The On-Deck Circle: No. 14 Georgia Tech (14-7, 3-3) at Boston College (7-12, 0-6)

March 22, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily –

Friday: Buck Farmer, RHP (4-1, 2.81) vs. Eric Stevens, RHP (2-1, 4.05), 2:30 p.m.
Saturday: Luke Bard, RHP (1-0, 0.56) vs. Hunter Gordon, RHP (1-1, 3.68), 1:30 p.m.
Sunday: Dusty Isaacs, RHP (3-1, 3.80) vs. TBA, 1:00 p.m.

No. 20 Georgia Tech looks to continue its northern ascent toward the top of the ACC in its second conference road series of the season, traveling North to take on Boston College in the Eagles’ conference home-opener.

The Jackets are coming off a 7-1 midweek loss Tuesday night at Georgia that was closer than the score indicated. Zane Evans (0-1) took the loss allowing four runs and six hits in four innings, but only two of the runs were earned. Three of the runs Tech allowed were earned. Kyle Wren scored the Jackets’ only run in the sixth on an RBI single by Jake Davies that cut the deficit to 4-1. In their last conference series, last weekend, the Jackets beat Virginia Tech. They lost their only previous road series at NC State.

The Eagles got a much-needed win in their last game, Wednesday night at Bryant University, recording an 8-5 win over the Bulldogs. The win snapped a 10-game losing streak. Freshman Geoffrey Murphy threw two shutout innings in relief of starter Steve Green to get the win. Senior Kyle Prohovich earned his first save. Catcher Matt Pare went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and shortstop Anthony Melchionda and second baseman Blake Butera each had three hits. Mechionda and right fielder Rob Moir each drove in two runs for B.C., which pounded out 16 hits. B.C. is 0-6 thus far in ACC play, dropping series at Miami and at Clemson.

Georgia Tech and Boston College have only been playing since 2006 and the Yellow Jacket hold a decisive 12-5 edge in the series, including having won five of the last six meetings at Commander Shea Field and six of nine overall.

Friday’s and Sunday’s games will be simulcast on WREK, 91.1 FM with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers calling the action. Tech fans can also hear all three games as well as get live stats on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.

Last Time We Met: The Jackets continued their dominance over B.C., sweeping a three-game series at Russ Chandler Stadium last April 22-24. Mark Pope threw a complete-game, eight-hit shutout in the opener, as Tech won, 2-0, despite being out-hit, 8-5. Jacob Esch’s two-out bases-loaded single in the fourth drove in Daniel Palka with what proved to be the winning run. Brandon Thomas scored on a wild pitch later in the inning for the other run. Pope took over from there, retiring 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. Pitching was the story again on Saturday, as Jed Bradley beat B.C., allowing one run and six hits over seven innings to clinch the series in an 8-1 victory. Thomas was the hitting star, going 3-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs. Esch also homered and Palka and Sam Dove  each had two hits. Thomas homered and added an RBI single in a six-run third that broke open a 1-0 game. On Sunday, the Jackets raced out to an early 8-3 lead then held on, winning, 10-8 to complete the sweep. Buck Farmer got the win, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned), striking out six. Kyle Wren, Matt Skole, Zane Evans and Mott Hyde drove in two runs apiece, with Esch, Dove and Palka each getting two hits in the 11-hit attack. Hyde and Skole each drove in a pair in a five-run second and Wren added a two-run triple in the third.

Silver Streak: Buck Farmer will be making his 25th career start on Friday and looks to continue the roll he’s on. The preseason All-American has won four consecutive starts, the second longest streak of his career (he won six in a row as part of an eight-start unbeaten streak last season), and ranks second in the ACC with 44 strikeouts and a 12.38 K’s per nine innings. For his career he’s 17-4 with two no-decisions as a starter with a 2.99 ERA (51 ER in 153 1/3 IP) and 158 strikeouts.

The Joy of Six (Part I): When it comes to driving in runs, Georgia Tech has been getting everyone involved. Heading into the weekend series, the Yellow Jackets have gotten at least six RBIs from 11 different players and at least one RBI from every player with at least 10 at-bats. Senior Jake Davies and sophomore Zane Evans lead the RBI parade, each driving in 23 runs, while Palka is right on their tail with 22. In all, seven Jackets have double-figure RBIs, with Brandon Thomas (16), Paul Kronenfeld (15), Kyle Wren (12), and Sam Dove (11)  all in double-figures. Mott Hyde and Connor Winn each have eight RBIs, Connor Lynch has seven and Mitch Earnest rounds out this list with six.

The Joy of Six (Part II): Six has been a very good number for the Yellow Jackets this season, as they are 12-1 (3-1 in conference play) when scoring at least six runs. In addition, they are 14-0 (3-0 in ACC play) when leading or tied after six innings of play.

The Pen Is Mightier: Part of the reason Georgia Tech’s record is so good when tied or leading after six innings is the bullpen. In addition to the aforementioned excellence when leading or tied after six innings, Tech is 14-0 when leading or tied after seven and 14-0 after eight. Heading into this weekend, the bullpen appears to give GT a big edge coming. Tech’s bullpen is 2-0 with a 4.25 ERA, having allowed 80 hits and only 41 earned runs (51 overall) in 89 innings of work, They’ve struck out 93, while walking 42 and have limited opponents to a .237 batting average.  Compare that to the Eagles’ relievers, who are 0-2, with a 7.55 ERA, having allowed 125 hits and 81 earned runs (89 overall), striking out 73 while walking 45 in 84 2/3 innings. Opponents have batted a healthy .343 off them.

On Deck: Following this series, Georgia Tech kicks off a five-game homestead with a two-game series, against Georgia Southern, beginning on Tuesday. The Jackets then host a weekend series against Duke. Boston College visits nearby Northeastern on Tuesday, then hosts Bryant on Wednesday and Maryland over the weekend.

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