Duquesne Visits No. 15 Tech Baseball for Three-Game Series

Feb. 22, 2007

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 15th-ranked baseball team will look to rebound this weekend when they host Duquesne in a three-game series beginning Friday at 4 p.m. The Yellow Jackets and Dukes will play Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Jackets (3-4) have had a rough couple of weeks to begin the season, and are coming off a 9-5 loss to cross-town rival Georgia State Wednesday afternoon, while the Dukes open their 2007 campaign this weekend in Atlanta.

The Yellow Jacket offense is led by outfielders Wally Crancer (.471-2-4), Danny Payne (.423-1-7) and Curtis Dupart (.368-0-7) and Tech, as a team, is hitting .286 on the year.

GAME COVERAGE: Live video for Friday and Saturday’s games can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv), the premier online video streaming service of the Atlantic Coast Conference, while both games can also be heard on the Georgia Tech Radio Network, WREK-FM 91.1 (www.wrek.org). Live statistics for the entire series will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.

Jackets’ Offense Key to Early Successes

The Yellow Jackets led the ACC with a .319 batting average during the 2004 season and a .333 team average in 2005. In 2006, Georgia Tech finished fourth in the league with a .318 average, as only 15 points separated the Jackets from NC State, who led the ACC with a .333 average.

Despite losing players that made up over 50 percent of Tech’s hits, runs, home runs and RBI’s from a year ago, Tech is relying on the strength of their offense early on in 2007, returning four starters that hit .320 or above in 2006 while adding three talented freshmen to the mix.

The Jackets opened 2007 with a pair of losses at Georgia Southern, struggling with just a .217 average. Since then, the offense has warmed, hitting .320 with 19 extra-base hits in four games last week, including a .342 clip against Illinois-Chicago over the weekend.

When the Jackets aren’t hitting, however, the team tends to struggle. If the Jackets hit .300 or above, they are 2-1 on the season, but when hitting below .300, Tech is just 1-3. Tech’s only win when hitting below .300 occurred in a 10-inning affair against Kennesaw State, while their only loss while hitting above .300 came when Illinois-Chicago scored nine runs in the ninth inning to take an 11-4 victory.

        Yellow Jackets' Hitting in 2007        Opponent             Result  Avg.    Opponent                Result  Avg.        Kennesaw State  W       .250    Georgia Southern        L       .182        Illinois-Chicago        W       .342    Georgia Southern        L       .258        Illinois-Chicago        W       .351    Illinois-Chicago        L       .333                                        Georgia State   L       .281

Overall, Tech has hit over .300 as a team in 22 of the last 24 years, and has averaged at least seven runs per game every year since 1981. Tech has led the ACC in batting in six years (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005) under Danny Hall.

Duncan & Turner Becoming Steady in Weekend Starting Roles

Following a rocky first weekend in which starters David Duncan and Ryan Turner combined for an 0-2 record and 7.45 ERA, the tandem shined last week against Illinois-Chicago, as the Flames hit just .186 against the duo in 12 innings. The two combined for a 1.50 ERA last weekend, giving up a total of two runs on eight hits while striking out 12.

Overall on the year, Duncan and Turner have combined for a 4.15 ERA while holding opponents to below a .300 average.

Avoiding the Big Inning

Two of Georgia Tech’s four losses have one common theme, a big inning early for the opponents which forced the Yellow Jackets to play catch-up the entire game.

  Early Big Innings in Georgia Tech's Losses        Date    Opponent                Score   Big Inning      Score after 3rd Inn.        Feb. 10 at Ga. Southern L, 4-11 4 (2nd)         0-6        Feb. 21 Georgia State   L, 5-9  5 (2nd)         4-6

Tech’s other two losses were as a result of big innings late in the game, including a two-out nine-run uprising by Illinois-Chicago last weekend.

        Other Big Innings in Georgia Tech's Losses        Date    Opponent                Score   Big Inning        Feb. 11 at Ga. Southern L, 4-11 4 (5th)        Feb. 17 Illinois-Chicago        L, 4-11 9 (9th)**

**Tech led the entire game against Illinois-Chicago, but the Flames scored nine unearned runs, all with two outs in the ninth inning, to defeat Georgia Tech, 11-4, in the second game of a three-game series in February.

Team to Go Bald for Charity

The 2007 Georgia Tech baseball team has joined forces with the St. Baldrick’s foundation to raise money to fund cancer research for kids. The team has set the goal of raising at least $5,000 by St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Baldrick’s Day, as coined by the organization. For every $250 raised by March 17, one Georgia Tech baseball player will shave his head in a head-shaving “ceremony” after the game. To date, fans have donated over $3,600 to the cause, resulting in at least 14 players to have their heads shaved after the Boston College baseball game on 3/17. For more information, go to http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/event_info.html?EventID=121.

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