Jackets Host Terps in Weekend Series

March 29, 2007

ATLANTA – The Yellow Jacket baseball team returns to conference action this weekend when they host Maryland in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Jackets and Terrapins will close out the series with a pair of 1 p.m. games Saturday and Sunday.

GAME COVERAGE: All three games can be followed on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv) and heard on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org) while live stats are available at www.ramblinwreck.com.

Georgia Tech (16-11, 5-4 ACC) will be looking for its third-straight ACC series victory after taking each of the last two against Boston College and Duke. After beginning the season 9-9, the Yellow Jackets have won three in a row, and five of their last six games. Maryland (18-8, 5-4 ACC) enters the game having won six of its last seven contests, including two of three over the Clemson Tigers last weekend.

Over the last nine games, the Yellow Jackets have posted a 7-2 record as the Georgia Tech pitching staff has held opponents to just 2.33 runs per game and a .218 average.

Pitching Matchup (GT vs. Md)Friday:  LHP David Duncan (4-2, 3.40) vs. LHP Casey Baron (3-1, 3.59)Saturday:  RHP John Goodman (1-1, 2.84) vs. RHP Ryan Moorer (3-0, 2.29)Sunday:  LHP Ryan Turner (2-3, 3.89) vs. RHP Kevin Biringer (2-4, 4.65)

The Yellow Jacket offense is led by outfielders Danny Payne (.412-2-17-11) and Wally Crancer (.362-4-20), SS Michael Fisher (.351-2-24-4) and catcher Matt Wieters (.311-5-28). Georgia Tech, as a team, is hitting .284 on the year.

Georgia Tech leads Maryland, 59-21

Georgia Tech leads Maryland, 59-21, in a series that dates to 1921. The Yellow Jackets and Terrapins have played a three-game series every year since 1994.

Last season, Maryland won the series against the Jackets, 2-1, in College Park, recording back-to-back wins (6-3, 8-5) over Georgia Tech for the first time since 1983 after the Jackets won the series opener, 15-4.

Tech has held the edge in Atlanta with a 34-6 record vs. the Terps at Russ Chandler Stadium, including winning 17 of the last 18 games. The Terps broke the Jackets 17-game home winning streak against Maryland in the series finale two years ago, pulling out a 2-1 win to avoid the series sweep.

The Yellow Jackets are 34-6 (.850) against Maryland under head coach Danny Hall.

Over the last five years, Georgia Tech has scored 182 runs (11.38 pg) against Maryland while the Terps have been held to 77 runs in 16 games, under 10 runs in every game, and fewer than five runs on eight occasions.

Pitching Shines Over Last Nine Games

Despite a rough start to the season, the Yellow Jacket pitching staff has been the key component in the Yellow Jackets’ success of late, posting a 1.80 ERA while holding opponents to a .218 average through the last nine games.

Tech Pitching Over the Last Nine Games:Opponent                        R       ER      ERA     opp avgBoston College, Mar. 16 0       0       0.00    .129Boston College, Mar. 17 2       2       2.00    .265Boston College, Mar. 18 9       7       7.00    .294at Georgia State, Mar. 21       0       0       0.00    .172at Duke, Mar. 23                2       1       1.00    .235at Duke, Mar. 24                3       2       2.25    .233at Duke, Mar. 25                1       1       1.00    .212Georgia Southern, Mar. 27       2       1       1.00    .200Georgia Southern, Mar. 28       2       2       2.00    .207TOTALS                  21      16      1.80    .218

During the span, Tech is 7-0 when Yellow Jacket pitchers have held its opponent to less than three runs, but 0-2 in the two games when they’ve scored three or more.

Starting Pitching Bounces Back from Tough Start

With opponents hitting a solid .328 against Georgia Tech’s starting pitching in the month of February, Georgia Tech went 6-5 while the Yellow Jacket starters averaged a 6.08 ERA. To say there has been an improvement in March would be an understatement, as the starting pitchers have posted a 3.10 ERA in the first 15 games of the month while holding opponents to a .270 average.

Perhaps most notable, however, is the starting pitching through the last eight games, as the four Yellow Jacket starters (David Duncan, John Goodman, Ryan Turner, Eddie Burns, Jared Hyatt) have combined for a 1.04 ERA while holding opponents to a .216 average during that span.

Relying on a Veteran Bullpen

Georgia Tech’s pitching staff was bolstered by strong efforts from the bullpen in 2006, and that group returned essentially in tact in 2007. In 2006, the relievers pitched 258 innings in 68 games, posting a 3.56 ERA and a 21-7 record with 18 saves. In the five NCAA Regional & Super Regional games, Tech’s bullpen posted a 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings while recording two saves.

Bullpen Tale of the Tape in 2007Overall         W-L     SV      ERA     IP      ER      Opp avg.Georgia Tech    5-2     5       4.79    99.2    53      .272Opponents               6-4     6       5.86    116.2   76      .260
Some noteworthy performances for the Tech Bullpen this season:Opponent IP ER ERA opp avgKennesaw State, Feb. 13 9.1 1 0.96 .188Duquesne, Feb. 23 4.0 0 0.00 .000Rutgers, Mar. 3 7.1 2 2.45 .214Virginia Tech, Mar. 10 5.0 0 0.00 .188Georgia Southern, Mar. 28 6.0 1 1.50 .200

Starting Lineup is Anyone’s Guess

Through the first 27 games of the 2007 season, Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall has used 25 different lineup cards, with the only repeat coming against Rutgers the first weekend of March and vs. Kennesaw State in the middle of the month.

The only constant in every lineup has been that of preseason All-American Danny Payne, who has been Tech’s leadoff hitter and starting center fielder in every contest.

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