No. 1 Tech Baseball Travels to Savannah for Diamond Classic

Feb. 20, 2003

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Georgia Tech, the nation’s top-ranked team according to Baseball America, travels to Savannah for a three-game round robin event in the Memorial Health Diamond Classic at Greyson Stadium. Other teams in the field are Rider, Michigan and host Armstrong State. Tech will take on Rider on Friday at 12:30 p.m., then face Michigan on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and play Armstrong State on Sunday at 3 p.m. The Yellow Jackets are traveling to Savannah to play baseball for the first time in school history.

Live statistics for all of Georgia Tech’s games in 2003 can be found on www.RamblinWreck.com.

GEORGIA TECH UPDATE (3-0, 0-0 ACC)

Georgia Tech is off to a 3-0 start largely due to the success of their pitching staff. The unit has posted a 1.67 ERA in three games, and is holding its opponents to a .170 batting average. LHP Kyle Bakker (1-0, 1.50) is the ace of the Tech staff, while the bullpen has combined for a 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .136 batting average. Tech pitchers have walked just six batters in 27 innings of work.

Offensively, the Yellow Jackets have been led by C Mike Nickeas (.444-0-4) and 2B Eric Patterson (.357-1-4). Despite batting .270 through the first three games of the year, Tech is averaging 8.3 runs per game. First baseman Clifton Remole (.357-0-1), RF Jeremy Slayden (.300-1-4) and 3B Jake Hall (.500-0-1) have all gotten off to good starts in the 2003 season.

Head coach Danny Hall is in his 10th season at Georgia Tech, and he needs just one more win to reach 400 in his Yellow Jacket career.

SCOUTING THE DIAMOND CLASSIC FIELD

Armstrong Atlantic State is off to a 9-0 start in the 2003, and the Pirates are ranked No. 14 in the current Division II Collegiate Baseball poll. The Pirates, who are coming off a three-game sweep of Lewis last weekend, are batting .372 as a team and have a 2.10 collective ERA. Both Michigan and Rider will be opening their seasons this weekend in Savannah.

Georgia Tech is expected to face Michigan’s Drew_Taylor, a Tech transfer, on Saturday and Armstrong State’s Jon Dobyns (3-0, 2.12 ERA) on Sunday.

QUOTING DANNY HALL

ON PLAYING IN GAMES IN SAVANNAH:

“It will be a great trip. We are going to play an opponent in Rider who played in their conference championship game last year. Michigan has a great history. Armstrong is a great Division II power, and I know that they beat Georgia in this tournament last year. As important to the games is that there are a lot of Georgia Tech people who live in Savannah and they have a strong alumni club there as well.”

ON HIS ASSESSMENT OF THE CLUB THROUGH THREE GAMES:

“All of our pitchers have thrown well and that’s encouraging. If we pitch well then we will have a chance to win every game that we play. We have played very good defense and I have been especially impressed with the way that Tyler Greene and Eric Patterson have played in the middle of the infield, and I have been pleased with our two catchers. I am a little disappointed with our hitting, we have some guys who haven’t gotten in a groove. But it’s encouraging to know that we have won three games and haven’t hit as good as I know we are capable of hitting. If we get our hitting clicking then we have a chance to be an outstanding team.”

ON THE PERFORMANCE OF TECH’S FRESHMAN CLASS THUS FAR:

“I think we have a great freshman class and it was ranked No. 1 in the country for good reason. Micah Owings and Jason Neighborgall have already contributed on the mound. Andy Hawranick had a big day at Georgia Southern, Tyler Greene has been outstanding, and Steven Blackwood keeps getting hits. All of those guys have contributed, and I am very excited about how good these guys are going to be.”

STARTTING PITCHER NOTES:

Friday: KYLE BAKKER (LHP) 1-0, 1.50 ERA

Junior Kyle Bakker will start Tech’s first game in the Memorial Health Diamond Classic on Friday afternoon against Rider. Bakker is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 2003 after earning a win over Georgia Southern in the season opener last weekend in Statesboro where he worked six innings and allowed just one run.

