No. 4 Tech Baseball Set to Host Western Carolina

March 1, 2010

Game Notes

Live Stats: RamblinWreck.com
Live Audio: WREK 91.1 FM
Twitter Updates: Twitter.com/gt_athletics
Promotions: $2 Tuesday; Fans can enjoy admission, drinks, hot dogs and popcorn for $2 each. In addition, 250 trading cards of Georgia Tech players and coaches will be given away.

ATLANTA – The No. 4 Georgia Tech baseball team (7-1) will play its ninth game in 12 days, when Western Carolina (6-1) comes to the Flats for midweek play Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. as sophomore right-hander Mark Pope (1-0) takes the mound for the Jackets.

PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS:
Tuesday, March 2 (4 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Mark Pope, RHP, So. (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Western Carolina – Matt Benedict, RHP, Jr. (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

GAME PREVIEW
• The Jackets opened the season on a seven-game win streak, before suffering their first loss in a 7-6 decision to Xavier Sunday.

• Despite the loss to Xavier, the Jackets hold steady in the polls and are ranked as high as No. 4 this week by Baseball America, and No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball.

• Georgia Tech has combined for four shutout wins so far on the season, one more than the team had in all of 2009. Offensively, the Jackets are outscoring opponents, 81-19, and have belted 17 home runs, an average of 2.1 per game.

• Western Carolina has won six of its first seven games, and will leave the state of North Carolina for the first time this season when it travels to the Flats.

• The Catamounts return six starters from a 2009 team that went 35-22 and finished fourth in the Southern Conference.

BROADCAST INFORMATION
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at RamblinWreck.com.

Be sure to tune into the pre-game show 15 minutes before every game as play-by-play commentator Kyle Tait will preview the matchup.

This is the seventh straight season the two teams have squared off, and the 23rd year overall that the two have faced each other dating back to 1973.

LAST MEETING
The Jackets went 1-1 against Western Carolina last season, winning 16-7 at home before falling 10-9 the next day on the road.

4-21-09 Georgia Tech 16, Western Carolina 7
4-22-09 Western Carolina 10, Georgia Tech 9

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Catamounts enter Tuesday’s game with a 6-2 record, after taking two out of three against Eastern Kentucky at home over the weekend. The Western Carolina offense is averaging .328 at the plate with 18 doubles and 11 home runs. Despite a 5.20 ERA, the Catamount pitching staff has been able to get the pitches it has needed with 60 strikeouts on the year. The starters have a combined record of 5-0, and the entire group is holding opponents to a .249 batting average.

TECH-WESTERN CAROLINA CONNECTIONS
Western Carolina has seven players on its roster from the state of Georgia … Catamount outfielder Dylan de Graaf played at Pace Academy with Georgia Tech redshirt sophomore Matt Simonds and freshman Brandon Thomas … WCU head coach Bobby Moranda was an assistant and pitching coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-2007.

LAST TIME OUT
The Jackets won two midweek games against Georgia Southern last week in Statesboro, Ga., before returning home to take two out of three against Xavier at Russ Chandler Stadium over the weekend. The loss to Xavier snapped Tech’s seven game win streak to start the season, its best start since opening with 16-straight victories in 2006.

Tech picked up its third and fourth shutout of the year this week, one more than the team had the entire season in 2009. Junior Brandon Cumpton and sophomore Mark Pope were Tech’s top starters on the mound this week, as Cumpton held Xavier to just one-hit (.050 opp. BA) through 7.0 scoreless innings in a 15-0 win (2/27), while Pope scattered just four hits with seven strikeouts (6.0 IP) in a 10-0 decision over Georgia Southern (2/23) in the first start of his career.

SHUTTING THEM DOWN
Head coach Danny Hall said prior to the 2010 season that this year’s pitching staff may be one of the deepest Tech has ever had and it has started that way . The Jackets have opened the season with three shutouts in their first four games, the most through four outings in school history. Last Saturday’s 15-0 win over Xavier was the fourth of the season, one more than the team had the entire 2009 season.

2010 Shutouts
2-19 vs. Missouri State 4-0
2-21 vs. Missouri State 13-0
2-23 at Georgia Southern 10-0
2-27 vs. Xavier 15-0

MIDDLE 3 ARE KEY
Tech has scored more than half of its runs (43 out of 82) in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the eight games played this season. In 2009, the Jackets only scored 32 percent of their 501 runs in the middle three innings.

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