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No. 10 Tech Baseball Hosts No. 9 NC State in Thursday-Saturday Series

May 14, 2003

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ATLANTA–Georgia Tech, ranked 10th in the nation by USA Today/Baseball Weekly, closes the 2003 regular season this weekend against NC State, ranked as high as No. 9 in the country. The key Atlantic Coast Conference series begins on Thursday at 7 p.m., and continues on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. All four series this weekend in the ACC will run Thursday-Saturday to give the teams an extra day off before the ACC Tournament begins next week in Salem, Va.

Weekend Coverage: Friday’s game will be broadcast on 790 The Zone (790 AM in Atlanta) and WJJC-AM (1270 AM in Commerce). The games on Friday and Saturday will be carried on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta). Live statistics and the radio broadcasts will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.

GEORGIA TECH UPDATE (37-14, 15-6 ACC)

Georgia Tech swept three games at Virginia last weekend to remain in second place in the ACC standings. Florida State currently leads the league with a 16-5 record, while Tech (15-6) sits just ahead of third place NC State (14-7). The Yellow Jackets finish the regular season at home against NC State this Thursday-Saturday. Florida State closes the regular season at Duke.

Georgia Tech snapped out of its worst stretch of the season – losing six of seven to Georgia, Clemson and Florida State (Apr. 23-May 4) – by winning four straight games against Georgia State and at Virginia last week. The Yellow Jackets dropped a 10-3 decision to Georgia on Tuesday night at Turner Field to snap a four-game winning streak.

Freshman RHP Micah Owings (7-2, 4.00) will start the series opener on Thursday night, junior LHP Kyle Bakker (7-1, 3.52) is the scheduled starter on Friday night, and senior RHP Chris Goodman (8-2, 3.86) will start the series finale on Saturday.

NC STATE UPDATE (38-12, 14-7 ACC)

NC State is 38-12 overall and 14-7 in the SEC. The Wolfpack have not played since May 4 following a break for spring semester final examinations. As a team, NC State is batting .284 and the Bulldogs have a 3.93 team ERA.

Redshirt freshman RHP Michael Rogers (10-2, 2.29) will start on on Thursday, junior LHP Nate Cretarolo (4-2, 5.25) will start game two on Friday and junior RHP Vern Sterry (10-0, 2.82) will start the final game of the series on Saturday.

SERIES VS. NC STATE: GEORGIA TECH LEADS, 51-39

Georgia Tech leads NC State, 51-39, in a series that dates to 1921. The Yellow Jackets hold a 25-10 advantage in games played in Atlanta, while the Wolfpack hold a slim 20-17 advantage in Raleigh, while the series is tied at 9-9 at neutral sites.

Last year, Georgia Tech swept three games from NC State at Doak Field in Raleigh, winning 6-4, 20-12 and 3-0. The Yellow Jackets won the opener on Friday night behind an eight inning, one earned run performance from Kyle Bakker and a 4-for-4, two home run effort from Jeremy Slayden. In game two, Matt Murton powered the Tech offense with five RBI and a grand slam, while Brian Burks tossed a five hit shutout in the series finale.

Two years ago in Atlanta, the Wolfpack took two of three from the Yellow Jackets to win their first ever series at Russ Chandler Stadium.

Georgia Tech is 21-11 against NC State under head coach Danny Hall.

STARTING PITCHER NOTES

Thursday: MICAH OWINGS (RHP) 7-2, 4.00 ERA

Freshman Micah Owings gets the nod on Thursday night in what will be his 10th start and 15th appearance of the season. Owings holds the unique distinction of earning a win in each of his first four career appearances, including two starts and two relief stints.

Owings earned a win in his first career start against Campbell (Mar. 4) after holding the Camels to two runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out three batters and did not issue a walk. The freshman won his second start of the season on Mar. 11 at Auburn (6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K). In a start against Wake Forest on Apr. 20, a 5-3 Tech win, Owings carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.

Owings allowed eight earned runs over 26.2 IP (2.70 ERA) in five appearances (Mercer, Miami, North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest) prior to a start at Clemson where he surrendered seven earned runs in seven innings. Owings has bounced back with two solid performances in his last two appearances (Florida State and Virginia), allowing four runs in 15 innings (2.40 ERA).

The 6-5 power righthander made his first career appearance in Tech’s second game of the season, working 3.1 scoreless and hitless innings against Georgia Southern. The only baserunner he allowed came via a hit batsman on an 0-2 pitch. Owings earned a win in relief against Michigan in his second appearance, recording two outs in the top of the ninth inning in a tie game before Tech rallied for a 7-6 win in the bottom of the ninth.

As a senior at Gainesville High School, Owings went 12-1 with a 1.03 ERA while recording 121 strikeouts and just three walks in 75 innings.

Owings also serves as Tech’s regular DH, and he has a team-high 14 home runs.

Friday: KYLE BAKKER (LHP) 7-1, 3.52 ERA

Junior Kyle Bakker will start on Friday in the second game of the NC State series, and he will be making his 15th start of the season and the 39th start of his collegiate career.

Bakker is 7-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 2003, and he had a streak of 19 consecutive starts without suffering a defeat snapped on May 2 against Florida State. It was a rather tough luck loss, as Bakker worked three innings and allowed just one run before the game was suspended on Friday night due to bad weather. He did not pitch the following day as the game was resumed and the Seminoles went on to 7-1 win. Bakker did not fare in the decision in his most recent start last weekend at Virginia, working 6.1 innings and allowing two runs.

For his career, Bakker stands at 24-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 256.2 innings pitched. Bakker currently ranks as the second best command pitcher in school history behind only teammate Chris Goodman, allowing just 2.07 walks per nine innings.

A preseason All-America in 2003, Bakker earned second team All-America honors in 2002 after earning Freshman All-America honors in 2001. The 6-9 lefty spent the summer of 2002 with the USA Baseball National team, and he posted a 3-2 record and a 2.14 ERA in six starts.

Saturday: CHRIS GOODMAN (RHP) 8-2, 3.86 ERA

Senior Chris Goodman will get the ball on Saturday afternoon in the finale of the NC State series. Goodman will be making his 11th start of the 2003 season and the 24th start of his Georgia Tech career.

Goodman leads the team with eight victories this spring after winning a total of eight games in 13 starts last season. The right-hander is coming off the best performance of his collegiate career last Sunday at Virginia where he tossed a three-hit shutout to earn ACC Pitcher of the Week honors. Goodman was unhittable for the second half of the game, retiring the final 16 batters he faced while not allowing a single baserunner over the final five innings.

The 6-0 right hander ended the 2002 season as Tech’s No. 2 starter, and he posted an 8-2 record and a 4.41 ERA in 81.2 innings of work. For his career, Goodman is 16-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 156.1 innings, and he stands as the top command pitcher in Georgia Tech history with just 1.96 walks per nine innings.

A transfer from NC State following the 2000 season, Goodman made the successful conversion from shortstop to pitcher last season.

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