March 16, 2009
ATLANTA – No. 3 Georgia Tech (12-1) will face Kennesaw State (7-6) for a pair of games this week, as the two teams play a home-and-home series beginning Tuesday in Kennesaw. The Yellow Jackets and Owls meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. before returning to Russ Chandler Stadium for a 6 p.m. game Wednesday. Tech notched a 5-4 victory over the Owls last Wednesday in the first contest between the two teams this season.
The Yellow Jackets are riding a nine-game winning streak following a win over Boston College in a rain-shortened ACC series last weekend. Kennesaw State swept a doubleheader from then-No. 21 Kent State Friday before the rest of its series was also cancelled due to rain.
Georgia Tech was a consensus preseason top-25 team that moved into the top-10 in the season’s first official polls. The Yellow Jackets have been ranked as high as No. 3 this season (this week by Collegiate Baseball) and currently appear among the top-10 in the Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA (5), USA Today (9) and Rivals.com (10) polls. Baseball America has the Jackets ranked No. 14 in their latest college baseball poll.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Kennesaw State)
Tuesday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (3-0, 4.50)/STAFF DAY vs. RHP Chad Jenkins (1-0, 4.50)
Wednesday: RHP Kevin Jacob (2-0, 2.60) vs. LHP Justin Edwards (1-2, 5.79)
Senior RF Luke Murton (.391-0-8-2) and senior C Jason Haniger (.390-2-12-2) are pacing the Yellow Jacket offense this season, while junior 1B Tony Plagman (.365-5-18-4) leads the team in HR and RBI. The Jackets are batting .315 as a team, while all six players that average more than 2.5 AB per game are hitting above .300 in 2009.
A live video broadcast will be available online for both games this week. Tuesday’s broadcast can be found at ASun.tv, and ACC Select (www.accselect.com) will carry Wednesday’s contest. Both games can be heard on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), while live stats for all Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
TECH vs. KENNESAW STATE (Tech leads, 8-2)
The Yellow Jackets and Eagles will be meeting for the 11th time in history Tuesday, and the Yellow Jackets have won the last three meetings between the two schools.
Tech squeezed out a 5-4 win against the Owls last Wednesday behind a strong performance by Kevin Jacob, who worked a career-high eight innings. A three-run home run by Tony Plagman gave the Yellow Jackets a comfortable 4-1 lead, and Jay Dantzler added a solo homer in the sixth to put Tech ahead, 5-1. The Owls answered with a run in the top of the seventh and then plated two in the top of the ninth before freshman closer Mark Pope shut the door by striking out Tyler Stubblefield with the bases loaded to end the game.
The Jackets will be making just their third visit to Stillwell Stadium Tuesday evening, and are an even 1-1 in games played in Kennesaw. Tech is 7-1 against the Owls since head coach Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994.
JACKETS RECEIVE HIGHEST RANKING SINCE 2006
Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Yellow Jackets have climbed to No. 3 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll, marking Georgia Tech’s highest ranking since the 2006 season. Tech climbed as high as No. 1 in the polls in 2006 before finishing the season ranked No. 7 by Baseball America and USA Today. Prior to this week, the last time Tech was ranked as high as No. 3 was in the March 27 (2006) USA Today and Baseball America polls.
TECH vs. IN-STATE OPPONENTS
Georgia Tech went 11-3 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2008 and has started the season with a 3-1 record against in-state foes in 2009 following wins over Mercer and Kennesaw State last week. The Jackets have a total of 14 regular season games on the schedule against schools from Georgia this season.
Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 92-30 (.754) record against its in-state foes. In 16 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 136-47 (.743) against teams from Georgia.
YELLOW JACKETS IN THE RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 3 in the nation in the latest RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA releases its RPI just once a week, beginning later in the season).
The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the most updated RPI, with five teams ranked among the top 11 in the nation. North Carolina leads all conference teams, standing at No. 2 in the RPI, while Georgia Tech, Miami (6), Clemson (7) and Virginia (11) own four of the next nine spots.
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 12 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with six of those contests coming away from Russ Chandler Stadium.
Kennesaw State currently stands at No. 130 in the RPI.
In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech is ranked No. 3 while Kennesaw State’s schedule stands at No. 129 in the latest rankings.
In 2008, Georgia Tech nearly doubled its home run output from the 2007 season and marked the biggest increase in home runs from one year to the next in school history. Last season, the Yellow Jackets belted 92 home runs, the seventh-best single season mark in school history and the fourth-most since Hall’s arrival in 1994.
With an ACC-leading 27 home runs through the first 13 games of the season, the Yellow Jackets look to be well on their way to another record-breaking season. One note about Tech leading the league in HR – the 27 homers have come in just 13 games this season, and no team in the league has played fewer games than the Yellow Jackets.
ON THE OFFENSIVE
Speaking of power numbers, the Yellow Jackets have been hot through their last five games, averaging 12.2 runs per game while 30 of their 59 hits have gone for extra bases. Against Boston College, Kennesaw State, Mercer, and in two games against Maryland, Georgia Tech is batting .331 with 14 doubles and 16 home runs while slugging .680.
Leading the way for the Jackets is junior first baseman Tony Plagman, who is batting .474 (9-for-19) with three home runs, two doubles and 10 RBI. Thirteen different Yellow Jackets have homered over the last five games.
RUNS NO PROBLEM FOR TERSCH
The last thing a pitcher wants to do is work seven or eight innings, giving up just one or two runs, and be losing the game. Yellow Jacket starter Zach Von Tersch hasn’t had to deal with that issue this season though – the Yellow Jackets are averaging 16.7 runs per game in contests that he starts, including a 24-run explosion against Maryland his last time out. Tech has scored in double figures (13, 13, 24) every time the junior has taken the mound, while he has held up his end of the bargain – giving up just eight runs total on the year.