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No. 11 Tech Baseball Visits Virginia for Three-Game ACC Series

May 8, 2003

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ATLANTA–Georgia Tech, ranked 11th in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, plays its final road games of the regular season this weekend as the Yellow Jackets visit Virginia for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series. Gametimes are 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Following this weekend’s games, Tech closes out the regular season next week with a neutral site game (Turner Field) against Georgia on May 13, and a three-game home series with NC State, May 15-17.

Weekend Coverage: A radio broadcast for all three games will be available on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta). Live statistics and the radio broadcast will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.

GEORGIA TECH UPDATE (34-13, 12-6 ACC)

Georgia Tech dropped two of three games to Florida State last weekend to fall out of a tie for first place in the ACC standings. Florida State currently leads the league with a 13-5 record, while Tech (12-6) and NC State (14-7) are tied by percentage points for second place. The Yellow Jackets finish the regular season at Virginia and at home against NC State over the next two weekends.

Tech has belted 66 home runs this season (averaging 1.40 per game after hitting 0.97 per game in 2002). The Yellow Jackets have raised the team average over .300 after hitting .277 through the first 19 games of the season. Tech’s 17-0 start to the season eclipsed the previous school record of a 16-0 start in 1987.

Freshman RHP Micah Owings (6-2, 4.45) will start the series opener on Friday night, while junior LHP Kyle Bakker (7-1, 3.58) will start the second game of the series on Saturday. Sunday’s starter is TBA.

VIRGINIA UPDATE (26-18, 9-8 ACC)

Virginia is 26-18 overall and 9-8 in the ACC. The Cavaliers have not played since April 29 following a break for final examinations. The Cavaliers are batting .309 as a team and own a team ERA of 3.18. Sophomore LHP Andrew Dobies (6-1, 3.50) is the scheduled starter for the series opener on Friday night, junior RHP Chris Gale (3-4, 4.56) will start Saturday and junior LHP Joe Koshansky (7-0, 1.79) will start on Sunday.

GEORGIA TECH vs. VIRGINIA; TECH LEADS, 53-27-1

Georgia Tech leads Virginia, 53-27-1, in a series that dates to 1924. The Yellow Jackets hold a slim 17-16 edge in games played in Charlottesville.

Tech has won seven of the last nine meetings between the two schools, sweeping a home series in 2000, taking two of three in Charlottesville in 2001, and winning two of three at Russ Chandler Stadium in 2002.

The Yellow Jackets have enjoyed mixed success in Charlottesville over the years, winning two of three games in four of six series since the ACC adopted the current three-game series format in 1990. Tech has never swept a three-game set in Charlottesville, and Virginia has never swept three-games from the Yellow Jackets.

Last year in Atlanta, the Cavaliers won 5-1 in the series opener behind a strong effort from starter Jeff Kamrath. The Yellow Jackets won game two, 3-2, in 12 innings on Brandon Boggs’ game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 12th while reliever Jeff Watchko worked five scoreless innings. The Yellow Jackets won the rubber match of the series, 9-3, as Matt Murton went 3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI.

Georgia Tech is 20-8 against Virginia under head coach Danny Hall.

STARTING PITCHER NOTES

Friday: MICAH OWINGS (RHP) 6-2, 4.45 ERA

Freshman Micah Owings gets the nod on Friday night in what will be his ninth start and 14th 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 bounced back with a solid performance last weekend against Florida State, working eight innings and allowing four runs as Tech took a 5-4, 10-inning victory.

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.

Saturday: KYLE BAKKER (LHP) 7-1, 3.58 ERA

Junior Kyle Bakker will start on Saturday in the second game of the Virginia series, and he will be making his 14th start of the season and the 38th start of his collegiate career. Bakker has been moved back to game two instead of his usual Friday night role to gain an additional day of rest after working last Sunday against Florida State.

Bakker is 7-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 2003, and he had a streak of 19 consecutive starts without suffering a defeat snapped last weekend 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.

For his career, Bakker stands at 24-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 250.1 innings pitched. Bakker currently ranks as the second best command pitcher in school history behind only teammate Chris Goodman, allowing just 2.05 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.

Sunday’s starting pitcher is TBA.

NICKEAS ONE OF FIRST EIGHT INVITED TO USA BASEBALL TRIALS; OWINGS, PATTERSON & GREENE ALSO SELECTED

Sophomore catcher Mike Nickeas is one of the first eight collegiate players invited to participate in the 2003 USA Baseball National Team Trials that will be held June 21-27 in Tucson, Arizona. Sophomore second baseman Eric Patterson, a member of the team in 2002, freshman shortstop Tyler Greene and freshman P/DH Micah Owings were all picked in the second round of selections on May 8.

The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of 35 players. USA Baseball’s final selection of the athletes that will comprise the team that will represent the USA at the 2003 Pan Am Games, is subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee. The official team roster will be determined and announced on June 27.

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