March 15, 2007
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech returns to Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend for a key Atlantic Coast Conference series against Boston College beginning Friday at 4 p.m. The Yellow Jackets (9-9, 1-2 ACC) and Eagles (5-6-1, 3-0 ACC) will continue the three-game series Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
GAME COVERAGE: All three games can be heard on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org). Live online video for Friday’s game available on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). Livestats at www.ramblinwreck.com.
Georgia Tech lost a tough 6-4 contest at Kennesaw State during the week after dropping their first conference series of the season against Virginia Tech last weekend. Boston College is coming off a 3-0 weekend at Duke in which the Eagles outscored the Blue Devils, 23-8. Seven of the Eagles’ first eight games were decided by one run, with BC posting a 2-5 record in those contests.
Pitching Matchup (GT vs. BC)
The Yellow Jacket offense is led by outfielders Danny Payne (.400-1-12-7) and Wally Crancer (.381-4-18), catcher Matt Wieters (.364-5-24) and DH/1B Tony Plagman (.351-0-4-3), while two other Yellow Jackets are hitting over .300 for the season. Georgia Tech, as a team, is hitting .302 on the year.
Boston College leads series with Georgia Tech, 2-1
The Yellow Jackets and Eagles’ first meeting occurred last year when the two teams met for a three-game series in late April. Boston College took two of the three games over Georgia Tech at Commander Shea Field in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and will make its first trip to Atlanta when the two teams meet in a three-game series at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend.
Memories Abound for Georgia Tech’s Danny Payne
Georgia Tech was without Danny Payne in the last two games of last year’s series, as it was in the second inning of the first game against the Eagles that the centerfielder injured his shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield. The junior collided with leftfielder Steven Blackwood and did not return to the baseball diamond until this season.
At the time of his departure, Payne was leading the Yellow Jackets in hits, runs, triples, home runs, total bases and stolen bases and ranked among the Top Ten in the ACC in nine different statistical categories.
Despite missing the last 25 games of 2006, he still earned first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors and finished the season leading the team with a .356 average.
No Payne, No Gain: When Danny Payne’s sophomore season came to an abrupt end due to injury, he was leading the team in six offensive categories, and many questioned whether he would return to that same form in 2007. The junior center fielder has quieted those critics, as he leads the team in five offensive categories in 2007, including hitting a team-best 400 on the year. Most impressive perhaps is Payne’s improved eye at the plate, as the junior has collected 26 hits and walked 27 times while striking out just nine times in 65 AB’s. Payne is pacing Tech in average, on base percentage (.574), runs (27), triples (2), walks and stolen bases (7) and stands tied for the team lead with seven doubles in 2007. The Woodstock, Ga. native also stands second on the team in hits (26) and third with a .615 slugging percentage.
Wieters’ Jackets’ Steady Leader: Junior catcher Matt Wieters continues to be the Jackets’ steady leader on and off the field, appearing in the top three in eight offensive categories in 2007, including leading the team with 28 hits, 24 RBI, five home runs, 49 total bases and a .636 slugging percentage. The nation’s top catcher, according to the latest Rivals.com power rankings, Wieters is hitting .364 on the season and has missed just four games in his career on the Flats, with all four coming in his rookie season.
Crancer Making Most of Senior Year: Despite spending just one season on the Flats prior to the 2007 season, senior captain Wally Crancer has reached a comfort level in his senior year, appearing in the top three on the team in average (2nd, .381), slugging percentage (2nd, .635), runs (2nd, 19), RBI (2nd, 18), home runs (T-2nd, 4), on base percentage (3rd, .458) and total bases (T-3rd, 40).
Fisher Having Breakout Year: Junior shortstop Michael Fisher has started the 2007 season with a bang, hitting 40 points higher than his career average and already tying his previous season high in home runs (set his freshman year). The Nashville native is currently tied for third on the team with 24 hits and ranks in the top five in average (.312), RBI (17), doubles (6), home runs (2), total bases (36) and sacrifices (4).
Jackets to Shave Heads for Charity This Weekend
The 2007 Georgia Tech baseball team has joined forces with the St. Baldrick’s foundation to raise money to fund cancer research for kids. The team set the goal of raising at least $5,000 by St. Patrick’s Day, or St. Baldrick’s Day, as coined by the organization, and achieved that goal in early March. To date, fans have donated $6,000 to the cause, resulting in 24 players to have their heads shaved following the game against Boston College on 3/17. The team has agreed that, because of their fans’ generous support, they will continue the efforts to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and for every additional $250 raised by March 17, one more Georgia Tech baseball player will shave his head in a head-shaving “ceremony” after the game. For more information, go to http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/event_info.html?EventID=121 or visit the St. Baldrick’s table inside Gate 3 at Russ Chandler Stadium.