No. 15 Georgia Tech Baseball Hosts Cross-Town Rival Georgia State Wednesday

Feb. 20, 2007

ATLANTA – The 15th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will continue its nine-game homestand with a midweek game against cross-town rival Georgia State (2-4) Wednesday at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch for Wednesday is slated for 4 p.m., with the Yellow Jackets (3-3) making a return trip to Panthersville in mid-March.

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The Jackets posted a 3-1 record last week with a pair of wins over Illinois-Chicago over the weekend following a 10-inning victory against instate foe Kennesaw State Tuesday night.

After the Jackets hit just .229 and posted a 7.62 ERA through the first three games of the season, the Tech offense picked up and the pitching steadied over the weekend, as the Jackets hit .342 (and tallied 11 doubles, three triples and two home runs) while the pitching staff posted a 2.33 ERA in the three-game series.

Tech’s offense has been led by outfielders Wally Crancer (.500-2-3), Danny Payne (.409-1-7) and Curtis Dupart (.375-0-7).

Pitching Matchup (GT vs. GSU)
Wednesday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (First Appearance) vs. Jeramy Compton (0-1, 15.19)

GAME COVERAGE: The game can be heard on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org). Live statistics available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.

Jackets’ Potent Offense Key to Early Success
The Yellow Jackets led the ACC with a .319 batting average during the 2004 season and a .333 team average in 2005. In 2006, Georgia Tech finished fourth in the league with a .318 average, as only 15 points separated the Jackets from NC State, who led the ACC with a .333 average.

Despite losing players that made up over 50 percent of Tech’s hits, runs, home runs and RBI’s from a year ago, Tech is relying on the strength of their offense early on in 2007, returning four starters that hit .320 or above in 2006 while adding three talented freshmen to the mix. With the return of Danny Payne and the addition of rookie second baseman Jeff Ussery, the Jackets have dual threats on the basepaths, while Payne, Matt Wieters and Luke Murton return as powerful threats at the plate.

The Jackets opened 2007 with a pair of losses at Georgia Southern, struggling with just a .217 average. Since then, the offense has heated up, hitting .320 with 19 extra-base hits in four games last week, including a .342 clip against Illinois-Chicago over the weekend.

Overall, Tech has hit over .300 as a team in 22 of the last 24 years, and has averaged at least seven runs per game every year since 1981. Tech has led the ACC in batting in six years (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005) under Danny Hall.

Pitching Shows Process of Improvement
Following a rocky first weekend in which the pitching staff gave up 16 earned runs (9.00 ERA) while Georgia Southern hit a blistering .417 in two games, the Yellow Jackets made strides towards their form of late 2006 in the past week, as Kennesaw State and Illinois-Chicago hit just .237 against Georgia Tech pitching, while the staff posted a 3.16 ERA through the four games.

        Process of Improvement        Oppponent               W/L     ER      Opp avg.        Game ERA        Overall ERA        Georgia Southern        L       11      .389    12.38   12.38        Georgia Southern        L       5       .444    5.62    9.00        Kennesaw State  W       6       .308    5.40    7.62        Illinois-Chicago        W       2       .133    2.00    6.17        Illinois-Chicago        L       2       .341    2.00    5.32        Illinois-Chicago        W       3       .103    3.00    4.92

The Veteran Bullpen Georgia Tech’s pitching staff was bolstered by strong efforts from the bullpen in 2006, and that group remains essentially in tact for 2007. Relievers pitched 258 innings in 68 games, posting a 3.56 ERA and a 21-7 record with 18 saves last season.

In the five NCAA Regional & Super Regional games, Tech’s bullpen posted a 0.00 ERA in 8.1 innings while recording two saves.

Despite a rough first weekend, the Yellow Jacket bullpen is returning to its 2006 form, as evidenced by a pair of performances in the last week.

        Bullpen Tale of the Tape in 2007        Overall         W-L     SV      ERA     IP      ER      Opp avg.        Georgia Tech    2-1     1       4.33    27.0    13      .282        Opponents               2-1     2       4.91    29.1    16      .218
Some noteworthy performances for the Tech Bullpen this season: Opponent IP ER ERA Opp avg Kennesaw State, Feb. 13 9.1 1 0.96 .188

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. This season, the Yellow Jackets are 1-2 after recording a 10-inning win over Kennesaw State last Tuesday night

Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 73-22 (.768) mark against in-state foes. In 13 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 116-39 (.748) 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 174-19 (.902) when allowing five runs or less. The Yellow Jackets were 36-5 when allowing five runs or less in 2006, and are 2-0 in those games in 2007.

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 64-76 since 2002.

Team to Go Bald for Charity
The 2007 Georgia Tech baseball team has joined forces with the St. Baldrick’s foundation to raise money to fund cancer research for kids. The team has set the goal of raising at least $5,000 by St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Baldrick’s Day, as coined by the organization. For every $250 raised by March 17, one Georgia Tech baseball player will shave his head in a head-shaving “ceremony” after the game. To date, fans have donated over $3,300 to the cause, resulting in at least 13 players to have their heads shaved after the Boston College baseball game on 3/17. For more information, go to http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/event_info.html?EventID=121.

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