May 15, 2011
By Jon Cooper
They say what goes around comes around.
For Georgia Tech baseball head coach Danny Hall, things came back around on Sunday.
It was two Sundays ago that Hall sat in the opposing dugout at Doug Kingsmore Stadium as Clemson head coach Jack Leggett celebrated his 300th conference victory. Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium, it was Hall celebrating his 300th career ACC win, as the Yellow Jackets topped North Carolina, 3-0.
Sophomore Buck Farmer (9-1) got the win, throwing eight innings of shutout ball, while Carolina native Luke Bard pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his seventh save. Tech scored all its runs in the fifth inning on a Kyle Wren RBI double, and RBI singles by Jacob Esch and Mott Hyde.
“Buck was outstanding today,” Hall said. “He couldn’t have pitched any better and then Luke Bard closed it out in the ninth.”
Hall admitted he wasn’t paying close attention as he approached No. 300, but, having achieved it, admitted that the number is special.
“I’ve had a lot of good coaches that have coached with me and a lot great players and I share it with those people,” said Hall, who is in his 18th season managing the Jackets. “Quite honestly, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the numbers but I’ll take some satisfaction in knowing that not too many have 300. Probably not too many get to coach in enough games to get to 300.”
Hall remembered it was difficult enough to get into the position to get win No. 1 at Georgia Tech. His first win as Tech’s Head Coach was, a 3-1 victory on Feb. 11, 1994 at Russ Chandler Stadium, against the University of Minnesota. UM’s Head Coach John Anderson had been a finalist with Hall for the Jackets job.
“Obviously the first game here at Georgia Tech, was a big one,” he said. “I remember we played the University of Minnesota and I had been very good friends with their head coach when I was an assistant coach at Michigan. I was very good friends with him off the field. The job at Georgia Tech literally came down to he and I. That first victory here was a big one because it was the first one that I had a chance to coach in. Their team had some great players on it, one of them is still playing in Jason Varitek.
Number 300 was a lot less suspenseful than no. 299, which came on Saturday night, when the Yellow Jackets rallied from 8-3 down, scoring a run in the eighth, then five in the ninth, to swipe a 9-8 victory over UNC.
“The rally (Saturday) night in the ninth inning gave us a chance to win the series,” said Hall. “I think it gave us a big lift. We had not rallied and won a game all year. We had not had a walk-off win all year. So anytime something like that happens, when you’re literally three outs away from losing a series that just gives you tremendous momentum shift. Buck carried that momentum into today and just did a great job of shutting them down.”
Saturday’s comeback was similar to the Sunday game last year at UNC’s Boshamer Stadium, when Tech rallied for five in the ninth to force extra innings, before winning the game in the 10th. It was a weird sense of deja vu, but one Hall will certainly take.
“No question,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun to be on that end than the other one.”
Hall remains humble, when discussing his latest new place in history.
“To just kind of put it in perspective, there are only four other coaches in the history of the ACC that have 300 wins in the league,” he said. “One was Bill Wilhelm, who passed away this year, the great Clemson coach, Jack Leggett at Clemson, [Florida State Head Coach] Mike Martin and myself. So I’m in some pretty select company there. That puts it in perspective a little bit that it’s not something that happens very often.”