March 7, 2012
No. 10 Georgia Tech (10-2) at Georgia State(6-6) Game 13 Wednesday, March 7, 6 p.m. Location Decatur, Ga. | GSU Baseball Complex | Weather Radio WREK Radio Gametracker RamblinWreck.com Game Info GameNotes | 2012 MediaGuide | Facebook | Twitter
>> Winners of five-straight and surging offensively, No. 10 Georgia Tech heads to Panthersville Wednesday night for a 6 p.m. tilt with the Georgia State Panthers.
>> The game can be heard live on WREK Radio, 91.1 FM in Atlanta, and on RamblinWreck.com.
>> Freshman Cole Pitts gets the nod, looking for his second midweek win in as many starts. The tall righty is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. He’ll be countered by GSU rookie, and German born, Max Schmitz.
>> Tech’s bats stayed hot last week, hitting .391 as a team with a .603 slugging percentage, a .441 on-base percentage and outscoring the opposition 42-14 in going 4-0. The Jackets got balanced production up and down the lineup as six of the eight players that started all four games hit .350+, while nine different players collected three or more RBI.
>> With a .494 team slugging percentage, Tech leads the ACC in that category and ranks 15th nationally. The Ramblin Wreck is also among the NCAA’s top 15 in runs (97), hits (138), doubles (29) and triples (7).
>> Tech has received at least one multi-RBI hit from six different players in each of the last five games.
A MODEL OF SUCCESS
>> With an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Atlanta Regional, Georgia Tech returned to the NCAA Tournament for the 25th time in the last 27 years. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA Tournament every year since 1985 with the exception of the 1999 and 2007 seasons, and made its 27th overall postseason appearance in history last year.
>> Since 2002, Georgia Tech has appeared in nine NCAA Regionals, three NCAA Super Regionals and two College World Series (2002 and 2006).
>> Prior to its recent streak, Georgia Tech had participated in the NCAA playoff just twice, in 1959 and 1971, with an additional play-in tournament appearance in 1948.
>> Georgia Tech made its first trip to the College World Series in 1994, advancing to the championship game before falling to Oklahoma, 13-5.
>> Under Danny Hall, Tech is averaging 43.3 wins per season, a figure that ranks 10th nationally since the 1994 season.
FORMER JACKETS MAKE HEADLINES
>> Former Tech greats Nomar Garciaparra (`92-94) and Jason Varitek (`91-94) made headlines this week as Varitek announced his retirement and Garciaparra was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. The pair led Georgia Tech to the program’s first College World Series in 1994 — reaching the title game.
SCOUTING THE PANTHERS
>> Georgia State brings a 6-6 mark into Wednesday’s game, but has dropped three of its last four, including a 5-0 loss Sunday to Stetson in the final game of the Bright House Invitational in DeLand, Fla.
>> GSU suffered a 4-1 loss at then-No. 9 Georgia, 4-1, on Feb. 22
>> Jonathan Kolowich’s .390 average and five doubles leads the club. He is tied with Kody Adams (two home runs) for the team lead with nine RBI.
>> Freshman righty Max Schmitz, a native of Bonn, Germany, is listed at GSU’s starter. Schmitz, who played on the German National Team for GSU head coach Greg Frady, is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA.
THE GEORGIA STATE SERIES
>> All time, Tech owns a commanding 56-9 edge in the all-time series, that dates back to 1971. The Jackets are 24-5 in Panthersville and have won four-straight at the GSU Baseball Complex. Under Danny Hall, Tech is 32-5 versus its cross-city rival.
>> GSU took the team’s only meeting last season, 6-3, at Russ Chandler Stadium on March 2. Matthew Grimes was tagged for nine hits and four runs in five innings and absorbed the loss, while former Panther Mark Micowski was 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and two runs.
NATIONAL POLL UPDATE
>> Georgia Tech remains highly-ranked in the major college baseball national polls this week, sitting at No. 9 in the NCBWA and Baseball America polls and No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Collegiate Baseball polls.
>> Georgia Tech was ranked as high as No. 9 in the 2012 preseason polls and the Yellow Jackets have been ranked every year in the preseason under Danny Hall.
CLOSING ON MAJOR MILESTONE
>> Having spent his entire coaching career involved with winning programs, Danny Hall’s tenure at Georgia Tech has been his most successful, as he is the all-time winningest baseball coach in Yellow Jacket history with 789 victories at the school.
>> Now in his 19th season on the Flats, Hall is just three victories shy of becoming the 47th Division-I baseball coach all-time to reach 1,000 career wins (Missouri State’s Keith Guttin became the 46th last weekend).
>> Entering 2012, he was ranked 13th among active Division-I coaches in winning percentage (.679), and is 16th among active D-I coaches in number of victories (987).
>> Hall has led Tech to the NCAA Tournament on 16 occasions and guided the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series in 1994, 2002 and 2006, the only head coach in the program’s storied history to reach the promised land of Omaha.
>> Hall, 57, is 997-468-1 as a head coach, including six seasons at Kent State. At Tech, Hall’s record is 789-351-1.
>> Tech has displayed balance offensively over its 10-2 start, getting at least five hits from 11 different players and seeing 14 players score the team’s 97 runs.
>> Tech’s balance was on full display last week as the team went 4-0 and hit .391. Six different players hit .350 or better, six scored five+ runs, the 19 extra-base hits were spread over nine different players and nine players collected three+ RBI.
>> Six regulars are hitting above a .320-clip, with Sam Dove’s .419 leading the way.
