May 28, 2002
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech, the nation’s seventh-ranked team according to USA Today/Baseball Weekly, is playing in a NCAA Regional for the 17th time in the last 18 years. Tech was invited to the NCAA Tournament for 14 straight years from 1985 through 1998 before being left out of the field of 64 in 1999. Tech has rebounded with three straight appearances since that absence.
The Yellow Jackets made their first and only appearance in the College World Series in 1994, advancing to the National Championship game before losing to Oklahoma, 13-5. In 18 previous NCAA appearances, the Yellow Jackets have posted an overall 37-36 record. Tech’s NCAA Tournament record under head coach Danny Hall is 18-14, including a 15-13 mark in regional tournaments.
TECH VS. THE NCAA FIELD
Georgia Tech posted an 18-12 record against the entire NCAA Tournament field during the regular season, including a 4-1 mark against teams in the NCAA Atlanta Regional. Below is a breakdown of the all-time series records against the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
Coastal Carolina: Georgia Tech leads the all-time series with Coastal Carolina, 10-2. The Chanticleers won the most recent meeting between the schools last year in the NCAA Athens Regional, 5-3, as Scott Sturkie outdueled Tech’s Rhett Parrott. The last regular season meeting between the two schools came in 1995 when the Yellow Jackets swept a three-game series in Atlanta, 12-1, 10-5 and 7-6. Tech and Coastal Carolina have met twice in NCAA Tournament play, with the Yellow Jackets winning 11-7 in the second round of the 1991 NCAA Atlantic Regional in Tallahassee before the Chanticleers won last year. Tech is 9-1 against Coastal Carolina in games played in Atlanta. Tech is 3-1 against Coastal Carolina under Danny Hall.
Georgia: Tech and Georgia have met on 320 previous occasions on the baseball diamond in a series that dates to 1898, and the Bulldogs hold a 181-137-2 lead. Georgia Tech won the regular season series 3-1 (UGA 7-1 in Athens, Tech 9-1 in Atlanta, Tech 6-1 in Athens, Tech 12-11 in Atlanta). The Yellow Jackets have either won or split the regular season series with the Bulldogs in 15 of the last 16 years. Tech and Georgia have met on two previous occasions in the NCAA Tournament with the Bulldogs winning 5-1 in 1987 in Atlanta and 13-5 in 2001 in Athens. Tech is 78-64-1 against Georgia in games played in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets are 22-13 against the Bulldogs under head coach Danny Hall.
Louisville: Tech is 0-2 versus Louisville, although the two teams have not met in 25 years. Both meetings between the schools came in the now-defunct Metro Conference Tournament in the late 1970’s. Louisville won 6-3 in the 1976 event, and took a 15-3 decision in the 1977 tournament.
* Through 60 games, head coach Danny Hall has used 53 different starting lineups.
* Tech is currently third in the ACC in team ERA (4.14), less than two tenths of a run behind leader Florida State (3.95). The Yellow Jackets have never led the conference in that category since joining the ACC for the 1980 season.
* Tech is 31-4 at the new Russ Chandler Stadium in 2002, outscoring its opponents 313-157.
* Tech’s 14-1 mark to start the season was its best since opening the 1997 season with a 15-1 record. The school record for most wins with only one loss came in 1992 when the Yellow Jackets opened 24-1.
* After posting a 3-7 record in one-run games in 2001, Tech is 9-3 in games decided by one run and 19-5 in games decided by three runs or less in 2002.
* The Yellow Jackets are a perfect 5-0 in extra inning games this season and have won 10 straight extra inning games dating back to 1997.
* New pitching coach Bobby Moranda has stressed the importance of throwing strikes. Those efforts have been displayed this season where Tech pitchers have walked 150 batters in 534.2 innings (2.5 per 9 IP).
* Four freshmen – Eric Patterson (2B), Brandon Boggs (CF), Clifton Remole (1B), and Jeremy Slayden (DH) – were in the starting lineup on opening day. Additionally, Mike Nickeas (C, 1B, 3B), Jake Hall (3B), and Garrett Groce (OF) have all started at least one game in 2002, raising the total number of freshmen who have started to seven. A total of 15 freshmen have seen game action this season.
PATTERSON LEADS FIVE ALL-ACC SELECTIONS
Freshman second baseman Eric Patterson, a first-team selection, led a group of five Georgia Tech players selected to the 2002 All-Atlantic Coast Conference baseball team as selected by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. Patterson becomes only the second Yellow Jacket in school history to be named to the first team as a freshman (Mark Teixeira in 1999 was the other). Junior catcher Tyler Parker, junior relief pitcher Jeff Watchko, sophomore starting pitcher Kyle Bakker and sophomore outfielder Matt Murton were selected to the All-ACC second team.
RYNDERS EARNS ALL-ACC TOURNAMENT HONORS
Senior center fielder Wes Rynders, a part time starter during the regular season, was Tech’s everyday center fielder during the 2002 ACC Baseball Tournament last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he made the most of his opportunity. Rynders was Tech’s lone selection to the all-tournament team after batting .636 (7-for-11) with three walks (.733 on base percentage) and two RBI. He did not strike out in 15 plate appearances and made a number of outstanding catches while patrolling the large center field.
SLAYDEN SETS TECH FRESHMAN HOME RUN MARK
Right fielder Jeremy Slayden hit his team-leading 17th home run against North Carolina last week in the ACC Tournament, establishing a new school record for home runs by a freshman. Third baseman Frank Bolick held the record previously after belting 16 home runs in 67 games in 1986.
