Tech golfers Ollie Schniederjans and Anders Albertson.
Schniederjans was named the ACC player of the year for the second year in a row. Albertson was named to the All-ACC team, along with Schniederjans. It’s Albertson’s fourth All-ACC honor, making him one of 16 players in conference history to achieve that feat. It was Schniederjans’ third All-ACC selection. He has won one tournament this season and finished in the top 10 eight times in 10 events.
Schniederjans finished last summer as the world’s top-ranked amateur, earning him exemptions into the U.S. and British opens. Albertson won the Byron Nelson Award earlier this season, an award that considers a player’s entire collegiate academic and playing career as well as character and citizenship.
“As a duo, what they have accomplished here and in the ACC would stand up against any two players we’ve had in this program,” coach Bruce Heppler said in a news release.
Tech, ranked No. 10 in the country by Golfstat, will travel to Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Tuesday to compete in the NCAA regional held at the Farms Golf Club, which begins Thursday. It will be Tech’s 27th NCAA appearance. The Jackets need to finish in the top five of the 13-team field to advance to the NCAA championship.
Monday, Albertson advanced out of a U.S. Open local qualifier at Chateau Elan by shooting a 3-under-par. He was one of seven players out of 132 entrants (including teammates James Clark, Jacob Joiner and Vincent Whaley) to move on to sectional qualifying, a 36-hole event June 8 at 12 different U.S. sites. The number of qualifiers who will earn U.S. Open spots at the qualifiers, including one at Hawks Ridge in Ball Ground, have yet to be determined.
Tech takes series, holds steady in RPI
The Tech baseball team took a three-game series from Pittsburgh this past weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium, but actually fell back one slot in RPI. The Jackets entered the series ranked No. 26, but were No. 27 as of Monday. The setback was likely due to Pittsburgh’s RPI (166 as of Monday) and the negative impact of home losses.
Barring strong results at No. 4 Miami this weekend and at the ACC tournament, the Jackets would seem to be closing in on a No. 2 seed for an NCAA regional at the No. 1 seed’s campus. The website Boyd’s World indicates that Tech would need to beat Georgia Tuesday at Turner Field and sweep Miami to earn a top-16 RPI ranking going into the ACC tournament.
On the field, Sunday starter Brandon Gold delivered again. Gold gave up two runs over six innings, with five hits, three strikeouts and one walk, in earning the win in a 10-3 win Sunday at Russ Chandler. Gold is now 7-2 overall and 5-1 in rubber games. His play this season – 2.77 ERA, .218 opponent batting average, 67/22 strikeout/walk ratio – is one of the most remarkable aspects of the season, particularly considering that Gold did not throw an inning last season as a freshman, didn’t begin this season as a starting pitcher and is hitting .274 as a part-time infielder.
Third baseman Matt Gonzalez now has a 13-game hit streak. Right fielder A.J. Murray now has an ACC-best 14 home runs.
Tech-Georgia Tuesday night
Tech plays Georgia at 7 p.m. at Turner Field Tuesday night. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South. The Jackets need the win for the season series, which will be shortened to two games because the April 14 game at Russ Chandler was rained out and will not be made up.
If Tech does win, it will give the school a football/men’s basketball/baseball sweep for the first time since the 1970-71 academic year (factoid courtesy of the Tech communications office). Cole Pitts (0-5, 6.98 ERA) will start for the Jackets.
Gregory waits on transfer decisions
Tech men’s basketball coaches will continue to wait on possible graduate transfers Tyler Harris (forward from Providence) and Eli Carter (guard from Florida). Both have been visiting with schools – Harris’ list includes Auburn, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Harris’ list reportedly has Boston College, Clemson, N.C. State and St. John’s besides Tech, among others.
If neither picks Tech, coach Brian Gregory’s shopping for the summer may be over and he would go into the 2014-15 season with one open scholarship with guard Chris Bolden not returning after finishing the season suspended for the final six games.
Bolden may stay to complete his degree at the end of the fall term and then play his senior season elsewhere as a graduate transfer.
Women’s tennis falls in second round
The Tech women’s tennis team reached the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament, but fell there 5-0 to No. 5 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday. The Jackets’ season ends at 17-10. The 17 wins were the most in coach Rodney Harmon’s three seasons.
Tech had reached the second round by defeating Wichita State 4-3 on Friday, with Megan Kurey winning the decisive point at No. 4 singles, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5. Kurey was down 6-4 in the second set tiebreaker and fought off two match points – which would have ended Tech’s season – and won four points in a row altogether to force a third set. She came back from down 5-3 in the third set to take the match and eliminate Wichita State.
Kendal Woodard and Paige Hourigan will play in the NCAA doubles championship and Hourigan will also compete in singles. That tournament starts May 20 in Waco, Texas.
Those more familiar with Tech’s tennis program that the Florida men’s team is coached by former Tech women’s coach Bryan Shelton, the only coach in school history to lead a Tech team to an NCAA championship (2007. The school’s football championships were not awarded by the NCAA.) If you’re wondering, the Florida men were ranked No. 22 but were upset in the first round by No. 39 Pepperdine.
Men’s tennis team loses to Columbia
The Tech men, ranked No. 42, lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to No. 17 Columbia on Friday. The Jackets’ season is complete at 14-13. Tech completed the season winning by beating Duke, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech at the end of the regular season and in the ACC tournament. All three made the NCAA tournament, and Duke is into the round of 16.
Against Columbia, Tech won the doubles point (Michael Kay and Christopher Eubanks at No. 2 doubles and Nathan Rakitt and Cole Fiegel at No. 3 doubles) but surrendered the first four points in singles to lose the match. Five of the six players who took the court for Tech in Oxford, Miss., are scheduled to return next season.
Among several former Tech baseball players in the minor leagues, perhaps the three playing the best thus far are pitcher Buck Farmer (Triple-A Toledo), shortstop Mott Hyde (Single-A Quad Cities) and pitcher Jake Esch (Double-A Jacksonville). Farmer, drafted by the Tigers in 2013, was 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA with six starts as of Tuesday. He has 40 strikeouts against 13 walks in 32 innings pitched.
Hyde, drafted last year in the 26th round by Houston, was hitting .319 with a .415 on-base percentage. He hit .254 (.331 OBP) last season in rookie ball. His average was 14th in the Midwest League as of Monday and his on-base percentage was fifth.
Esch, drafted in the 11th round in 2011 by the Marlins, has steadily worked up to Double-A, where he was 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA and a 22/7 strikeout/walk ratio in four starts. Esch was an infielder at Tech, and only threw five innings as a junior, but he wowed scouts by hitting 95 with his fastball during fall practice.
Also interesting: Esch, who went by Jacob at Tech, was a civil engineering major with a 3.65 GPA and was one semester shy of graduating when he decided to take the Marlins’ offer.