May 6, 2011
ATLANTA – After taking the midweek off for final exams, Georgia Tech’s 10th-ranked baseball team (31-14) will step out of conference play for a three-game series against Illinois-Chicago (22-19) at Les Miller Field in Chicago, Ill. Game times are 8:05 p.m. Saturday, 3:05 p.m. Sunday and 2:05 p.m. Monday.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Illinois-Chicago)
Saturday: RHP Mark Pope (9-2, 1.25, 86.1 IP, 72 SO) vs. RHP Matt Salemi (4-4, 2.19, 61.2 IP, 17 SO)
Sunday: LHP Jed Bradley (5-2, 2.60, 69.1 IP, 81 SO) vs. RHP Charlie Weinberg (6-4, 4.33, 52 IP, 31 SO)
Monday: RHP Buck Farmer (7-2, 3.28, 71.1 IP, 72 SO) vs. RHP Joey Begel (3-2, 5.46, 61 IP, 22 SO)
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at RamblinWreck.com.
Georgia Tech (31-14) enters the week ranked as high as No. 10in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Perfect Game USA top-25polls. The Jackets are also ranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches'(12), Baseball America (13) and National Collegiate BaseballWriter’s Association (15) polls. Tech looks to rebound from a 1-3week in which it lost a conference series at nationally-rankedClemson over the weekend …The loss was just the second seriesfalter for the Jackets this season … Tech has won nine of its 11weekend series … The Jackets remain second place in the ACCCoastal Division, two games behind division leader Virginia.Saturday’s game will mark just the seventh all-time meeting betweenthe two school’s … This weekend’s trip will conclude a home andhome series with the Flames … Tech swept the series in Atlantalast season. Former Yellow Jacket and current Chicago Cubsoutfielder Marlon Byrd will be on hand to throw out a ceremonialfirst pitch along with two heroes from the Wounded Warrior Project,United States Marine Corp sergeant Matt Johnson and United StatesArmy sergeant Dan Casara. Illinois-Chicago (22-19) returns 14letterwinners and eight starters (six position players) from a 2010team that went 24-30 overall, and finished third in the HorizonLeague. The Flames are coming off a 9-7 loss to Northern Illinoisin midweek action on Wednesday … Illinois-Chicago has won six ofits last nine games however, including a double-header sweep overYoungstown State on Sunday in Horizon League action … UIC isbatting .275 as a team, led by Matt Serna’s .349 average … Thepitching staff holds a 4.41 ERA.
Georgia Tech holds a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series … Tech won all three meetings in 2010 at Russ Chandler Stadium, winning 8-4 and 11-5 to clinch the series before a 5-2 victory in the finale … The two teams have never faced each other in Chicago.
Last Meeting: Jed Bradley recorded 10 strikeouts en route to his fourth straight win, and Chase Burnette went 3-for-4 with a home run as Georgia Tech completed a three-game sweep of Illinois-Chicago with a 5-2 victory on May 9th at Russ Chandler Stadium. Bradley won his eighth game of the year after scattering two runs on eight hits over six frames. QUICK HITS
Georgia Tech currently ranks third in the Atlantic CoastConference in hitting (.307) while holding the second lowest ERA at2.79 … Tech’s 486 hits are the 13th most in the nation … Thepitching staff’s 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings are the seventhbest in the land, while the team’s ERA and hits allowed per nineinnings (7.68) both rank 13th. The Jackets are outscoring opponents300-173 this season, and are averaging 10.8 hits and 6.7 runs pergame. Tech has recorded multiple hits in 28 of the 45 games on theseason, but just twice in the last seven games. Freshmancenterfielder Kyle Wren is tied for the ACC lead in hits (71) while third inbatting average (.372) and fourth in runs scored (45) … His 71hits are the 10th most in the nation. Tech’s three weekend pitchers- Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer – have combined for a 21-6 record and a 2.29 ERA… Pope is leads the ACC in four different categories, includinginnings pitched (86.1) and complete games (5) … His 1.25 ERA isthe second lowest in the conference and the 10th best in thenation. Bradley and Farmer are both coming off their first careercollegiate complete games … Bradley is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA (16IP) in his last two starts … He has allowed just 13 hits (oneextra base) and two runs (one earned) in the process. Georgia Techhas won 12 of its last 14 weekend series, including nine of 11 thisseason … The team has swept five of them. The Jackets won 16straight games from March 4 to March 29, their longest streak sincethe 2006 season. Seventeen of Georgia Tech’s 34 players on theroster are freshmen … All 17 have played this season while 10have made at least one start.
YELLOW JACKETS IN THE RPI
Georgia Tech is currently ranked No. 8 in the latest NCAA RPIrankings (as of May 3)… The Jackets are also No. 8 in the latestPseudo-RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). The Atlantic Coast Conferenceis well represented in the RPI, with six teams ranked among the top25 in the nation. Virginia, ranked No. 2 in the country in the RPI,leads all conference teams while North Carolina (6), Florida State(7), Georgia Tech (8), Clemson (10) and Miami (11) all rank in thetop 25.
The Jackets will have a quick turnaround, returning home late on Monday before hosting Savannah State in midweek action on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.
WEEKEND THREE ARE KEY
Georgia Tech’s weekend rotation of Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer has keyed the team’s success so far this season. The 1-2-3 punch is a combined 21-6, with a collective 2.29 ERA (58 earned runs in 227 innings). Pope leads the crew in wins (9) and ERA (1.25) while Bradley leads the crew in strikeouts with 81.
QUALITY AND QUANTITY
Quality starts (six innings pitched, three or fewer runs allowed) are pretty much the norm for Georgia Tech starters. Heading into this weekend, Yellow Jackets hurlers have 24 quality starts in 33 appearances. Pope is almost a given, as he has 10 and hasn’t had a start shorter than six innings all season. Buck Farmer and Jed Bradley each have seven quality starts, with six each over their last eight starts. Both are coming off their first career complete games. That means a lot of innings pitched. All three starters are in the top 10 in the ACC, as Pope leads the ACC with 86 1/3, Farmer is fifth with 71 1/3 and Bradley is tied for seventh with 69 1/3.
FORMER JACKET TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH Former Yellow Jacket and current Chicago Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd will throw out the first pitch prior to Saturday’s 8:05 p.m. start against Illinois-Chicago at Les Miller Field. Byrd made 53 starts as a third baseman and outfielder in his lone season on the Flats in 1996. The Marietta, Ga. native batted .288 with 10 doubles, a home run and 27 RBI in 58 total games.
BRADLEY AND FARMER TOSS BACK-TO-BACK COMPLETE GAMES The Tech bullpen had plenty of rest in the series against Clemson last weekend, as Jed Bradley (9.0 IP) and Buck Farmer (8.0 IP) tossed back-to-back complete games for the Jackets. Bradley scattered seven hits and one unearned run over nine innings in Saturday’s win over Clemson. In a losing effort on Sunday, Farmer allowed just four hits in the eight-inning complete game. He retired the side in six of the eight innings, and used just 76 total pitches in the 3-1 setback.