Georgia Tech Continues ACC Play at Duke

March 31, 2011

Game Notes

ATLANTA – The sixth-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will continue Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend at Duke with a three-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. First pitch is at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Duke)
Friday: RHP Mark Pope (6-0, 0.59, 45.2 IP, 41 SO) vs. LHP Dillon Haviland (1-1, 1.64, 22.0, 13 SO)
Saturday: LHP Jed Bradley (3-0, 1.67, 37.2 IP, 51 SO) vs. RHP Dennis O’Grady (4-1, 4.50, 34.0, 27 SO)
Sunday: RHP Buck Farmer (4-1, 1.91, 37.2 IP, 42 SO) vs. Marcus Stroman (1-1. 3.42, 23.2 IP, 30 SO)

BROADCAST INFORMATION
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at RamblinWreck.com.

SERIES PREVIEW

Georgia Tech (21-5, 9-0 ACC) enters the week ranked as high asNo. 5 in the Perfect Game USA Top-25 poll. The Jackets are alsoranked in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (6), USA Today/ESPNCoaches’ (10), National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association(12) and Baseball America (14) polls. Tech has won 16 of its last17 after having its 16-game win streak snapped in a 4-2 loss toMercer on Tuesday … The Jackets are the only team to remainunbeaten in ACC play with a 9-0 record in conference action.Friday’s game will mark the 108th all-time meeting between the twoschools in a series that dates back to 1903 … Tech swept allthree games of the 2010 series at Russ Chandler Stadium. Thisweekend’s matchup will pit the two youngest team’s in the nationagainst each other, as Georgia Tech ranks first in the BCS in totalfreshmen (17) and Duke first in the nation in youngest percentageof freshmen to total roster (56-percent) … Georgia Tech’s 17newcomers makeup 50-percent of their roster, the second youngestratio. Duke returns 11 letterwinners and four starters from a 2010team that went 29-27 and finished sixth in the ACC Coastal divisionin 2010. The Blue Devils (15-12, 2-7 ACC) will look to snap aneight game losing skid this weekend … Duke is coming off a 4-1midweek loss to Campbell on Tuesday.

SERIES HISTORY
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series by a 80-27 record … The Jackets are 27-12 against Duke on the road and 46-11 overall since head coach Danny Hall’s arrival on the Flats in 1994 … Tech won all three meetings in 2010.

Last Meeting: Chase Burnette hit two home runs, and led seven different batters with extra-base hits as the second-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team swept Duke with a 9-4 win on April 4, 2010 at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Tech hit four home runs on the day, led by Burnette’s two. The Jackets hit 10 round-trippers on the weekend alone.

QUICK HITS

Georgia Tech currently leads the Atlantic Coast Conference inhitting (.330) and are second in pitching (2.11 ERA) … Enteringthe week, Tech’s batting average was the sixth best figure in thenation while the team’s ERA was the eighth lowest in the country.Freshman centerfielder Kyle Wren leads the ACC in hits (47) and runs scored (32), andranks third in batting average (.431) … Wren has he third mosthits in the country, and his batting average is the 15th best …Junior Matt Skole (.413) and Jake Davies (.386) are fourth and fifth, respectively in theconference. Skole and sophomore SamDove are both currently on nine game hit streaks … Dove hasrecorded a hit in every game since becoming a full-time starter inleft field on March 16 against Georgia Southern. Junior Mark Pope (6-0), the Jackets Friday starter, leads the ACC infive different categories: Wins (6), Innings Pitched (45.2), ERA(0.56), Complete games (2) and shutouts (2) … Pope has allowedjust three earned runs all season, and tossed 36 2/3 consecutiveinnings without allowing an earned run from Feb. 18 to March 25 …All three weekend starters have combined for an 13-1 record, and a1.36 ERA. Pope’s .905 career winning percentage (19-2) is the bestin school history for a pitcher with at least 10 wins … LaFitteheld the previous record in a two-year career from 1906-1907. Techis coming off its first weekend series sweep over Miami since the1967 season, and the first ever on Miami’s home turf … TheJackets won every weekend series this season, and swept five in arow … Tech is the only remaining undefeated team in ACC play.

YELLOW JACKETS IN THE RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 3 in the nation in the latest Pseudo-RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA has not yet released its RPI.)

The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the most updated RPI, with five teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Virginia, ranked No. 2 in the country in the RPI, leads all conference teams while Georgia Tech (3), North Carolina (4), Florida State (10) and Clemson (11) all rank in the top 25.

