May 8, 2008
ATLANTA – The 25th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team (34-14, 12-12 ACC) will close out its home schedule this weekend by hosting Clemson (25-23-1, 10-16-1 ACC) for a three-game series beginning at 7 p.m. Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium The two teams will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday before closing out the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Prior to Sunday’ game, the Yellow Jackets will honor Brad Feltes, Brad Rulon, Jesse Dubberly and manager Josh Smith, all seniors with this year’s team. Since Sunday is also Mother’s Day, the Georgia Tech baseball players will be joined by their mothers on the field prior to the game to honor the tireless efforts of these special women over the years.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off an exciting 11-1 victory at No. 8 Georgia Wednesday, which helped Georgia Tech win the season series over its arch rival for the first time since the 2002 season. Clemson also picked up a victory Wednesday night, defeating Furman, 11-5, in Greenville.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Clemson)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (6-2, 4.18) vs. RHP D.J. Mitchell (5-3, 3.17)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (5-4, 5.79) vs. RHP Graham Stoneburner (5-3, 4.52)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (6-3, 3.39) vs. TBA
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.372, 8 HR, 35 RBI, 17 SB), junior DH Luke Murton (.359-10-39-3), freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.350-3-19-21) and freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.341-14-57-3). Sophomore 1B Tony Plagman and senior 3B Brad Feltes have also been big offensive threats, with 15 and 13 home runs, respectively.
Game Coverage: Saturday’s game will be aired by CSS as well as Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic (Dish Network 424 / DirecTV 629), while the first and third games of the series can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.com). Radio coverage for the entire series will be available on 790 the Zone, while live stats for all Tech baseball games can be found at Ramblinwreck.com.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have won seven of their last nine games, batting .343 with 30 home runs and 22 doubles during that span. The Jackets’ offense has been on a tear over the last 12 games, hitting .349 with 38 home runs, 35 doubles and a triple comprising 74 of Tech’s 153 hits during the 8-4 run. The Jackets have been led by a pair of outfielders, as redshirt junior right fielder Charlie Blackmon is batting a team-best .446 with four home runs, five doubles and five stolen bases while freshman center fielder Jeff Rowland has hit .417 with a pair of doubles, one home run and nine stolen bases during the last 12 games. Five Yellow Jackets have hit at least five home runs in the span, including Luke Murton, Tony Plagman and Brad Feltes, who all have six. Jason Haniger and Thomas Nichols have added five apiece in the last 12, while Blackmon and Derek Dietrich have belted four. The Jackets have hit an ACC-best 83 home runs while the Tech pitching staff has limited opponents to a .268 average and given up just 44 home runs in 2008. For the year, closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best eight saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have combined for 34 scoreless appearances in relief. Tech returned to the national rankings this week following a two-week hiatus, standing at No. 25 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll.
Clemson – Despite being swept by Florida State in a series at home last weekend, the Tigers enter Atlanta winners of six of their last nine games following an 11-5 victory over Furman at Greenville, S.C. on Wednesday night. Clemson is 7-3-1 after snapping an 11-game losing streak in mid-April and 10-16-1 in league games. The Clemson offense is being led by Ben Paulsen, who is batting .326 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI on the year. D.J. Mitchell, Graham Stoneburner and Ryan Hinson have combined to start 32 of Clemson’s 49 games this season, and have accounted for 12 of the Tigers’ 25 wins this season. The Tigers have posted a 1-13 record against ranked opponents in 2008, with the one win coming against Coastal Carolina in mid-March.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Clemson leads, 96-94-3)
The Tigers hold a slim 96-94-3 lead over the Yellow Jackets in a series that dates to the 1902 season. Georgia Tech has played Clemson more than any other ACC opponent in baseball history, and the two teams will be meeting for the 194th time in history Friday night.
Each team holds the upper-hand on their home field, as Georgia Tech is 66-39-2 against the Tigers in games played on the Jackets’ home field, and just 19-41-1 in games played in Clemson.
Tech and Georgia have squared off 54 times since the arrival of head coach Danny Hall in 1994, with the Tigers holding the 30-24 edge in the series under the Tech skipper. Hall arrived at Georgia Tech the same year that Clemson hired Jack Leggett as its head coach.
Clemson earned a series win over the Yellow Jackets a year ago in Clemson, but Georgia Tech escaped a sweep by stopping the Tigers, 6-3, in the finale. Prior to that, the Jackets’ last regular-season series loss to the Tigers came in 2003 when Clemson swept Tech in South Carolina. The Yellow Jackets have won each of the last five home series against the Tigers, as Clemson’s last series win at Russ Chandler Stadium came during the 1996 season.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 5-6 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2007 but has won 11 games against Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, Georgia State, Mercer and Georgia to start 11-0 against state of Georgia opponents this season. Tech still has one game remaining on its schedule against a Georgia team this season, next week against the Bulldogs at Turner Field
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 7 in the nation in the most updated RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA releases its RPI just once a week – Tech’s latest ranking in that was No. 9 when it was released Sunday, May 3).
The Yellow Jacket offense has already hit 83 home runs in 2008, which is 33 more than Georgia Tech hit in all of 2007. Tech’s 83 home runs leads all conference teams, and ranks tied for fourth in the nation.
Tech hit three home runs at Georgia Wednesday, 10 home runs in the three-game series against Coastal Carolina, eight home runs in the weekend series against Wake Forest and eight home runs in a single game at Mercer for a total of 29 home runs in its last eight games. The Yellow Jackets have homered in 16-straight games entering the weekend and have 21 multi-home run games in 2008, including 10 of the last 12.
Holding Opponents to 6 or Less
Georgia Tech is 32-0 on the season when holding opponents to six or fewer runs, but when Yellow Jacket pitchers have allowed seven or more runs, Tech is 2-14. Those two victories came in the last month – a 14-8 win at Georgia Southern and a 16-9 victory at Mercer.