May 1, 2008
ATLANTA – Despite a break from Atlantic Coast Conference play following a week of final exams at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets (31-13) will have no easy weekend ahead as they host No. 15 Coastal Carolina (37-9) for a three-game set at Russ Chandler Stadium beginning Friday at 7 p.m. The Jackets and Chanticleers will also play at 4 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Georgia Tech has won four of its last five games and is 19-1 against non-conference opponents in 2008, while the Chanticleers are winners of three of their last four and have gone 12-3 vs. non-conference foes.
The Yellow Jacket offense is batting .303 on the season while the pitching staff has combined for a 4.47 ERA while holding opponents to a .268 average.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Coastal Carolina)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (5-2, 3.84) vs. RHP Bobby Gagg (6-1, 2.33)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (5-3, 5.17) vs. LHP Cody Wheeler (3-0, 4.67)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (5-3, 3.44) vs. RHP David Anderson (5-1, 3.96)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.366, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 17 SB), junior DH Luke Murton (.365-9-36-3), freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.359-2-18-18), and freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.327-13-50-3). Sophomore 1B Tony Plagman and senior 3B Brad Feltes have also been big offensive threats, with 13 and 11 home runs, respectively.
Game Coverage: The first two games of the series can be seen on SportSouth, while Sunday’s contest will be available on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). The entire series can be heard on WREK Radio, while live stats for all Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Game Promotions: Free Chick-fil-A mini cows will be given out to the first fans in attendance at Friday’s game, while supplies last.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets are winners of four of their last five games due in part to the offensive success they are having of late. Georgia Tech is batting .314 in the month of April, and .361 in its last eight games. The Yellow Jackets have collected 53 extra-base hits in their last eight contests, including 25 home runs (an average of 3.1 per game) to lead the league with 70 on the season. Juniors Charlie Blackmon and Luke Murton have both hit over .400 in their last 20 contests, while freshman Jeff Rowland has a .500 average in his last eight games. Tech is coming off a three-game series win against Wake Forest in which they scored 31 runs to the Demon Deacons’ 14, and look to continue their success against a talented Coastal Carolina team this weekend. Yellow Jacket ace David Duncan pitched an excellent game last weekend, holding Wake Forest to one run (a solo home run) on six hits while striking out seven in eight innings of work. For the year, closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best eight saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have combined for 30 scoreless appearances in relief.
Coastal Carolina – The Chanticleers have won two-straight, and three of their last four to enter the weekend with a 37-9 overall record on the season. Adam Rice and Dock Doyle have led Coastal Carolina’s offense in 2008, combining for 19 home runs and 80 RBI this season. Rice is batting a team-best .369 while Doyle posts a .355 average in 2008. The Chanticleers’ pitching has been stellar thus-far, as the staff owns a 3.66 ERA and is holding opponents to a .252 average. Coastal Carolina has posted an 8-2 record against ACC opponents in 2008, facing Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, NC State and Virginia this season.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Tech leads, 12-3)
Georgia Tech owns a 12-3 record against Coastal Carolina in a series that dates to 1978. The Jackets are 10-2 against the Chanticleers in Atlanta after Coastal Carolina snuck by Tech, 7-6, in 2005, the last meeting between the two teams. Tech and Coastal Carolina have met seven times since the arrival of head coach Danny Hall in 1994, with the Jackets holding a 5-2 edge in the series.
The two teams have split the last four games after Tech rattled off 10-straight wins over Coastal Carolina from 1990 through 1995 until the Chanticleers earned a 5-3 win over the Jackets at Foley Field in the 2001 NCAA Athens Regional. Tech’s only two home losses were one-run games.
Bats Speak for Team
Since April 11, the Yellow Jacket offense has taken over, batting .334 with 50 extra-base hits. Since the Miami series, in which the Jackets were held to just 13 runs, Georgia Tech has hit a blistering .361 while averaging 11 runs and 13.25 hits per game. During that eight-game span, the Jackets have recroded 53 extra-base hits, 25 of which have been home runs. Luke Murton’s last seven hits have all been for extra bases, as have 13 of his last 14, while six of Jason Haniger’s last eight hits, six of Tony Plagman’s last 10 hits, eight of Thomas Nichols’ last 12 hits and five of Brad Feltes’ last eight hits have all gone for two or more.
19-1 Out of Conference
While the Jackets have gone 12-12 through the first 24 conference games of the season, they have been impressive against out-of-conference foes, posting a sterling 19-1 non-conference record in 2008.
The Yellow Jackets are batting .328 against non-conference opponents, led by the hot-hitting Luke Murton, who has blistered non-conference foes for a .418 average, six home runs and eight doubles in 18 games. Five other Yellow Jackets are batting above .350 against non-ACC teams.
Tech’s pitching staff has also performed well out-of-conference, posting a 3.15 ERA while opponents are hitting just .239 against them. Deck McGuire has been the primary reason for Tech’s non-conference success, as the rookie has gone 7-0 with 43 K and a 3.38 ERA in 50.2 IP. Opponents are hitting just .214 against him.
Updated Game Times
Tech’s Saturday game (May 3) against Coastal Carolina has been changed to a 4 p.m. first pitch due to television.
With a win in the series opener at Boston College, Georgia Tech eclipsed the 20-win mark for the 27th-consecutive season. With a win in the series opener against Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets eclipsed the 30-win mark for the 26th-straight year.
Georgia Tech has won 20+ games 34 times in history and reached 30 wins on 28 occasions.
The Yellow Jacket offense has already hit 70 home runs in 2008, which is 20 more than Georgia Tech hit in all of 2007. Tech’s 70 home runs leads all conference teams, standing seven ahead of Miami, which has 63 this season.
The Jackets have also been blessed with a balance of power in 2008, as four different players have hit nine home runs already this season. Derek Dietrich and Tony Plagman lead Tech with 13 home runs apiece while Brad Feltes and Luke Murton have added 11 and nine home runs, respectively.