No. 14 Tech At No. 17 Georgia For Top 20 Battle Tuesday Night

March 19, 2012

 No. 14 Georgia Tech (14-6) at No. 17 Georgia(15-6)  Game 21 Tuesday, March 20, 7 p.m. Location Athens, Ga. | FoleyField | Weather Radio  WREK Radio Gametracker  RamblinWreck.com  TV  CSS  GameInfo  GameNotes | 2012 MediaGuide | Facebook | Twitter

#BUZZWORTHY
>> No. 14 Georgia Tech opens a four-game road swing Tuesday night at No. 17 Georgia in the 354th playing of baseball’s version of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.

>> The game can be seen live on CSS with Matt Stewart and Rusty Ensor on the call. The live audio from WREK is available via RamblinWreck.com.

>> Georgia leads the all-time series 197-154-2 and is 111-53 in games played in Athens. But the Yellow Jackets have won six of the last seven games, have won four-straight at Foley Field and are 37-28 versus the Bulldogs under head coach Danny Hall.

>> Hall, who signed a new five-year contract earlier this season, is in his 19th season at Tech and 25th overall. He became the 47th Division-I coach to achieve the 1,000-win milestone with last Friday’s 12-3 win over Virginia Tech. His career record stands at 1,001-472-1. At Tech, Hall is 793-355-1.

>> Sophomore Zane Evans has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, which is presented annually to the top catcher in college baseball. Evans is hitting .351, with a team-leading 23 RBI. He has also been effective in six relief appearances on the mound, and is scheduled to mark his first career start at Georgia.

>> Junior Sam Dove, who has started every game this season at one of three positions (third, second and left), has matched his career-long hitting streak at 11 games. With a .395 average, Dove is third in the ACC in average and third in OBP (.477).

>> With a team batting average of .316, Tech leads the ACC in hitting, in slugging (.487) and RBI (156), is second in runs (168) and homers (19) and fifth in steals (28). The Yellow Jackets have scored nine or more runs 11 times and are 10-1 when doing so.

A MODEL OF SUCCESS
>> With an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Atlanta Regional, Georgia Tech returned to the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time in the last 27 years. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Tournament every year since 1985 with the exception of the 1999 and 2007 seasons, and made its 27th overall postseason appearance in history last year.

>> Since 2002, Georgia Tech has appeared in nine NCAA Regionals, three NCAA Super Regionals and two College World Series (2002 and 2006).

>> Prior to its recent streak, Georgia Tech had participated in the NCAA playoff just twice, in 1959 and 1971, with an additional play-in tournament appearance in 1948.

>> Georgia Tech made its first trip to the College World Series in 1994, advancing to the championship game before falling to Oklahoma, 13-5.

>> Under Danny Hall, Tech is averaging 43.3 wins per season, a figure that ranks 10th nationally since the 1994 season.

MILESTONE ACHIEVED
>> Having spent his entire coaching career involved with winning programs, Danny Hall’s tenure at Georgia Tech has been his most successful, as he is the all-time winningest baseball coach in Yellow Jacket history with 793 victories.

>> Now in his 19th season on the Flats, Hall became the 47th Division-I baseball coach all-time to reach 1,000 career wins with the Jackets’ 12-3 victory over Virginia Tech on March 16 (Missouri State’s Keith Guttin became the 46th earlier this year).

>> Entering 2012, he was ranked 13th among active Division-I coaches in winning percentage (.679), and 16th among active D-I coaches in number of victories.

>> Hall has led Tech to the NCAA Tournament on 16 occasions and guided the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series in 1994, 2002 and 2006, the only head coach in the program’s storied history to reach the promised land of Omaha.

>> Hall, 57, is 1,001-472-1 as a head coach, including six seasons at Kent State. At Tech, Hall’s record is 793-355-1.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
>> Georgia enters the week 15-6 overall after opening SEC play this past weekend with a series win over Tennessee in Athens. The Bulldogs have played just one game away from Foley Field — that was a neutral site contest versus Kennesaw State in Lawrenceville, Ga.

>> Curt Powell’s .368 average leads the club offensively, while Kyle Farmer’s bat has smacked 12 doubles, two homers and 15 RBI. Levi Hyams also has two home runs and 15 RBI for the Bulldogs, who have out-scored the opposition 120-64.

