The approach for Georgia Tech’s buzzin’ bats

Courtesy of Georgia Tech Athletics

Hitting is hard. At times, it can be overcomplicated. That’s why Georgia Tech has kept it simple, and it’s working.

The Yellow Jackets have already hit 55 home runs through the team’s first 30 games of the season. That surpasses last season’s total of 48 and the Yellow Jackets are on pace for their most blasts in a season since the 2011 team crushed 100 homers.

“We’ve tried to free them up a little bit more,” Georgia Tech head coach Aileen Morales said. “When they get into the batter’s box, we want them to be sitting on a location or a pitch. Just keep the mindset of swinging the bat hard and putting our best barrel on it. I know that sounds like ‘well, duh’ but we’ve freed them up to fail a little bit more.

“You have to be okay that you’ll try to put your best swing on the ball and sometimes you’re going to miss. You free them up to have great outcomes. We’re are going to get our cuts in and we’re going to miss but we’re trying to hit the ball hard and good things will happen.”

It’s not that Georgia Tech added a ton of transfer talent or has a star-studded freshman leading the way. Most of the lineup are returners enjoying career seasons already.

Malloire Black, who was ranked second in our third base rankings earlier this month, has 11 doubles and 11 home runs. She had 16 doubles and 10 home runs in her previous three years combined.

Mallorie Black’s zone and spray chart on her extra-base hits in 2024 via Synergy Sports

Black has been one of the breakout stars of the season. She was the only player in the country that had double-digit doubles and home runs to this point. As the chart above from Synergy Sports shows, she is hitting every part of the field, through each zone and a variety of pitches.

Madison Dobbins had her season cut short due to injury last year. She’s come right out the gate firing too. She is tied with Black for the team lead with 11 home runs. She also has four doubles and a triple. Dobbins has struck out more this season compared to last in less at-bats, but as Morales explained earlier that comes with the territory in which Georgia Tech is trying to succeed on offense.

Sara Beth Allen is on pace for a new career-high in home runs as she currently sits at nine and only needs five more to get past last season’s total. Tiffany Domingue and Reese Hunter have combined for 11 long balls. Ella Edgmon has been the table-setter the lineup needs and has taken a step forward in her junior year. Even Jin Sileo known for her glove, has nearly matched her career home run number in this season alone.

Five of Black’s home runs the Synergy Sports 

“When you get your 2, 3, 4 hitters all really swinging it well, it makes it hard to pitch around,” Morales said. “That has allowed them to be pretty successful halfway through the season. Mallorie Black has always swung a great bat since we recruited her through high school. So to see her going off with the amount of consistency she’s had and producing the power she has is awesome to see.”

Morales, a Georgia Tech alum, is a numbers junkie. When players swing hard it creates a higher exit velocity which she loves. She very much enjoys the advanced stats and if you don’t believe that check out her bio on X, formerly known as Twitter. Translated through emojis it says that batting average is dead and that wOBA (Weighted On-base Average) is queen and RB (runs created) is king. Those stats essentially give a better idea of how many runs a player in the lineup is worth. A simple approach can become advanced results as Georgia Tech has proven.

She also credits her staff, which is entirely brand new. Hunter Bunch comes from Incarnate Word and was part of the Texas Bombers organization. Kelsey Bennett spent her career playing against Morales and comes straight from Virginia Tech, a program that prides itself on hitting the long ball, after graduating last year. Devon Boland is the director of operations after serving as NC State’s interim head coach for part of the season last year. Tyson King is a graduate assistant who works a lot with advanced analytics.

“We’re growing in that way because we can use actual numbers and actual data to create competitive advantages,” she said. “It’s finding out what numbers are actually useful numbers and tell us the real story. I have a great staff. Devon our (director of) operations does a ton of data for us. Tyson our GA is an analytics genesis. We have a lot of smarter people than me makes me look smart.”

The Yellow Jackets rank fourth in the country in home runs ahead of their midweek matchup at Coastal Carolina. They’re surrounded by the usual suspects of Miami, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and Georgia in the top five of the category. Whether or not they finish in that spot is to be seen but regardless for their head coach, it’s been a joy to watch.

“It’s been a lot of fun truthfully seeing them free up,” Morales said. “From a maturity perspective, they’ve embraced the challenges and haven’t played fearful. We knew that we needed to have an emphasis on hitting for more power based on the personnel we had. It’s been exciting.”


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