The On-Tech Circle: No. 12 Georgia Tech (7-2) vs. Rutgers (3-3)

March 1, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

The 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets will try to stay hot as they conclude their seven-game homestead hosting Rutgers this weekend. The Jackets have won seven of their last eight games, including an 11-5 trouncing of Kennesaw State at Russ Chandler Stadium on Wednesday. Cole Pitts pitched four shutout innings to get the win and Kyle Wren went 2-for-3, with a pair of triples, one of them a three-run triple as part of a seven-run third. Daniel Palka and Brandon Thomas also had two hits each to pace the Jackets’ 10-hit attack. Wren, Palka and Thomas continued their streaks of reaching base in every game in 2012.

Rutgers is coming off a three-game road sweep of Old Dominion last weekend. Junior lefty Rob Corsi completed the sweep on Sunday, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and two walks, while striking out four. Sophomore Nick Favatella drove in two runs and sophomore Pat Sweeney had two hits and scored twice in the victory. Senior Patrick Kiviehan also had two hits for the Scarlet Knights, who hit .385 with runners in scoring position in the series.

This is the 10th straight year that Georgia Tech and Rutgers will meet. The Yellow Jackets are riding a 10-game winning streak in the series, which they’ve dominated, winning 41 of the 52 previous games. All 52 games have been played in Atlanta.

All three games can be heard on WREK, 91.1 FM with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers calling the action. The games also will be webcast on RamblinWreck.com and Gametracker is available.

Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech overmatched Rutgers last March 4-6, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 33-8 in the series sweep. The Jackets never trailed in the series. Tech starters allowed four earned runs in the three games, including Mark Pope’s complete-game four-hitter to open the series and Buck Farmer’s six-inning effort to close it, in which he struck out a then-career-high eight. Jackets hitters batted .412 in the series, pounding out 49 hits, 15 of them for extra bases. Daniel Palka homered in all three games and Matt Skole homered in the opener and the finale.

The Lumber Company: Georgia Tech has been smoking at the plate thus far in 2012. With their 11-5 win over Kennesaw State, the Jackets have now scored in double figures in four of their last five games and have outscored the opposition, 50-29 in those five games.

Setting the Table: It’s no coincidence that the Yellow Jackets offense has taken flight and Kyle Wren is on a hitting streak. The sophomore centerfielder is on a five-game hitting streak. Over those five games, Wren is hitting .471 (8-for-17), has walked eight times, scored nine times and has driven in five runs. Against Kennesaw he tied a school record with two triples and drove in three runs.

No Hits For You: While Georgia Tech hitters have hammered away, Jackets’ pitchers have put opposing hitters away. Tech’s starters have allowed 32 hits in 40 1/3 innings, limiting opponents to a .219 average, and allowing 21 runs (16 earned, a 3.57 ERA) while striking out 37. The bullpen has been a little more generous, but not much. Opponents are hitting .222 against Jackets’ relievers, who have allowed 26 hits and 13 runs (nine earned, a 2.56 ERA) in 31 2/3 innings.

On Deck: Georgia Tech heads to Statesboro for a Wednesday night match-up with Georgia Southern then kicks off ACC play at North Carolina State. Rutgers goes back out on the road, visiting Boca Raton for a weekend series with Florida Atlantic.

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