No. 12 Tech Baseball Set to Face Georgia on Tuesday

March 21, 2011

Game Notes

ATLANTA – The 12th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will hit the road for the first time in 16 games when it travels to Athens, Ga. to face arch-rival Georgia on Tuesday at Foley Field. The Yellow Jackets (17-4, 6-0 ACC) will put their 12-game win streak on the line when they face the Bulldogs, (9-11, 1-2 SEC) in a televised game on CSS at 7 p.m.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Georgia)
Tuesday: RHP Matthew Grimes (3-1, 4.84, 22.1 IP, 22 SO) vs. LHP Chase Hawkins (0-1, 6.48, 16.2 IP, 7 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.

LIVE STATS
Live stats for all home games and most road games will be available on RamblinWreck.com to both media and fans. Click the GameTracker logo on the website to see play-by-play, player/team stats and much more.

SERIES PREVIEW

Georgia Tech (17-4) enters the week ranked as high as No. 8 inthe Perfect Game USA Top-25 poll. The Jackets are also ranked inthe Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (12), USA Today/ESPN Coaches'(15), Baseball America (17) and National Collegiate BaseballWriter’s Association (22) polls. Tech is currently on a season-best12-game win streak after sweeping NC State in Atlantic CoastConference play over the weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium … TheJackets will hit the road for the first time in 16 games when theytravel to Athens to face Georgia … GT went 14-2 during the homestretch. Tuesday’s game will be the 351st all-time meeting betweenthe two schools in a series that dates back to 1898 … The YellowJackets went 3-0 against Georgia in 2010. Georgia returns 21letterwinners and seven position starters from a 2010 team thatfinished 16-37 overall and sixth in the SEC East. The Bulldogs(9-11, 1-2 SEC) went 1-2 against No. 4 South Carolina over theweekend to open Southeastern Conference play in Columbia, S.C. …Georgia is batting .254 as a team, led by Levi Hyams .358 average… The Bulldog hurlers currently own a combined 4.35 ERA in 173.2innings on the year.

SERIES HISTORY
Georgia holds a 196-152-2 all-time advantage in the series between the two schools … Tech has won four of the last five meetings, including three straight … The Jackets are 35-27 against the Bulldogs since head coach Danny Hall’s arrival on the Flats in 1994 … Georgia Tech went 3-0 against Georgia in 2010.

Last Meeting: Matt Skole and Evan Martin delivered big two-RBI hits in Georgia Tech’s six-run, eighth-inning outburst, carrying the fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets to a 6-4 victory in the ninth Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Spring Baseball Classic at Turner Field.

Tech won for just the second time in nine meetings between the two teams at Turner Field, before a crowd of 16,194 that braved a chilly and windy night and the threat of rain, and earned their first regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs since 1994. The Yellow Jackets took a 6-5 decision at Russ Chandler Stadium and a 25-6 win in Athens earlier in the season.

QUICK HITS

Georgia Tech currently leads the entire Atlantic CoastConference in both hitting (.336) and pitching (1.96 ERA) … Techand Miami are the only two teams that remain undefeated in leagueplay. Freshman centerfielder Kyle Wren leads the league in batting with a .477 average and41 hits … Wren’s 41 hits are seven more than the next closesttotal by any other player in the ACC … He also leads in runsscored with 27 … Junior Jacob Esch is tied for third in hits with 32 of his own, whilefreshman Daniel Palka ranks fifth (30). Palka is second in the ACC inRBI with 25, and tied for second in home runs with 5. JuniorMark Pope (5-0), the Jackets Friday starter, leads the ACC infour different categories: Wins (5), ERA (0.23), Complete games (2)and shutouts (2) … Pope has allowed just one earned run allseason, and has tossed 34.0 consecutive scoreless innings sincelast allowing an earned run to cross the plate … All threeweekend starters have combined for an 11-1 record, and a 1.28 ERA.Pope’s .900 career winning percentage (18-2) ties with him formerYellow Jacket Ed LaFitte for the best all-time percentage for aGeorgia Tech pitcher with at least 10 wins … LaFitte set therecord in a two-year career from 1906-1907.

GEORGIA TECH SWEEPS ACC WEEKLY HONORS
Mark Pope earned his second straight Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week honor, while Yellow Jackets freshman outfielder Kyle Wren was named ACC Player of the Week for the period of March 14-21.

Wren batted .591 with nine runs scored, 13 hits, three steals, a .727 slugging percentage and a .609 on-base percentage to lead Georgia Tech to a 5-0 record on the week, while Pope scattered three hits and one unearned run over eight innings to improve to 5-0 on the season with a win over NC State on Friday.

