#STINGDAILY: The On-Tech Circle: No. 18 Georgia Tech (14-2, 2-1) vs. Boston College (3-12, 0-3)

March 14, 2013

Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –

Friday: Buck Farmer, RHP (3-0, 0.33) vs. Eric Stevens, RHP (0-3, 3.80), 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: Dusty Isaacs, RHP (2-1, 4.50) vs. John Gorman, RHP (1-2, 7.56), 4:00 p.m.
Sunday: Cole Pitts, RHP (3-1, 2.82) vs. Andrew Chin, LHP (1-3, 6.28), 1:00 p.m.

No. 18 Georgia Tech looks to start another winning streak as it opens its 2013 ACC home schedule season with a weekend series against struggling Boston College.

The Yellow Jackets got off to a good start in ACC play last weekend, winning two of three at Virginia Tech at English Field. Tech took the opener, 11-1, behind Buck Farmer’s six innings of one-run, two-hit ball and the continued hot bats. Farmer moved to 3-0 on the season, throwing five no-hit innings. Five different Yellow Jackets had multi-hit games, led by Daniel Palka and Zane Evans, who each homered and drove in four runs. Palka, who hit his first career grand slam, and Brandon Thomas each scored three runs. Tech got two runs in the second to take the lead, added four in the fifth to break it open then tacked on four in the ninth. On Saturday, the Jackets set a school-record with their ninth straight double-digit-scoring game, but needed a late rally to overtake the Hokies, 14-9. Thomas and Matt Gonzalez each had three hits for Tech, which had 18, and Daniel Spingola drove in three run, as every Jacket that batted had a hit and scored a run. A six-run seventh resulted in the game’s fifth and final lead change. Alex Cruz earned the win in relief of starter Dusty Isaacs, going 4 1/3 innings allowing three runs and six hits, and Jonathan King followed with two shutout innings to close it out. Mott Hyde’s RBI single in the seventh drove in what would be the game-winner. On Sunday, Tech scored first and last, but in between belonged to the Hokies, as the Jackets managed only two runs and seven hits and saw their nine-game winning streak snapped, 6-2. Cole Pitts took his first loss of the season, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Thomas had his third multi-hit game of the series, going 2-for-4, with a run and an RBI.

The Eagles have lost five in a row and six of seven as they come to the Rusty C for its second straight weekend road series against a top-20 team. Following a sweep at the hands of No. 5 Florida State last weekend, they dropped a 10-1 decision at Northeastern on Wednesday. B.C. managed only four hits, with second baseman Blake Butera getting two of them, including a ninth-inning double that set up their lone run. The game was 3-0 after six, but a seven-run seventh did in Boston College. The Huskies had 12 hits off six different pitchers.

The Yellow Jackets and Eagles have met 20 previous times in a series that didn’t begin until 2006, when B.C. joined the ACC. The Jackets hold a 13-7 edge and are 6-1 in Atlanta, having won four straight home games.

Jackets fans can catch the webcast of all three games on RamblinWreck.com and can hear the calls on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta, with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers in the booth. Live stats are available on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.

Let’s play ball!

Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech lost a series to Boston College for only the second time, and the first since the inaugural series in 2006, last March 23 and 24 in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles came out swinging on Friday night, scoring 15 runs on 19 hits, including four homers, to take the opener, 15-7. The Jackets got a first-inning RBI single from Zane Evans, then regained the lead in the second on a Mott Hyde homer, but from there it was all B.C. They sent 13 hitters to the plate, scoring seven runs on five hits. Starter Buck Farmer had a rough night, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing 11 runs (all earned) on 14 hits, striking out three while also walking three. Hyde and Sam Dove each had three hits for Tech, which got 12 hits. Dove extended his hitting streak to 14 games. With impending bad weather, the teams played a double-header on Saturday. In the opener, the Yellow Jackets lost a heartbreaker, 4-3, allowing two unearned runs in the ninth. Tech scored two on an RBI single by Jake Davies, and a sac fly by Daniel Palka. Hyde’s fourth-inning single, plating Daniel Spingola, who had doubled, regained the lead for Tech. That 3-2 score stood up until the ninth and looked to be a winning score but in the final inning, the Jackets did not get the call at first on an apparent double play with the bases loaded and one out, allowing the tying run to score. Two batters later, the Eagles got the game-winning hit. Davies was the hard-luck loser. The rally spoiled a superb outing by Luke Bard, who allowed two runs and six hits over seven, striking out six and not walking a batter. Thomas and Hyde each had two hits, while Dove extend his hitting streak to 15 with a first-inning single. Tech took the nightcap, earning its own one-run victory, 2-1, behind Dusty Isaacs. Dove got two hits, to extend his streak to 16 straight, and Palka added two hits and an RBI. The Jackets got both their runs in the first inning, Evan Martin led off with a double and scored on a double play, then Palka singled to make it 2-0. Tech pitching made those two runs stand up as Isaacs threw five innings, allowing one run on three hits and Cole Pitts followed, with four shutout innings, allowing only four hits to earn his first college save.

Bucking The Odds: Friday night starter Buck Farmer always pitches as if he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Tonight he faces a team against which he might actually have one. The Eagles have had great success in two career starts against Farmer, as they’ve scored 17 earned runs on 23 hits in 11 innings. That’s an ERA of 13.91. Farmer has nine strikeouts against five walks. In both his sophomore and junior years the Eagles touched up Tech’s ace for his season-high in earned runs. As a sophomore, Farmer went 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) and nine hits, but still got the win, as the Jackets won, 10-8. Last season B.C. put up 11 runs (all earned) on 14 hits, both Farmer’s season highs, in 4 1/3 innings, his season low. Buck’s first appearance against B.C. was actually his most successful, as he threw 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only one hit to earn a win. Thus far in 2013, Farmer is pitching to a 0.33 ERA, having allowed one earned run (two overall) in 27 innings, starting the year with 26 2/3 scoreless innings. Batters are hitting just .177 against him and against Virginia Tech last Friday he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

BT as in Big Time: Brandon Thomas decided to come back for his senior year with plans for a big season. Thus far he’s working that plan to perfection. Thomas is leading the Yellow Jackets with a .458 batting average (second in the ACC, six points out of the lead), is leading the team in runs and doubles and is tied for the team lead in hits. He’s reached base in every one of Tech’s games this season, and enters this weekend on an eight-game streak during which he’s batted .515 (17-for-33), with 13 runs scored, nine more driven in, five doubles and a stolen base. He’s had six multi-hit games during the streak, including a run of four straight that he carries into this weekend. He’s also driven in at least one run in each of the last four games.

Running Hot and Cold: This weekend’s series brings together the team with the league’s most- and least- productive offenses thus far. Georgia Tech leads the ACC in batting (.345), slugging (.497), hits (158), runs (201), and RBIs (144), while Boston College is at the bottom in each of those categories, as they’re batting .215, slugging .276, have 107 hits, have scored 47 runs, with 33 RBIs. To illustrate the point a little further, the Yellow Jackets scored 56 runs last week. That’s nine more than B.C. has scored all season.

On Deck: Georgia Tech hosts Georgia Southern in a midweek battle on Tuesday then heads to Tallahassee for a showdown with No. 5 Florida State, the Atlantic Division leader. Boston College embarks on an ambitious week, stopping in Worcester, Mass., on Tuesday for a clash at Holy Cross, hosting Northeastern on Wednesday, then kicking off its ACC home slate with a series against national No. 1, North Carolina.

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