March 6, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 19th-ranked baseball team (9-1, 0-0 ACC) will host Virginia Tech (7-3, 0-0 ACC) in a three-game series this weekend to open Atlantic Coast Conference play. The Yellow Jackets and Hokies will begin the series at 4 p.m. Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium and continue with a 2 p.m. first pitch Saturday. They will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday in the finale.
Game Coverage: Live video for the series can be found online at ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) will broadcast Saturday and Sunday’s contests, while live stats for the entire series will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Weekend Promotions: Drawstring Georgia Tech bags will be given away to the first 150 fans in attendance at Saturday’s game. Sunday is Youth Day, with all youth (age 18 and under) earning free admission to the ballgame.
Tech is ranked 19th in the nation according to the latest Collegiate Baseball poll after cracking the top-25 preseason poll for the 15th time under head coach Danny Hall. The Yellow Jackets have won their last four games after suffering their one and only loss of the season in the series opener against Rutgers a week ago. Virginia Tech has won six straight games, including pulling out a 7-6 win at Radford in its one and only midweek contest on Wednesday.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps has carried Georgia Tech in 2008, holding opponents to a .198 batting average while allowing just 2.0 runs per game (1.74 ERA). Six different pitchers have earned wins through the first 10 games of the 2008 season while closer Chris Hicks has collected three saves for the Yellow Jackets.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (1-0, 2.57) vs. RHP Josh Wymer (2-0, 1.29)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (1-0, 1.50) vs. LHP Sean McDermott (1-1, 2.13)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (1-0, 0.69) vs. RHP Jesse Hahn (1-0, 4.91)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.346, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB), junior RF/DH Charlie Blackmon (.341, 1, 7, 3), junior LF Chris House (.323, 0, 1, 1) and freshman 2B Thomas Nichols (.321, 1, 6, 0).
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have opened the season on a 9-1 run and have won four-straight since suffering their one and only loss of the year in the series opener against Rutgers last weekend. That game went 11 innings and saw the Yellow Jackets score four runs in the ninth just to tie the game and send it to extra innings. The Yellow Jacket pitching has been stellar through the first 10 games of the season, notching four shutouts while giving up an average of just two runs per game. Ten Yellow Jackets are hitting .300 or higher in 2008, including four starters that are hitting above .340.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies have a young weekend starting rotation (one sophomore, two freshmen), but balance that inexperience with veteran leadership at the plate, as three of their top four hitters are seniors. Virginia Tech’s top hitter is freshman utility player Austin Wates, who is batting .429 with six RBI this season. Virginia Tech has won six-straight games (three against Central Connecticut State and one each to Davidson, Binghamton and Radford) after losing three of their first four games of the year.
Tech vs. the Opponents (Georgia Tech leads, 10-5)
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will be meeting for the 16th time in history in the series opener this Friday, with Georgia Tech holding a 10-5 lead in the series. The Jackets have won eight of the 12 prior meetings in Atlanta and are 9-3 against the Hokies since Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994. Virginia Tech took two of three off the Yellow Jackets a year ago in Atlanta, winning the opener, 5-3, and the final, 5-4. Georgia Tech won Saturday’s game, 19-4.
The Yellow Jackets, despite facing the Hokies nine times over the last three years, have just three pitchers on the current staff that have played against Virginia Tech. David Duncan took the loss in last year’s series opener after the Hokies scored three runs off the Yellow Jackets’ ace in the fourth inning. Brad Rulon tossed three scoreless innings in relief, striking out five, in the series finale, but the Hokies scored three runs in the top of the ninth off Georgia Tech closer Matt Wieters to win the series. Chris Hicks didn’t appear in any of the three games a year ago, but made a scoreless appearance against the Hokies in Blacksburg in 2006.
Streaking in the ACC
Georgia Tech has enjoyed unprecedented success within the Atlantic Coast Conference since 2004, winning the ACC regular season title in 2004 with an 18-5 league record and again in 2005 with a 22-8 mark. Tech had a conference-record 25-game ACC win streak in 2004-05.
The Yellow Jackets are 74-39 (.655) in their last 113 ACC regular season games.
The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 26 of its last 38 weekend series. Tech has won 42 of its last 57 ACC home games and 32 of its last 55 ACC road games.
Could It Be a First?
After starting four freshmen in the series finale against Youngstown State, Yellow Jacket skipper Danny Hall pushed that number to five just two games later. While it may not be that uncommon for five freshmen to appear in a starting lineup every so often the question is … How many times has that occurred when the entire middle of the field is covered by freshmen? In the series finale against Georgia Southern (2/27) and again in Tech’s first game of the season vs. Kennesaw State (3/5), Georgia Tech had freshmen in center field, at shortstop, at second base, behind the plate AND on the mound. Tech only had upperclassmen on the corners – in the outfield and infield.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 5-6 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2007 but swept Georgia Southern last week and stopped Kennesaw State this week to start 3-0 this season. Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 80-26 (.755) record against its in-state foes. In 15 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 123-43 (.741) against teams from Georgia.