THEN THERE WERE TWO
After opening ACC play with sweeps over Maryland and NC State, Georgia Tech joins Miami as the only two remaining unbeatens conference action so far through two weekends. The Hurricanes are 6-0 in ACC action after sweeps over Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The Jackets will face Miami next weekend in Coral Gables, Fla.

MARCH-ING ON
It has been quite a month for Danny Hall’s team, as the Jackets have gone 12-1 so far in March. After losing the first game of the month, Tech has gone on to win 12 straight. It has historically been the best month in all of coach Hall’s 18 years. Tech is 244-70 (.777) in March since 1994.

QUITE A HOME STRETCH
Georgia Tech concluded a 16-game home stand with the NC State series over the weekend. 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 21 games, the Yellow Jackets are the top hitting and pitching team in the ACC, boasting a .336 team batting average, with a league-high 247 hits and a .471 slugging average (second). They’re also third in on-base percentage (.416. The Jackets also are getting it done on the mound. They are the only team to have a complete game — Mark Pope has both. The Jackets’ 1.96 ERA and 41 earned runs are tops in the league, while Tech pitchers have whiffed 192, 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 11-1 on the season, holding a combined 1.28 ERA, having allowed just 14 earned runs in 99.2 innings. Pope has paved the way with a conference-leading 0.23 earned run average, and has yielded just one earned run all year (38.2 IP). Bradley leads the crew in strikeouts with 43, while Farmer (33) and Pope (32) are close behind.

GOING THE DISTANCE
Junior Mark Pope has made a habit of pitching complete games recently, tossing back-to-back complete game shutouts against Rutgers and Maryland this season. Pope is the only pitcher so far in the ACC to reach the nine-inning plateau, and has done it twice.

….AND TIED FOR TOP CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGE
With a 9-2 win over NC State, Pope improved his career record to 18-2 overall. His .900 winning percentage moved him into a tie for first place on the all-time list at Georgia Tech for a pitcher with a minimum of 10 wins.

Pope is tied with 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 batting average (.477), hits (41) and runs scored (27). Wren has reached base safely in all 21 games, with at least one hit in 19 of them. The freshman centerfielder has 12 multi-hit games on the season, including five against Maryland on March 12 which tied for the most by an ACC player in a game this season.

DEFENSIVE SWITCH PAYS OFF
After opening the season with a 5-4 record, head coach Danny Hall made a defensive switch that has pay dividends during the team’s current 12-game win streak. Junior Jacob Esch and freshman Mott Hyde switched positions in the middle infield, with Esch moving from second base to shortstop and Hyde just the opposite. Since the flop, Esch has turned 10 double plays, combining with Hyde for eight of them. Georgia Tech had turned just five DP’s in the previous nine games.

OFFENSE HEATING UP
Georgia Tech has been hot at the plate during its win streak, batting .356 as a team with 32 doubles, four triples and nine (of the team’s 10) home runs. The Jackets are averaging 8.7 runs and 12.8 hits per game during that time span. Freshmen Kyle Wren (.510) and Daniel Palka (.380), and junior Jake Davies (.404) have set the pace at during the 12 games. The team was batting just .308 and averaging just 5.6 runs in the previous nine games.

CREDIT THE HURLERS TOO
Much can be credited to the pitching staff, which has allowed just 20 earned runs in the last 12 games. The group is holding opposing hitters to a .188 average during the stretch.

The bullpen has also fared well, holding a 1.62 ERA, having allowed just 20 hits in 29 2/3 relief innings. Sophomore Luke Bard has led the way with a win and two saves in his last five outings (11.1 IP).

COMING INTO HIS OWN
After hitting just 2-for-14 (.143) through the first four games of the season, freshman Daniel Palka has found a groove at the plate recently for the Jackets. The Lyman, S.C. native has hit .406 (28-for-69) with five home runs and 24 RBI since. Through Sunday, Palka is leading the team with five homers and 25 RBI, having totaled 55 bases. He is batting .361 overall after going 3-for-5 with four RBI on Sunday against NC State.

LEFTOVERS FROM LAST WEEKEND
Georgia Tech (17-4, 6-0 ACC) extended its win streak to 12 games after going 5-0 on the week with a pair of midweek wins over Georgia Southern and a weekend sweep of NC State … Tech batted .362 on the week, averaged 9.6 runs per game and outscored its two opponents, 48-12, in the five games … The pitching staff commanded a 1.60 ERA and held Georgia Southern and NC State to a combined .185 batting average.

GEORGIA TECH vs. IN-STATE OPPONENTS
The Jackets are 4-2 against teams from Georgia this season, defeating Georgia Southern (three times) and Kennesaw State, while dropping one to the GSU Eagles and Georgia State. Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 114-36 (.757) record against its in-state foes. In 18 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 158-53 (.746) against teams from Georgia.

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