No. 24 Georgia Tech Opens ACC Slate with Maryland

March 10, 2011

Game Notes

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ATLANTA – Riding a four-game win streak, the 24th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will open Atlantic Coast Conference play with a three-game series this weekend against Maryland (8-4) at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets (9-4) will play at 7 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Maryland)
Friday: RHP Mark Pope (3-0, 0.42, 21.2 IP, 19 SO) vs. RHP Sanders Beck (0-1, 4.96, 16.1 IP, 19 SO)
Saturday: LHP Jed Bradley (1-0, 2.08, 17.1 IP, 27 SO) vs. RHP David Carroll (3-0, 1.33, 20.1 IP, 12 SO)
Sunday: RHP Buck Farmer (1-1, 3.00, 15.0 IP, 20 SO) vs. LHP Eric Potter (2-0, 0.89, 20.1 IP, 15 SO)

PROMOTIONS

Friday, March 11, 2011 (7pm) – 90’s Music Trivia andother great in-game promotions Saturday, March 12, 2011 (4pm)- Danny Hall T-shirt Giveaway!*, In-game Promotions

SERIES PREVIEW

Georgia Tech (9-4) enters the series ranked as high as No. 18in the Perfect Game Top-25 poll. The Jackets are also ranked in theCollegiate Baseball (24), Baseball America (25) polls and NationalCollegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (25) polls.
Tech is currently on a season-best four-game win streak afterdefeating Kennesaw State Tuesday in midweek action … The Jacketsearned their first series sweep of the season last weekend, winningthree against Rutgers.
Maryland returns 12 lettermen and four starters from a 2010 teamthat went 17-39 overall and finished 12th in the ACC (6th,Atlantic).
The Terrapins (7-4) have won seven of their last eight games,winning two of three against Canisius last weekend before a 8-0midweek win over Delaware on Tuesday … Maryland is batting .265on the season, while the pitching staff holds a 3.87 ERA …Weekend pitcher’s David Carroll and Eric Potter are a combined 5-0on the season, having allowed five earned runs in 40.2 innings.

SERIES HISTORY
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with a 68-24 record after going 2-1 against the Terrapins in 2010. The Jackets hold a 40-6 edge at Russ Chandler Stadium. Head coach Danny Hall is 43-9 (.827) against Maryland since arriving on the Flats in 1994. Last Meeting: Junior Cole Leonida was 3-for-5 with five RBI as five different players hit a home run in Georgia Tech’s 10-3 win over Maryland in the series finale on March 21, 2010 at Shipley Field in College Park, Md. The Jackets took the series with the win.

QUICK HITS

Georgia Tech ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference inbatting average (.335), and third in team ERA (.231). The Techhitters lead the league in hits with 154 on the season.
Junior Matt Skole ranks fifth in the ACC in batting average with a.415 clip. Joining Skole in the ACC’s list of top-10 battingaverages is freshman Kyle Wren (9th, .404) who is second in the conference with 21hits.
Freshman Daniel Palka is second in the ACC in home runs with four. Palkahomered in all three games of the Rutgers series last weekend, andhas combined with Skole for all seven the Jackets’ home runs on theyear.
Junior Mark Pope (3-0), the Jackets Friday starter, leads the ACC inERA at 0.42 … Pope has allowed just one earned run all season,and has tossed 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings since lastallowing a runner to cross the plate in the season opener on Feb.18.

GEORGIA TECH IN ACC OPENERS
Georgia Tech is 22-9 in ACC openers and has started conference play at home on all but four occasions since joining the league in 1980. The Yellow Jackets have won five of their last six league openers, and 13 of 17 under head coach Danny Hall.

How the Yellow Jackets fare in the ACC opener typically indicates how they will finish their first ACC series. When Tech has won its ACC opener, the Yellow Jackets have gone on to win the three-game series every year since 1992. The same is true for when the Jackets have lost their ACC opener. Tech has swept the first ACC series of the season 11 times under Hall.

The Jackets have begun ACC play against the Terrapins three times since Hall’s arrival in 1994, during the 1995, 2003 and 2009 seasons. Tech is 3-0 against Maryland in ACC lid-lifters.

WEEKEND ROTATION OFF TO A GREAT START
Georgia Tech’s weekend rotation of Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer has gotten off to a strong start this season. The 1-2-3 punch is holding a combined 1.67 ERA, having allowed just 10 earned runs in 54 innings. Pope leads the way with a 0.42 earned run average, and has yielded just one earned run all year. Bradley leads the crew in strikeouts with 27, while Farmer (20) and Pope (19) aren’t far behind.

POPE GOING THE DISTANCE
With a complete game shutout of Rutgers just one week ago, Mark Pope now has gone the distance in two of his last four starts. The junior right-hander pitched a CG in Tech’s opener of the 2010 NCAA Atlanta regional against Mercer on June 4. He has pitched at least 6.0 innings in every start this season, and is the only pitcher so far in the ACC to reach the nine-inning plateau.

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 team in hits (21), while tied at the top in runs scored (13) and steals (4). He opened his career on an eight-game hit streak and has a hit in 12 of the 13 games played. The freshman centerfielder has also been phenomenal on defense, making an incredible catch, crashing into the wall, against St. John’s on Feb. 27.

CLOGGING UP THE MIDDLE
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 four-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, the duo has turned four double plays. 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 .387 as a team. The Jackets are averaging 10.0 runs and 15.0 hits per game during that time span.

CREDIT THE BULLPEN
Much can be credited to the bullpen as well during the four games, which is holding a 0.81 ERA, having allowed just nine hits in 11.1 relief innings. Sophomore Luke Bard has led the way with a win and a save in his last two outings (6.1 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 .486 (18-for-34) since, and is currently on a nine-game hit streak.

Through Sunday, Palka is leading the team with four homers, 13 RBIs, and 36 total bases and is second in hits (20) and slugging (.706), while batting .392. Palka had quite a series against Rutgers last weekend, going a combined 7-for-14, with three homers, six RBIs and seven runs scored in the sweep.

LEFTOVERS FROM LAST WEEKEND
Junior Jake Davies started all three games at first base last weekend, leading the team at the plate after batting 8-for-13 (.615). Davies had started just seven games prior over the last three seasons on the Flats. He had hits in five consecutive at-bats. Georgia Tech outscored Rutgers 33-8, with just five of the eight runs allowed being earned. In game two of Friday’s double-header (March 4), the Jackets had six stolen bases. It was the most swipes in a single game for Tech in exactly four years. Ironically, the last time Tech stole six bases it was against the same opponent on March 6, 2007.

GROWING PAINS
With the starting lineup showing six and sometimes seven freshmen on a game-to-game basis, the Jackets have been hampered by some costly youthful mistakes. In losses to Kent State (6-1), Georgia Southern (6-5) and St. John’s (13-3), the Jackets committed five errors that led to 14 unearned runs. In fact, just 30 of the team’s 51 runs allowed have been earned.

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