Feb. 19, 2009
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team, ranked as high as No. 12 in the preseason polls after ending the 2008 season with a 41-21 record, hosts Lipscomb (33-30), a team the Yellow Jackets defeated in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, on Opening Day Friday, Feb. 20. First pitch for the season opener is 4 p.m., and the Yellow Jackets and Bisons will continue the series Saturday and Sunday, with 2 p.m. start times both days.
Georgia Tech is a consensus preseason top-25 team, appearing among the top-15 in the Collegiate Baseball (12), USA Today (12), NCBWA (13) and Rivals.com (13) polls. The Yellow Jackets have earned preseason top-25 rankings in each of head coach Danny Hall’s 16 years on the Flats.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Lipscomb)
Friday: RHP Deck McGuire (8-2, 3.46) vs. Rex Brothers (4-5, 5.57)
Saturday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (7-5, 4.33) vs. Brandon McClurg (6-6, 3.34)
Sunday: RHP Brandon Cumpton (2-1, 7.19) vs. Josh Smith (3-3, 5.00)
Georgia Tech returns 21 letterwinners from its 2008 squad, including seven starters in the field – CF Jeff Rowland (.335-4-26-22), SS Derek Dietrich (.332-14-66-3), OF/DH Luke Murton (.332-12-51-3), C Jason Haniger (.329-10-34-4), 1B Tony Plagman (.306-16-45-3), 2B Thomas Nichols (.283-7-36-0) and LF Chris House (.245-1-10-5). Third baseman Patrick Long also returns for his junior season after batting .276 a season ago.
Game Coverage: The first two games of the series can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), while the series finale can be found on the WREK-HD2 channel (www.wrek.org). Live stats for all Tech baseball games can be found at Ramblinwreck.com.
Gameday Giveaways: The first 500 fans through the gates each day will receive 2009 Georgia Tech baseball/softball schedule magnets.
Tech vs. Lipscomb (Tech leads, 2-0)
Georgia Tech and Lipscomb have met just twice in history – and only once in the last 40 years. The Yellow Jackets have won both meetings, defeating the Bisons, 9-2, on April 29, 1967, and 6-3, in the 2008 NCAA Athens Regional.
The win over the Bisons didn’t come easily for the Jackets last season. With the score tied at 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Brad Feltes sent a two-run double into the right-centerfield gap to put the Jackets up by two, and Tech added an insurance run on an RBI single by Charlie Blackmon in the top of the ninth for the final margin.
Tech has never faced Lipscomb outside of the state of Georgia. The first game of the series occurred on the Jackets’ home field.
Jackets in Season and Home Openers
Georgia Tech is to 59-47-3 in season openers and 40-21-2 when the season opener occurs at home. The Yellow Jackets have fared well in season openers under head coach Danny Hall, posting an 11-4 record in such games since his arrival prior to the 1994 season. Tech has opened the season at home on just five occasions under Hall, going 4-1 in those contests.
The Yellow Jackets’ home field has been good to them in home openers, as Georgia Tech has a sterling 75-29-3 record in its first game at home each season, and the Yellow Jackets have lost just one home opener (14-1) under Hall. That loss occurred in 2005 to crosstown rival Georgia State.
Georgia Tech Cracks Preseason Top 25 for 16th Time Under Hall
Georgia Tech has been ranked in the preseason Top 25 by at least one of the major polls (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, USA Today/Baseball Weekly) in each of Danny Hall’s 16 seasons as the Yellow Jackets’ skipper. Tech has been a preseason Top 10 pick in six of the last 11 years and a top five selection in four of the last nine seasons.
Among the Nation’s Best
From the national player of the year watch list to preseason All-America, shortstop Derek Dietrich has been racking up preseason accolades, along with fellow sophomore teammate Deck McGuire. Listed below are the preseason honors for the Yellow Jackets.
Sophomore SS Derek Dietrich – Brooks Golden Spikes Award Watch List; Wallace Player of the Year Watch List; Baseball America Preseason All-America (Second Team); NCBWA Preseason All-America (Third Team)
Sophomore RHP Deck McGuire – Brooks Wallce Player of the Year Watch List
Tech Picked to Finish Second in Coastal Division
Georgia Tech was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division race according to the 2009 ACC Preseason Coaches Poll, voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches. Coastal Division leader North Carolina, who has earned a trip to Omaha each of the last three seasons, was the overall favorite, finishing with 72 votes, five ahead of Florida State, who led all Atlantic Division teams with 67 votes.
The Yellow Jackets (56 votes) and 2008 ACC Champion Miami (49 votes) followed North Carolina in the Coastal Division standings, with Virginia (34), Duke (24) and Virginia Tech (17) rounding out the list. Behind the Seminoles in the Atlantic Division race were Clemson (61), NC State (50), Wake Forest (33), Boston College (25) and Maryland (16).