>> Georgia sports a team ERA of 2.62.

>> Tech and Georgia share two common opponents — Georgia State and Kennesaw State. The Jackets rolled over KSU 11-5, but suffered a 5-4 loss at GSU. The Bulldogs beat the Owls, 3-2, and the Panthers, 4-1.

THE GEORGIA SERIES
>> Tech and Georgia have been playing on the diamond since 1898, a series spanning 353 games. The Bulldogs lead the series 197-154-2, including a 111-53 advantage in games played in Athens.

>> But the momentum has swung the Jackets way of late, as Tech is 37-28 versus UGa since Danny Hall took the helm in 1994. Tech has won six of the last seven meetings overall and has been victorious in the last four regular-season games at Foley Field.

>> Tech’s margin of victory in the last seven games is 31 runs, that includes wins of 25-6 and 15-6 in its last two visits to Foley Field.

>> Last season, former Jacket 3B Matt Skole hit a grand slam and drove in eight runs in the 15-6 win in Athens, Matthew Grimes fanned a career-high 10 in the 5-3 win at Russ Chandler Stadium, and the Bulldogs used a five-run fifth inning to win 6-4 at Turner Field and avoid the season sweep.

NATIONAL POLL UPDATE
>> Georgia Tech remains in the major college baseball national polls this week, sitting at No. 15 in the NCBWA poll, No. 15 in Baseball America poll, No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 20 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

>> Georgia Tech was ranked as high as No. 9 in the 2012 preseason polls and the Yellow Jackets have been ranked every year in the preseason under Danny Hall.

PICK YOUR POISON
>> Tech has displayed balance offensively over its 14-6 start, seeing seven players score double-digit runs, and having seven everyday starters hitting .316 or better.

>> Eleven different players have collected six+ RBI, with a team-high 23 from Zane Evans and 22 each from Daniel Palka and Jake Davies.

>> Sam Dove is currently third in the league in hitting (.395) and third in on-base percentage (.477), Kyle Wren is second in runs (28), eighth in walks (15) and fourth in steals (seven). Evans is fourth in RBI (22), while Palka is tied for the ACC lead in homers (seven) and fourth in slugging (.705).

>> Seven different Jackets have recorded a game-winning RBI (led by Evans’ four), while six have scored a winning run (led by Wren’s five).

>> Twelve different players have swiped 28 bases, led by Kyle Wren’s 7-for-9 and Brandon Thomas’ 6-for-6.

TABLE SETTERS
>> Georgia Tech may possess two of the fastest lead-off men in the ACC in Kyle Wren and Brandon Thomas. The pair are gap-robbers in the outfield, and have speed to burn at the top of Tech’s order.

>> Wren is hitting .359 with three doubles, three triples, 28 runs and has walked 15 times against six strikeouts. He is second in the ACC in runs, eighth in OBP (.469) and fourth in steals (seven).

>> With 10 career triples, Wren, a sophomore, ranks tied for 13th all-time at Tech.

>> Thomas, an Atlanta native like Wren, is hitting .316 with a team-leading eight doubles.

>> Thomas is ninth in the ACC in steals (6-for-6) and is seventh in runs (22). He had a career-best 5-for-5 game versus Rutgers.

>> Wren and Thomas have reached base in every game this season. Thomas’ streak of reaching base is 22 games, dating back to 2011.

ANOTHER WIETERS?
>> Sophomore Zane Evans, a year removed from a freshman All-America season in which he caught nearly every game for Tech, is proving his worth all over the diamond in 2012.

>> He was recently added to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, which is presented annually to the top catcher in college baseball.

>> He’s started 13 games behind the plate and has made six appearances on the mound with a save and 13 strikeouts in 12.2 innings. His offensive numbers are red-hot, with a .351 average, six doubles, one triple, one home run and a team-leading 23 RBI.

>> Evans college career seems to following a similar path as current Baltimore Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters, who in three seasons at Tech, was a career .359 hitter with 35 homers and collected a 3.83 ERA and 16 saves (tied for sixth on Tech’s career list).

>> Evans’ first home run of the season was a three-run shot at Georgia Southern (F22) that broke an 8-8 tie in the eighth inning and gave the Jackets the lead for good. He picked up his first career save the Sunday before in a 5-3 win at Winthrop.

