This week's Marquee Mound Matchup lived up to its hype and then some. Aside from the cold weather—it was in the low 40s with a constant light rain and some wind—the game was a classic pitchers' duel between two potential first-round picks.
With about 50 scouts in attendance—including numerous crosscheckers and scouting directors—North Carolina righthander Matt Harvey came out and mowed down the No. 3 Yellow Jackets through the first two innings. He got two strikeouts in the first inning and then struck out the side in the second.
The third inning got off to a little bit of a rocky start. Georgia Tech second baseman Jacob Esch drew an 11-pitch walk and then Harvey walked designated hitter Thomas Nichols. But the walks didn't hurt Harvey, as got three quick outs including two more strikeouts.
Harvey was sitting 92-95 mph with his four-seam fastball, but was also mixing in two-seamers to generate some groundball outs and showed a sharp slider throughout the game.
The Tar Heels got out to an early lead on McGuire when second baseman Tommy Coyle hit a single, stole second base and then scored on a single by center fielder Mike Cavasinni. But it was Coyle who allowed the Yellow Jackets to tie the game in the fifth with an error at second base.
Georgia Tech righthander Deck McGuire didn't show the same velocity as Harvey—he was 90-92 mph with his four-seam fastball, but had a healthy mix of two-seamers, changeups and curveballs around 75 mph. The Tar Heels were squaring him up pretty good in the early innings. There were a few hard-hit balls that got caught in the gaps, but McGuire stayed poised and didn't allow as many free passes as Harvey.
Harvey's walks got him into trouble again in the seventh. Nichols started the inning by hitting the only hard-hit ball off of Harvey all night, a double to left center. Harvey walked left fielder Brandon Thomas and then center fielder Jeff Rowland laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third. Harvey then struck out shorstop Derek Dietrich and then intentionally walked first baseman Tony Plagman to set up a force at any base. But, the move backfired when Harvey walked the next batter (catcher Cole Leonida) to force home the go-ahead run. He promptly struck out third baseman Matt Skole to end the inning and his final pitch (No. 135 on the night) was clocked at 94 mph.
Over Harvey's seven innings, he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out 11 and walking six. McGuire also ended up throwing seven innings and gave up one run on six hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
The 2-1 score remained the same through the bottom of the ninth. The Tar Heels fought hard until the end. Cavasinni drew a walk to start the inning and then first baseman Dillon Hazlett singled through the left side. Left fielder Ben Bunting struck out, but shortstop Ryan Graepel drew another walk to load the bases with one out. This brought up right fielder Brian Goodwin, who looked overmatched the entire game—going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts through his first four at-bats. He looked at two pitches and then hit a seed, but it was right at Esch, who caught the ball and flipped it to Dietrich for a game-ending double play—an exciting way to end an exciting game.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog