In my Sunday column I profiled the hot start of former Greenbrier High School standout Jeff Rowland. He has helped lead Georgia Tech to a 7-1 start this season.
Well, Brandon Cumpton, Rowland's former Greenbrier teammate who also plays at Georgia Tech, did his part last week .
In his first college start against Georgia Southern, the 6-foot-3 right-hander overcame some uncharacteristic walks in four shutout innings of work.
Cumpton allowed just two hits and recorded four strikeouts to hold the Eagles scoreless, despite five walks. He showed a lot of guts pitching out of jams in each of his final three innings. He did not figure in the decision, but Georgia Tech pulled out a 1-0 win in 10 innings. Cumpton could prove to be a key piece of the 22nd-ranked Jackets' pitching staff this season.
Rich Poythress knows exactly what his former Greenbrier teammates are going through. He battled past a preseason knee operation (torn ACL) and posted a solid freshman season at the University of Georgia.
The Bulldogs coaching staff did not even expect Poythress to play last season. But he appeared in 45 games (starting 38) and hit .282 with three homers and 24 RBI. He hit .318 in SEC games and by mid-season had taken over the starting job at first base.
He followed that up with a huge summer. His play in the Coastal Plains League was amazing, and he nearly won the league's triple crown. He was named the league's top pro prospect by Baseball America .
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound Poythress wasted little time proving he was not going to have a sophomore slump. Georgia opened its season with a three-game series vs. Arizona, the nation's top-ranked team.
Poythress had a big weekend for the Bulldogs, who dropped two in a row after taking the opener. He was 5-for-8 with a homer and had five walks.
He continued his torrid pace as the Bulldogs traveled across the country to play three games against two-time defending national champion Oregon State. Poythress went 6-for-13 in the series as Georgia lost two of three.
Poythress is hitting a team-best .524 on the season and is second on the team with two homers. He also leads the team in RBI (seven) and on base percentage (.593).
Poythress has put up those numbers against two of the nation's best teams, so an All-SEC-caliber year could be on tap.
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