The On-Tech Circle: No. 23 Georgia Tech (5-4) vs. Rutgers (4-2)

March 3, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Friday: Mark Pope (2-0, 0.71) vs. Tyler Gebler (1-0, 1.20), 4:00 p.m.
Saturday: Jed Bradley (1-0, 0.71) vs. Rob Smorol (1-0, 4.09), 2:00 p.m.
Sunday: Buck Farmer (0-1, 4.00) vs. Nathaniel Roe (1-1, 3.95), 1:00 p.m.

The No. 23 Yellow Jackets (5-4) welcome the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University (4-2) to Russ Chandler for a weekend series. It’s Tech’s second series against a Big East team this year, having taken two of three from St. John’s last weekend.

Tech is coming off a 6-3 home loss to Georgia State on Wednesday afternoon. Rutgers has been off since their weekend sweep of Michigan last weekend in a series played in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Georgia Tech holds a 37-11 edge in the series.

Anything You Can Do…: Yellow Jackets 1-2 starting punch has been nothing short of sensational, as Friday and Saturday starters Mark Pope and Jed Bradley are a combined 3-0 with identical 0.71 ERAs — each has surrendered one earned run in 12 2/3 innings — with a shutout. Pope has allowed two runs, and 11 hits, while striking out 13 against two walks, while holding hitters to a .224 average. Bradley has allowed five walks, while striking out 20 and holding opposing hitters under a buck (.098).

Don’t You Forget About Me: Buck Farmer hasn’t pitched badly in the Sunday spot. He’s 0-1 with a respectable 4.00 ERA (four earned runs in 9.0 innings), and has limited opponents to a .257 average. He’s had a little trouble with walks, having issued seven free passes against 12 strikeouts, and has given up two homers. A little run-support might help the sophomore, as Tech has scored four runs in his two starts, while putting up 19 for Pope and 13 for Bradley.

See Kyle Wren: When centerfielder Kyle Wren went hitless against Georgia State on Wednesday, it ended his season-opening eight-game hitting streak. Wren is now tied with Matt Skole for the team-lead in batting average, at .429 (15-for-35), with five multi-hit games. The Panthers also ended Wren’s multi-hit streak at four games. The freshman has been just the kind of spark plug Head Coach Danny Hall wanted at the top of the order, as he’s scored nine runs on the season and has crossed the plate in seven of nine games. He’s also leading the team in total bases and is tied for the team lead in RBIs with Skole.

Sunday Bloody Sunday: Sunday hasn’t been kind to Georgia Tech thus far in 2011. The Jackets have lost both weekend series finales by a total of 19-4 (6-1 to Kent State and 13-3 to St. John’s). Contributing to the misery is that the Jackets have hurt themselves, having committed as many errors as they’ve scored runs. The errors have been costly, as against Kent, a two-out error led to four unearned runs, while against the Johnies, three E’s led to eight unearned runs.

New York State of Mind: Skole had quite a weekend series against St. John’s. He mashed nine hits in 14 trips to the plate (a .643 average), with seven RBIs, four of them coming on Friday night. He also scored four runs in the series. With his single Wednesday, the junior carries a five-game hitting streak into this weekend and has gotten a hit in six of the seven games he’s played.

Freshman Kyle Wren’s amazing catch against St. John’s last Sunday:

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