MARCH-ING ON
The Month of March was very promising for Danny Hall’s ball club, as the Jackets went 16-2 in the second month of the season. After losing the first game of the month, Tech went on to win 16 straight before losing on March 29. It has historically been the best month in all of coach Hall’s 18 years. Tech is 248-71 (.777) in March since 1994.

QUITE A HOME STRETCH
Georgia Tech concluded a 16-game home stand with the NC State series on March 20. The Jackets had quite a strong showing on the Flats during the stretch, going 14-2 and running a streak of 12 straight wins. Tech outscored its opponents 128-48 over the 16 games.

TOP OF THE HEAP
There’s no secret to Georgia Tech’s success thus far in 2011 — good hitting and good pitching. Through 26 games, the Yellow Jackets are at the top in hitting and second in pitching in the ACC, boasting a .330 team batting average, with a league-high 304 hits and a .476 slugging average. The Jackets also are getting it done on the mound. They are the only team to have two complete games — Mark Pope has both. The Jackets’ 55 earned runs are the second fewest allowed in the league, while Tech pitchers have whiffed 240 batters, third in the conference.

STARTING THREE ARE KEY
Georgia Tech’s weekend rotation of Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer has keyed the team’s success so far this season. The 1-2-3 punch is 13-1 on the season, holding a combined 1.36 ERA, having allowed just 18 earned runs in 121 innings. Pope has led the crew with a conference-leading 0.59 earned run average (seventh in the nation), and has yielded just three earned runs all year (45.2 IP). Bradley leads the crew in strikeouts with 51, while Farmer (42) and Pope (41) are close behind.

POPE PAVES THE WAY ON FRIDAY
Junior Mark Pope has pitched the Jackets to a huge advantage in each series this season. The Marietta, Ga. native has allowed just three earned runs (six runs total) in 45.2 innings. His six wins are tied for the most in the nation, while his 0.59 ERA ranks seventh.

Pope’s most glaring statistic is his strikeout to walk ratio, which sits at 41:5. He has issued 0.99 walks per nine innings pitched. He set the single-season record for fewest walks per nine innings in 2010 at 1.43.

Pope has made a habit of pitching complete games recently, tossing back-to-back complete game shutouts against Rutgers and Maryland this season. He has three career shutouts, which tie for the most in school history.

….AND LEADS IN CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGE
With an 8-3 win over Miami, Pope improved his career record to 19-2 overall. His .904 winning percentage moved him into first place on the all-time list at Georgia Tech for a pitcher with a minimum of 10 wins.

Pope surpassed Ed LaFitte (18-2, .900), who set the record in a two-year career that from 1906-1907.

TABLE-SETTER
Freshman Kyle Wren has been the “table-setter” for the very young Yellow Jacket squad in 2011. Tech’s leadoff man leads the conference in hits (47) and runs scored (32). Wren has reached base safely in 25 of the 26 games, with at least one hit in 23 of them. The freshman centerfielder has 14 multi-hit games on the season. He had five hits against Maryland on March 12, which tied for the most by an ACC player in a game this season.

SKOLE TAKING FLIGHT
With a .413 batting average on the season, Junior Matt Skole is showing the form that made him a preseason All-America candidate.

In the last nine games, he’s hitting .526 (20-for-38) with six doubles, two homers, 18 RBIs and a .842 slugging percentage.

Skole begins the weekend leading the conference total bases (64) and is second in RBIs (32), doubles (11), on-base percentage (.526), slugging percentage (.696), tied for second in home runs (5), tied for third in walks (22) and fourth in hits (38).

He had a monster game against Georgia on March 22, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (one grand slam) and eight RBI. The eight RBI are the most by an ACC player in a game this season.

DAVIES’ PROVIDES RELIEF IN ANOTHER WAY
Entering the 2011 season, the Jackets had big shoes to fill at first base after the departure of All-American Tony Plagman. Junior Jake Davies, who served as one of the primary relievers in the bullpen the past two seasons with over 40 career appearances on the mound, has blossomed into the new role as Tech’s everyday first baseman.

Davies had just eight hits in 37 at-bats over the past two seasons, but is now third on the team in average with a .386 clip (32-for-83). He has seven doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI in 19 starts. Tech is 18-1 in games which Davies has started, and 18-0 when he has started at first base.

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