No. 14 Tech Baseball Hosts Kennesaw State in Home Opener

Feb. 12, 2007

ATLANTA – The 14th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will open a nine-game homestand this Tuesday when it hosts Kennesaw State at 4 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium. Live video for the game can be found on the featured online sports network for the Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC Select, with Richard Musterer and former Yellow Jacket outfielder Steven Blackwood calling the action. Livestats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.

The Yellow Jackets (0-2) will be looking for their first win of the season after coming up short against Georgia Southern (3-2) in Statesboro over the weekend, while Kennesaw State will face Tech in their first game of 2007.

Junior center fielder Danny Payne picked up where he left off in 2006, hitting .667 with four walks, a double and home run over the weekend, while rookie designated hitter Tony Plagman hit .400 against the Eagles.

Sophomore right-hander Chris Hicks (4-1, 5.31 ERA in 2006) will take the mound for the Jackets, and he will meet another righty in the Owls’ Matt Eckert, who posted a 1-2 record last season.

Tech is 4-1 all-time against Kennesaw State and is currently riding a three-game winning streak against the Owls.

Tech Versus the State of Georgia
Georgia Tech went 9-3 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2006, posting a 3-0 record vs. Kennesaw State, a 2-0 record vs. Georgia State, a 3-1 mark vs. Georgia Southern and a 1-2 record against Georgia. Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 72-22 mark against in-state foes. In 13 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 115-39 against teams from Georgia.

“5” – The Magic Number
Since the arrival of pitching coach Bobby Moranda prior to the 2002 season, the Yellow Jackets are 172-19 (.901) when allowing five runs or less. The Yellow Jackets were 36-5 when allowing five runs or less in 2006. Tech went 38-2 in 2002, 34-2 in 2003, 33-3 in 2004 and 31-7 in 2005 when allowing five runs or less. When allowing six or more runs, the Yellow Jackets are 63-75 since 2002.

Tech Picked to Finish Fourth in ACC Coastal Division
Despite boasting two of the best players in the country and one of the top bullpens in the league as well as a top-10 preseason national ranking, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 12 head coaches selected Georgia Tech to finish fourth in the Coastal Division in the league’s annual preseason poll. The Yellow Jackets were picked to finish behind 2006 College World Series runner-up North Carolina, who earned four first place votes and a total of 60 points. Miami, with two first-place votes and a total of 58 points and Virginia, with four first-place votes and a total of 54 points. Clemson, who claimed the 2006 ACC Championship, was tabbed the preseason favorite, accumulating 11 first-place votes and a total of 71 points while Florida State was selected second in the Atlantic Division with one first-place vote and 55 total points. Georgia Tech received two first place votes and a total of 44 points.

Payne & Wieters Named to Preseason All-America Teams, Brooks Wallace Watch List
Junior catcher/pitcher Matt Wieters and junior center fielder/pitcher Danny Payne earned multiple preseason honors in 2007, including being named to the Brooks Wallace Watch List, which honors the College Baseball Player of the Year by the College Baseball Foundation. The Yellow Jacket duo joined 10 other Atlantic Coast Conference players to earn the preseason honor. Wieters was also named a first-team preseason All-America selection by Rivals.com, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball and was tabbed a second-team preseason All-America by the NCBWA. According to John Manuel in the Baseball America College Preview, Wieters will be the 2007 National Player of the Year. Payne earned second-team preseason All-America honors from the NCBWA, Rivals.com and Collegiate Baseball and was named a third-team preseason All-America by Baseball America.

Dupart Ranks Among Top 50 Incoming Freshmen
Baseball America ranked the top 50 freshmen for the 2007 season, and Georgia Tech outfielder Curtis Dupart cracked the list at No. 16. The rookie from Woodinville, Wash., is vying for the starting role in left field, which was vacated by Steven Blackwood, an Academic All-American and all-conference honoree who will graduate this semester.

All in the Family
Two returning players, junior John Goodman and sophomore Luke Murton, both of whom were on the 2006 College World Series team, have brothers that starred on the Yellow Jackets’ 2002 College World Series team. Goodman is the brother of pitcher Chris Goodman (2002-03), who went 17-5 in two years on the Tech staff and holds the school record for fewest walks per nine innings. Murton is the brother of outfielder Matt Murton (2001-03), a two-time all-ACC performer who now plays for the Chicago Cubs.

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