April 10, 2008
ATLANTA – No. 10 Georgia Tech (26-7, 9-6 ACC) continues its stretch of seven-straight games against the nation’s best this weekend when top-ranked Miami arrives in Atlanta for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series beginning Friday at 7 p.m. The Jackets and Hurricanes will also play at 7 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Prior to a 9-4 midweek win over No. 11 Georgia, Tech took a game off No. 3 North Carolina last weekend in Cary, N.C. The Jackets enter the weekend winners of 13 of their last 16 games and will face a hot Miami team that has won 14 of their last 15.
Game Coverage: The entire series can be seen live on CSS, with Chuck Hussion and former Tech great Randy Carroll calling the action, while WREK Radio will broadcast the first and third games of the series on 91.1 FM in Atlanta and www.wrek.org. A free internet-only broadcast of Saturday’s game will be available on Ramblinwreck.com with Richard Musterer providing the play-by-play. Live stats for all Georgia Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Game Promotions: Saturday is Georgia Tech Baseball Alumni Night at Russ Chandler Stadium, and the Yellow Jackets will recognize all baseball alumni on the field prior to the game. That night is also Pyro-TECH Night at the ballpark, as Georgia Tech will set off fireworks following the conclusion of the game. Youth Sunday is back in effect this weekend, as all youth in attendance for the series finale will have the opportunity to take the field pre-game with the Yellow Jackets and run the bases postgame. T-shirts will be given out to all youth while supplies last.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps is holding opponents to a .240 batting average, as eight different pitchers have earned wins in 2008. Closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best eight saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have combined for 25 scoreless appearances in relief this season.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Miami)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (4-1, 3.94) vs. LHP Chris Hernandez (4-0, 2.54)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (4-2, 3.10) vs. RHP Enrique Garcia (1-0, 6.00)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (4-1, 2.29) vs. TBA
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by junior DH/RF Luke Murton (.352, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 3 SB), freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.347-10-33-3), redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.344-3-23-12), and freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.333-2-13-12).
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have won nine of their last 11 games, and 13 of their last 16, entering the weekend series against the Hurricanes. Over the last 16 contests, juniors Luke Murton (.477-3-15-2) and Charlie Blackmon (.373-2-13-7) and freshman Derek Dietrich (.400-5-16-2) have combined to hit .411 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI while the bullpen has posted a sterling 1.81 ERA and is holding opponents to a .233 average. Tech is coming off an exciting win over 11th-ranked Georgia Wednesday night and looks to extend its two-game winning streak vs. ranked opponents this weekend against the nation’s top-ranked team. The Yellow Jackets have been ranked in every Collegiate Baseball poll this season, achieving their highest mark this week when they moved to No. 10 in the rankings.
Miami – The top-ranked Hurricanes had their season-long 14-game winning streak snapped against Florida Atlantic Wednesday night, but enter the weekend ranked No. 1 in the nation in three of the four major polls. Miami has lost just three times this season but has yet to play a ranked opponent in 2008. The Hurricane offense has been one of the best in the nation, as Miami is batting .336 with 45 home runs as a team. Jemile Weeks leads the Hurricanes, batting .387, while Ryan Jackson (.372), Yonder Alonso (.362) and Blake Tekotte (.361) are all hitting above .360 on the season.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Miami leads, 40-22-2)
The Hurricanes hold a commanding 40-22-2 lead in a series that dates to the 1958 season, but the Yellow Jackets have been more successful on their home field against Miami than anywhere else, posting an 11-14 record vs. the Hurricanes at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech and Miami have squared off 29 times since head coach Danny Hall arrived on the Flats in 1994, and all 29 of those meetings have come against current Hurricane head coach Jim Morris, Hall’s predecessor at Georgia Tech. Miami is 17-12 against the Yellow Jackets since the 1994 season.
The two teams have split the last six series, and Miami won two of three off the Jackets a year ago in Coral Gables, Fla. Tech took the first game of the 2007 series, 9-2, before the Hurricanes pulled out an 11-inning victory the following day. Miami then won the rubber game with a walk-off RBI single by Gus Menendez in the bottom of the ninth inning to take the series, 2-1.
Tech’s Top Coaches Square Off
Since 1982, Georgia Tech has won 1,141 games (an average of over 42 wins per season), with all of those victories coming under one of the two head coaches on the field this weekend. Danny Hall, in his 15th year on the Flats, is Georgia Tech baseball’s winningest coach, with 637 victories since his arrival in 1994. The coach that he passed for that honor: current Miami head coach Jim Morris, whose Tech teams won 504 games from 1982-93.
Streaking in the ACC
Georgia Tech has enjoyed unprecedented success within the Atlantic Coast Conference since 2004, winning the ACC regular season title in 2004 with an 18-5 league record and again in 2005 with a 22-8 mark. Tech had a conference-record 25-game ACC win streak in 2004-05.
The Yellow Jackets are 83-45 (.648) in their last 128 ACC regular season games.
The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 29 of its last 43 weekend series, including three of five this season. Tech has won 47 of its last 63 ACC home games and 36 of its last 64 ACC road games.
Home, Sweet Home
Georgia Tech is 20-2 within the friendly confines of Russ Chandler Stadium in 2008, and 6-5 in games away from home. The Yellow Jackets have won 15 of their last 16 home games following a win over Georgia before a record-breaking crowd Wednesday night.
Both Tech’s hitters and pitchers enjoy playing at home, as the Jackets are batting .305 and scoring 7.0 runs while hitting 1.5 home runs per game at home vs. a .264 average, six runs, and 0.8 home runs per game on the road. The pitching staff has a remarkable 2.60 ERA and has held opponents to a .223 average at The Rusty C, but the pitchers’ ERA is at 5.32 and opponents are batting .274 against them on the road.
Rulon Passes Century Mark
Yellow Jacket senior right-hander Brad Rulon continues his climb up several Georgia Tech career records this season. He currently stands 12th in the record books with a .786 winning percentage, eighth with 9.83 strikeouts per 9 IP and tied for 12th with seven career saves.
The Columbus, Ga. native is also one of just six players in Georgia Tech history to appear in 100 career games, as he passed the century mark in the Jackets’ 9-4 win over Georgia on Wednesday.