>> Six have recorded a game-winning RBI, while five have scored a game-winning run.
>> Eight different players have swiped 17 bases, led by Brandon Thomas’ 5-for-5.
>> Georgia Tech may possess two of the fastest lead-off men in the ACC in Kyle Wren and Brandon Thomas. The pair are gap-robbers in the outfield, and have speed to burn at the top of Tech’s order.
>> Wren hit .412 last week (7-for-17) with six runs, three RBI, and a two-triple game versus Kennesaw State. He was 4-for-5 in the series-opener versus Rutgers with a double, two steals and three RBI.
>> Wren is tied for the ACC lead with three triples, is third in the league in runs scored (16) and tied for fourth in walks (10).
>> With 10 career triples, Wren, a sophomore, ranks tied for 13th all-time at Tech.
>> Thomas is third in the ACC in steals (5-for-5) and is sixth in runs (14). He had a career-best 5-for-5 game versus Rutgers last Friday and for the week, led the club with a .500 average (9-for-18), with three doubles, a triple, six runs and three RBI.
>> Wren, Thomas and Daniel Palka have reached base safely in every game this season.
TECH TRIPLES WAY INTO RECORD BOOK
>> Kyle Wren had two triples in the Kennesaw State win and Brandon Thomas added one of his own, allowing Tech to match the school record for triples in a game with three.
>> Wren also tied a school record with two triples, matching a mark that had been set 18 previous times — the last by Jeff Rowland vs. Missouri State on March 20, 2010.
>> The school record of three triples had been set 10 previous times, the last coming on April 14, 2010 vs. Georgia.
>> Sophomore Zane Evans, a year removed from a freshman All-America season in which he caught nearly every game for Tech, is proving his worth all over the diamond in 2012.
>> He’s started seven games behind the plate and has made five appearances on the mound with a save and 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings. His offensive numbers are red-hot, with a .357 average, three doubles, one triple, one home run and 12 RBI.
>> Evans’ first home run of the season was a three-run shot at Georgia Southern (F22) that broke an 8-8 tie in the eighth inning and gave the Jackets the lead for good. He picked up his first career save the Sunday before in a 5-3 win at Winthrop.
>> Evans hit .270 as a rookie with five homers and became Tech’s first everyday freshman starting catcher since Jason Varitek in 1991.
FOR THE DOVE OF THE GAME
>> Junior captain Sam Dove has surged to the top of Tech’s batting average list, thanks in part to multi-hit efforts in four of his last five games. The versatile Dove, who has started every game at three different positions in 2012 (second base, third base and left field), is hitting .419 (ninth in the ACC) and has scored in nine-consecutive games.
>> Dove has been sizzling since a 3-for-17 (.176) start to the year, and is 15 for his last 26 (.577). That has included four three-hit games, and his only extra-base hit in that span was his first career home run — a three-run bomb in the series-opener versus Rutgers.
>> A walk-on his freshman year, Dove started 48 games in 2011, hit .310, with 18 RBI and was an Academic All-ACC pick.
>> Junior RHP Buck Farmer leads the ACC and is ranked third nationally with 31 strikeouts, and his 14.68 strikeouts per nine innings is also tops in the ACC and third nationally.
>> Farmer, one of three Tech captains, has won his last two starts (2-1), with a 3.32 ERA and 17 hits allowed in 19.0 innings this season.
>> He leads a weekend staff that has been among the most consistent in the ACC this season. He, Matthew Grimes and Dusty Isaacs have already recorded seven wins combined and are averaging nearly six innings per start.
>> The trio own a combined 2.73 ERA in 52.2 innings, with 58 strikeouts, 19 walks and a minuscule .199 opponent batting average.
>> Farmer is fifth in the ACC, averaging 6.33 innings per game, and Isaacs is seventh (6.22).
>> Grimes (2-1) is 18th in the ACC with a 1.80 ERA, and his opponent average of .157 is ninth.
>> Isaacs (3-0) is one four ACC pitchers to have logged three wins to lead the league in that category.
>> Sophomore RHP Dusty Isaacs is continuing a long line of Tech starters who’ve found success in the Sunday role. Already this season, Isaacs is 3-0 and averaging 6.22 innings per start (eighth in the ACC) with a 2.89 ERA.
>> Since 2010, Georgia Tech is 25-5 in the third game of a weekend series (3-0 in 2012, 11-3 in 2011 and 11-2 in 2010).
>> Pitts is slated to make his second-straight midweek start Wednesday at Georgia State, is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 11.1 innings. The Moultrie, Ga. native has fanned 15 against four walks and opponents are hitting .214 off him.
>> Heddinger (1-0) has made five appearances — all in relief — and totalled six innings, allowing four singles, no runs with two walks and six strikeouts.
LUKE’S USING THE FORCE
>> Junior closer and captain Luke Bard, listed on the preseason watch list for the Stopper of the Year Award, has not been scored upon in his six appearances (8.0 IP) this season.
>> In fact, his streak of not allowing an earned run dates back to April 24, 2011 — spanning 12-consecutive appearances and 22.0 innings.
>> Bard has recorded two saves this season, and with 12 in his career, stands tied for ninth on Tech’s career list.
>> A big key to Georgia Tech’s early-season success can be tied to fast starts. The Yellow Jackets are out-scoring the opposition 57-20 over the first four innings, including a 21-7 advantage in the third.
>> Tech is 7-0 when scoring first this season and is 4-0 when scoring in the first inning.
>> The Jackets are closing strong as well, with a 19-7 edge in seventh-inning runs.