March 13, 2008
ATLANTA – No. 11 Georgia Tech will travel to Tallahassee to face No. 3 Florida State for a three-game ACC baseball series this weekend in what will be the toughest test thus far for the Yellow Jackets in 2008. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, while Sunday’s first pitch is at 1 p.m. The Yellow Jackets (13-1, 3-0 ACC) enter the weekend on an eight-game winning streak, while the Seminoles are also 13-1 and 3-0 in the ACC after splitting a two-game series to Georgia earlier this week.
Game Coverage: The entire series can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv) and WREK Radio (91.1 FM/www.wrek.org). Live stats for all Georgia Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech has steadily climbed the rankings this season after cracking the preseason Collegiate Baseball poll for the 15th time under head coach Danny Hall. Tech currently stands at No. 11 in the national publication and also appears in the top-25 in the latest USA Today (17) and NCBWA (22) polls. Florida State is ranked in all five polls.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps has carried Georgia Tech in 2008, holding opponents to a .215 batting average while allowing just 2.3 runs per game (2.09 ERA). Seven different pitchers have earned wins through the first 14 games of the 2008 season while closer Chris Hicks has collected five saves for the Yellow Jackets, including four last week.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Florida State)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (2-0, 2.05) vs. RHP Elih Villanueva (3-0, 3.26)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (2-0, 1.53) vs. LHP Matt Fairel (3-0, 0.95)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (2-0, 0.90) vs. RHP Ryan Strauss (1-0, 4.02)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.405, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB), junior LF Chris House (.340-0-3-3), freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.327-5-16-1) and redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.321-1-8-4).
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets enter the weekend series riding an eight-game winning streak and have opened the season on a 13-1 run, with their only loss of the season coming in an 11-inning game to Rutgers. Georgia Tech currently has six pitchers on its roster with two wins and the staff, under the direction of assistant coach Tom Kinkelaar, is holding opponents to a .215 average and 2.3 runs per game. On the offensive side, nine different hitters have posted home runs in 2008, led by freshman shortstop Derek Dietrich, who has five to go along with a team-leading 16 RBI. The Jackets have also been active on the bases, with 21 swipes in 27 stolen base attempts. The Yellow Jackets are hitting .302 as a team with nine players batting .300 or above.
Florida State – The Seminoles own an identical record as the Yellow Jackets (13-1, 3-0 ACC) after suffering their first loss of the season in a midweek, rain-delayed game in Tallahassee this past Tuesday/Wednesday to the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs notched a 13-10 win in the first game of the two-game series, but the `Noles avoided the sweep with an 8-3 victory the second game. Hitting has been the key to Florida State’s success in 2008 as the Seminoles, as a team, are batting .359 with 23 home runs and 125 RBI through the first 14 games of the season. The `Noles have eight starters on their roster batting at least .360 this season, including two that are hitting above .400 in Buster Posey (.431) and Stuart Tapley (.413).
Tech vs. the Opponent (Florida State leads, 59-37)
Georgia Tech and Florida State have met 96 times in history, with the Seminoles holding the 59-37 lead in the series. The Yellow Jackets are 15-31 against the Seminoles in Tallahassee, but hold a 27-26 edge against Florida State since the arrival of head coach Danny Hall prior to the 1994 season.
The Yellow Jackets were swept by the Seminoles to end the 2007 regular season. They scored just two runs in each of the first two games, resulting in 17-2 and 10-2 losses, and the Seminoles finished off the sweep with a 17-11 win in the season finale.
Prior to the 2007 series, the Yellow Jackets had won eight-straight games against the Seminoles.
Recent history between the two teams shows that whichever team wins the first game tends to have success in the series. In fact, over the last six years, whichever team has earned a victory in the first game of the series has gone on to sweep all three games of the series on five occasions (`02-FSU, `04-GT, `05-GT; `06-GT; `07-FSU). In the only other season (2003), Florida State won game one, lost game two, but won the series with a 12-7 victory in game three.
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 77-39 (.664) in their last 116 ACC regular season games.
The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 27 of its last 39 weekend series, including one this season. Tech has won 45 of its last 60 ACC home games and 32 of its last 55 ACC road games.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters its second ACC series ranked No. 28 in the nation in the RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com).
The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the RPI, with six teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Miami leads all conference teams, standing at No. 5 in the RPI, while North Carolina joins the Hurricanes in the top-10, appearing at No. 7. Rounding out the top-25 are Florida State (11), Clemson (15), Wake Forest (16) and Virginia (18).
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 21 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with nine of those contests coming on the road.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 5-6 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2007 but swept Georgia Southern on opening week, stopped Kennesaw State the following week, and outlasted Georgia State this past week to start 4-0 this season. Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 81-26 (.757) record against its in-state foes. In 15 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 124-43 (.743) against teams from Georgia.