GEORGIA TECH FRESHMAN HOME RUN LEADERS1. Jeremy Slayden 17 20022. Frank Bolick 16 19863. J.J. Thomas 13 1997 Mark Teixeira 13 19995. K.G. White 12 1985
VERSUS THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Georgia Tech owns an 11-1 mark against its in-state rivals this season. Tech’s lone loss came at Georgia on Mar. 26. The Yellow Jackets are 4-0 against Georgia Southern, 2-0 against both Mercer and Georgia State, and 3-1 against Georgia.
INSIDE THE “RPI”
Although the NCAA does not release the official Ratings Percentage Index that the baseball committee uses to determine the tournament field of 64 and the regional seedings, mathematician Boyd Nation does his best to reproduce the RPI each week throughout the season. His “pseudo-RPI” numbers are calculated using the formula that the NCAA used during the 2001 season.
BOYD'S WORLD PSEUDO-RPI (as of 5/26)1. Clemson .671 11. Alabama .6232. Florida State .663 12. Stanford .6193. Wake Forest .645 13. North Carolina .6114. South Carolina .638 14. Nebraska .6035. Georgia Tech .635 15. Richmond .6006. LSU .6307. Rice .629 38. NC State .5708. Houston .629 65. Maryland .5479. Texas .628 66. Virginia .54610. Florida .626 82. Duke .533
GEORGIA TECH vs. RPI Top 10: 2-9 GEORGIA TECH vs. RPI Top 25: 13-12 GEORGIA TECH vs. RPI Top 50: 18-13 GEORGIA TECH vs. RPI Top 100: 25-14
OFFENSE HEATS UP
As the weather has warmed up during the month of May, so has the Georgia Tech offense. In 15 games in May, Georgia Tech is batting .349 as a team (188-for-349) and has scored 131 runs (8.7 per game). The Yellow Jackets hit .379 as a team and averaged better than 10 runs per game during the final 11 games of the regular season against Clemson, Mercer, Miami, Georgia and North Carolina. Tech cooled off during the ACC Tournament, batting just .256 as a team in four games.
MORE ON BAKKER
Kyle Bakker posted a 9-0 record in his first 10 starts in 2002 before suffering his first loss at Florida State despite a complete-game effort (Tech lost 4-3). Listed below are the best records by a Tech pitcher to start a season:
Best Record By Georgia Tech Pitchers to Start a Season Player Year Record Finished1. Scott Erwin 1988 13-0 13-02. Brad Rigby 1993 11-0 13-13. L.J. Yankosky 1998 10-0 11-14. Mike Schisler 1973 9-0 9-0 Kris Wilson 1997 9-0 12-2 Kyle Bakker 2002 9-0
SECOND LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK
Georgia Tech had its 27-game home winning streak snapped on Apr. 26 against Virginia in what was the second longest such streak in school history. The Yellow Jackets won their first 22 games in the new Russ Chandler Stadium this season and did not lose at home from April 28, 2001 through April 26, 2002.
Listed below are Tech’s best home winning streaks:
GEORGIA TECH HOME WIN STREAKS1. 29 games 1989-902. 27 games 2001-20023. 23 games 1990-914. 21 games 1992
SECOND HIGHEST WIN TOTAL ENTERING NCAA REGIONALS
Georgia Tech owns a 46-14 record entering the 2002 NCAA Atlanta Regional, the second win total in school history entering the postseason. Tech’s .767 winning percentage currently ranks as the fourth best in school history behind the 1971 team that went 31-6 (.838) under coach Jim Luck, the 1987 team that went 51-14 (.785) under Jim Morris and the 1993 team that went 47-14 (.770) under Morris. Listed below are Tech’s highest win totals entering the NCAA Regionals:
MOST GEORGIA TECH WINS ENTERING NCAA REGIONAL Record Year1. 47-14 20002. 46-14 2002 46-23 19904. 45-12 19935. 44-13 19976. 43-15 1994 43-17 1992 43-22 1988
BAKKER, MURTON & PATTERSON INVITED TO TEAM USA TRIALS
Georgia Tech pitcher Kyle Bakker, outfielder Matt Murton and second baseman Eric Patterson were among 19 collegiate players invited to participate in the 2002 USA Baseball National Team Trials to be held in Tucson, Ariz., June 18-23. The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of approximately 35-40 players, of which an additional 16-21 have yet to be determined. Louisville’s Lelo Prado will serve as the head coach for Team USA. He will be assisted by Terry Alexander of Jacksonville, Sunny Golloway of Oral Roberts, and Terry Rupp of Maryland. The official team roster will be determined and announced on June 24.
SPEED ON THE BASES
With the loss of many of the top power hitters from last year’s team, Georgia Tech has relied more on speed this season. The Yellow Jackets were a perfect 11-for-11 in the stolen base department in the first two games of the season at Georgia Southern and was a perfect 9-for-9 last week at the ACC Tournament. Tech now stands at 122-for-156 (78.2%) for the season. Tech stole just 68 bases during the entire 2002 season.
The Yellow Jackets are stealing an average of 2.03 bases per game this spring. The Tech record for stolen bases per game is 2.21, which was established in 1987 when the Jackets stole a school-record 144 bases.
Tech has stolen 100 bases as a team for the 10th time in school history. The 122 steals currently ranks as the fourth highest single season total in Tech history. Freshman Eric Patterson leads the team with 36 steals, tied for the fifth-best single season mark in school history.
WINNING THE CLOSE ONES
One of the main reasons for Georgia Tech’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament last year was the struggles of the Yellow Jackets in close games. Tech posted just a 3-7 mark in one-run games and a 10-12 record in games decided by three runs or less during the 2001 season. This year, Tech is 9-3 in one-run games and 19-5 in games decided by three runs or less. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 in extra inning games this season.