Freshman right fielder Ryan Peurifoy has made a surprising impact on the team in the first ten games of his college career. He has started in ten of the Jackets’ 12 games so far this year, posting ten hits, six RBIs and a .313 batting average. His .469 slugging percentage and his on-base percentage of .368 are near the top of the team. He has even stolen two bases already on this young season, making him a threat on the base paths that opposing pitchers must keep in mind.
Peurifoy is replacing All-American right fielder Daniel Palka, who led the Jackets last season with 17 home runs and tied for the team lead with 66 RBIs. Palka is now in Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Peurifoy joins other members of Tech’s freshman class, such as infielders Elliot Barzilli and Brandon Gold, who have seen significant playing time. Barzilli has played in as many games as Puerifoy and has posted slightly lower numbers, while Gold is shaping up to be the team’s every-day starter at third base. Peurifoy recognizes the talent that Tech has brought in this season and feels that with more experience they will be even better.
“I think we’re very strong, freshman-wise,” Peurifoy said. “I think we have a lot of potential for the future. This year, we have to try to get some experience and learn the game quickly so we can be a factor this season and help the team out as much as we can.”
He says that the main difference between high school and college baseball is the skill level of the opposing pitching. He admits that he started out a little anxious at the plate but is continuing to improve with every at bat. Overall, he feels that the pace of the game is much faster in college and says that he is still trying to make that adjustment.
It shows in his early season performance—he failed to record a hit in his first two games and sat out some games before finally recording his first hit in his third career start. Then he drastically improved, lighting up the scoreboard against UNC Greensboro in the second weekend series of the year, recording two multi-hit games and batting 6-for-10 overall, driving in three runs.
Peurifoy has been a lifelong fan of all of Tech’s sports teams. His father George Peurifoy played golf for the Jackets in the early 1980s.
“It’s pretty surreal, just coming out every day and being able to walk out onto the field and see the skyline in the background and participate for Georgia Tech, which my Dad also went to,” Peurifoy said. “I’ve always been a Tech fan; I’ve come to games a lot before. It’s exciting to be a part of it and I just hope I can do my best and help the team win.”
As is the case for any Tech athlete, the litmus test is based on how well he or she performs in the games against Georgia. Peurifoy had the chance to make his mark this past Tuesday in Athens, but the Bulldogs shut him and the Jackets down. He went 0-for-4 in the game, and the Jackets lost 1-0 due to a walk-off single in the ninth inning. The Jackets managed only three hits in the game.
Heading into that game, Peurifoy said that he did not know what to expect from the Bulldog faithful. He said that he expected to be heckled and that he was both a little nervous and excited about his first opportunity to play his lifelong rival team.
After his first taste of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate, Peurifoy and the Jackets will see their first ACC action of the season this weekend as they host Wake Forest in a three game series.