The ace of Tech’s staff, Bakker is 18-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 186 career innings pitched, and he currently stands as the top control pitcher in Georgia Tech history with a rate of 1.65 walks per nine innings. Bakker enters the Friday’s game having won five consecutive decisions, and he has not suffered a defeat since April 26, 2002 against Virginia.

A preseason All-America in 2003, Bakker earned second team All-America honors in 2002 after earning Freshman All-America honors in 2001. The 6-9 lefty spent the summer of 2002 with the USA Baseball National team, and he posted a 3-2 record and a 2.14 ERA in six starts.

Saturday: CHRIS GOODMAN (RHP) 0-0, 5.79 ERA

Senior Chris Goodman will get the ball in game two of the weekend event in Savannah. The 6-0 right hander ended the 2002 season as Tech’s No. 2 starter, and he posted an 8-2 record and a 4.41 ERA in 81.2 innings of work. He did not get a decision in his first start of the 2003 season, allowing three runs in 4.2 innings last weekend at Georgia Southern.

A transfer from NC State following the 2000 season, Goodman made the successful conversion from shortstop to pitcher last season. Goodman pitched one inning of relief in the series at Georgia Southern last year, allowing two runs on three hits in his collegiate pitching debut.

Goodman spent the summer of 2002 with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League, posting a 2.61 ERA in 20.2 innings of work.

GEORGIA TECH vs. THE CLASSIC FIELD

GEORGIA TECH vs. RIDER

Rider leads, 1-0

Georgia Tech and Rider have met on only one previous occasion, and the Broncs took an 8-5 decision in the opening round of the 1987 Northeast Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium.

GEORGIA TECH vs. MICHIGAN

Michigan leads, 3-1

Georgia Tech and Michigan have met on four previous occasions, with the Wolverines holding a 3-1 lead in the series. The first game between the two schools came in 1912, when Michigan took a 5-4 decision over Tech at Ponce de Leon Park in Atlanta. The two schools did not meet again until Michigan came to Russ Chandler Stadium for a three-game series in 1995. After Tech won the opening game of the series, 15-8, the Wolverines bounced back with an 8-6 win in game two and a 27-5 win in game three.

Like Rider, Michigan was also in the 1987 Northeast Regional in Atlanta, although the Yellow Jackets and Wolverines did not face each other in that tournament.

GEORGIA TECH vs. ARMSTRONG STATE

Series tied, 2-2

Georgia Tech and Armstrong Atlantic State have played four times, and the all-time series is tied 2-2. All four previous games in the series have taken place in Atlanta, however. Tech won 11-8 in 1981 and took an 8-6 victory in 1988. The Pirates swept a two-game series in 1986, winning 13-12 and 7-6.

HALL APPROACHES 400 WINS AT TECH

Head coach Danny Hall enters Friday’s game against Rider with 399 wins in his 10 years at Georgia Tech, and he needs just one more victories to become the second coach in school history to reach the 400-victory plateau. Jim Morris won 504 games from 1982-93 to rank as the winningest coach in school history. Hall’s winning percentage of .699 (399-172) is currently the best in school history behind Morris’ mark of .674 (504-244-1).

In 17 years as a head coach at Kent State and Georgia Tech, Hall’s career record currently stands at 607-289 (.678).

TECH IN SAVANNAH

For the first time in its 108-year history, the Georgia Tech baseball team in playing in Savannah this weekend in the Memorial Health Diamond Classic. In fact, according to all available records, a Georgia Tech men’s team (including football, basketball and baseball) will be playing in Savannah for the first time since the basketball team made two trips to the city in the mid 1920’s. The last time any Georgia Tech team played in Savannah occurred in the late 1970’s when the school’s women’s basketball program made several trips to the area before joining NCAA Division I.

1987 NORTHEAST REGIONAL REMATCH

With Georgia Tech, Michigan and Rider all playing in this weekend’s event, it will mark a reunion of three of the six teams that participated in the 1987 NCAA Northeast Regional at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta. Georgia Tech was the No. 1 seed in that regional, Michigan was the No. 2 seed and Rider was the No. 6 seed. Other teams in the tournament were No. 3 seed Georgia, No. 4 seed Fordham, and No. 5 seed Dartmouth.