>> Evans hit .270 as a rookie with five homers and became Tech’s first everyday freshman starting catcher since Jason Varitek in 1991.

EVANS NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST
>> Sophomore Zane Evans has been named to the official watch list for the 2012 Johnny Bench Award, which is presented annually by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission to top catcher in college baseball. Evans is one of five sophomores on the list.

>> Former Tech catcher Matt Wieters was a finalist for the award in 2007.

FOR THE DOVE OF THE GAME
>> Junior captain Sam Dove has surged to the top of Tech’s batting average list, thanks in part to multi-hit efforts in 10 of his last 17 games. The versatile Dove, who has started every game at three different positions in 2012 (second, third and left), is hitting .395 (third in the ACC) and has scored at least once in 16 of the last 17 games.

>> His current 11-game hitting streak matches his career long, set last season.

>> Dove has been sizzling since a 3-for-17 (.176) start to the year, and is 27 for his last 59 (.458). That has included four three-hit games, six doubles and his first two career home runs — a three-run bomb in the series-opener versus Rutgers and a solo shot versus Wagner. He had one double in each game of the Virginia Tech series. He has nine extra-base hits this season in 20 games, after recording just eight in his first 58 games combined.

>> A walk-on as a freshman, Dove started 48 games as a sophomore, hit .310 and was an Academic All-ACC pick.

GROWING K’S ON THE FARM
>> Junior RHP Buck Farmer is second the ACC with 44 strikeouts, and his 12.38 strikeouts per nine innings is also second in the league.

>> Farmer, one of three Tech captains, has won his last four starts (4-1), with a 2.81 ERA and 30 hits allowed in 22.0 innings this season.

>> Since receiving no run support in his first outing of the season (a 5-0 loss to Kent State), Tech has averaged 13.5 runs per game in support of Farmer over his last four starts.

LUKE’S USING THE FORCE
>> Junior closer and captain Luke Bard, listed on the preseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award, has not been scored upon in his nine relief appearances (12.0 IP in relief) this season.

>> Bard, though did all a run in his first start, matching his career long of five innings, allowing five hits, a run, no walk and a strikeout on Sunday versus Virginia Tech to clinch the series.

>> His streak of not allowing an earned run ended at 26.2 innings, spanning 15-consecutive appearances dating back to April 24, 2011.

>> Bard, whose brother Daniel pitches for the Boston Red Sox, has recorded two saves this season, and with 12 in his career, stands tied for ninth on Tech’s career list.

SUNDAY SUCCESS
>> Since 2010, Georgia Tech is 25-6 in the third game of a weekend series (3-1 in 2012, 11-3 in 2011 and 11-2 in 2010).

>> Also over that span, Tech is 9-5-1 in the rubber game of an ACC series (1-1 this season).

BOUNCE BACK ABILITY
>> The Yellow Jackets are 41-16-1 following an in-season loss over the last three years (4-1 this year).

EARLY-INNING MAGIC
>> The Yellow Jackets have out-scored the opposition 88-42 in the first four innings this season.

>> Tech is 11-1 when scoring first and 9-0 when scoring in the first inning.

>> The Jackets are closing strong as well, with a 47-25 edge in runs over the final three innings.

TECH PARTNERS WITH FMM FOR HOPE FLIES HOME RUN CHALLENGE
>> The Georgia Tech baseball team has partnered with the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine for the first Hope Flies Home Run Challenge, inspired by Jackets baseball player Colby Wren.

>> For every home run the Jackets hit during the 2012 season, supporters can make a donation from $1 up to $100 or more per home run with all proceeds benefiting the Foundation. The Jackets hit 50 home runs during the 2011 season, and organizers hope to raise $50,000 for the cause through the Hope Flies Home Run Challenge.

>> Wren, a sophomore first baseman with the Jackets, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in his early teens and has to manage the disease’s effects on his health every day. As an ambassador for the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine, he is eager to raise awareness of the disease, so that the increasingly numbers of diagnosed individuals — 1 in 2,500 and growing — can get treatments. Currently, there are no treatments available.

>> As a team, Tech has 19 home run in 2012.

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