Rider defeated Georgia Tech, 8-5, in the first round of the Regional, while Dartmouth stopped Michigan, 4-0. In fact, all three of the higher seeds lost in the first day, as Fordham defeated Georgia, 5-3. Georgia won the Regional after defeating Dartmouth, 13-5, in the finals.

Tech head coach Danny Hall was an assistant at Michigan during the 1987 Northeast Regional.

Several future Major Leaguers played in the regional, including Tech’s Jim Poole and Riccardo Ingram, Michigan’s Jim Abbott, Georgia’s Cris Carpenter and Derek Lilliquist, and Dartmouth’s Mike Remlinger.

1987 NCAA Northeast Regional ResultsRound 1, Game 1:        Rider 8, Georgia Tech 5Round 1, Game 2:        Fordham 5, Georgia 3Round 1, Game 3:        Dartmouth 4, Michigan 0Round 2, Game 4:        Georgia 5, Georgia Tech 1Round 2, Game 5:        Michigan 10, Rider 0Round 2, Game 6:        Fordham 4, Dartmouth 2Round 3, Game 7:        Rider 6, Dartmouth 3Round 3, Game 8:        Georgia 10, Michigan 8Round 3, Game 9:        Rider 12, Fordham 0Round 4, Game 10:       Georgia 10, Fordham 4Round 4, Game 11:       Georgia 13, Rider 5

VERSUS THE STATE OF GEORGIA

Georgia Tech is 3-0 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2003, and Tech posted a 13-1 mark against its in-state rivals during the 2002 season. Tech is 2-0 against Georgia Southern and 1-0 against Mercer this year.

Since 1999, Georgia Tech owns a 45-8 (.849) record against its in-state foes. The Yellow Jackets are 87-25 (.777) against teams from Georgia in 10 years under head coach Danny Hall.

PITCHING SHINES IN EARLY GAMES

Georgia Tech’s 3-0 start to the 2003 season is due largely to the success of the Yellow Jacket pitching staff. The unit, which has seen nine players take the mound in the first three games of the year, has combined for a 1.67 ERA, allowing just five runs in 27 innings. Tech pitchers are holding opponents to a .170 batting average. More impressively, the staff has walked just six batters in three games, holding opponents to a .250 on base percentage.

The Tech bullpen has been especially effective through the first three games, posting a 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings.

PATTERSON CLIMBS TECH STOLEN BASE CHARTS

Sophomore second baseman Eric Patterson has stolen three bases this season, raising his career total to 44 steals in 70 career games. Patterson’s 44 stolen bases already ranks 11th in Tech history, and he can climb into the school’s all-time top five with just 22 more stolen bases. Ty Griffin (1986-88) holds the school record with 127 stolen bases.

Patterson’s 41 steals as a freshman in 2002 was the second highest single season total in school history.

TECH PICKED FIRST IN ACC PRESEASON COACHES POLL

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s nine head coaches selected Georgia Tech as the top pick to win the conference championship in 2003 with six first place votes and a total of 77 points. Florida State finished a close second with 73 points and two first place votes.

Wake Forest finished in third place tallying 65 points and one first place vote. Clemson filled the fourth place slot with 54 points, while North Carolina placed fifth in the balloting with 41 points. The Tar Heels were followed by NC State who finished with 30 points and then Virginia with 29 points. Duke was selected to finish eighth with 19 points and Maryland ninth with 17 points.

TECH OPENS SEASON WITH NO. 1 NATIONAL RANKING

For the second time in the last three years, and for the third time in 10 years under head coach Danny Hall, Georgia Tech opened the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Tech opened as the top team in the polls in 1994 with a team that featured Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Jay Payton and lost in the national championship game to Oklahoma. The 2001 team, led by first-round picks Mark Teixeira and Richard Lewis, started No. 1 but failed to advance pas the NCAA Regionals after suffering through an injury-riddled season.

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