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No. 13 Tech Baseball Hosts Rutgers in Weekend Series

Feb. 24, 2005

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ATLANTA–Georgia Tech (6-1), ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, hosts Rutgers (3-0) for a three-game series this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium. The series begins on Friday at 4 p.m., and continues on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. each day.

Since dropping their season opener, the Yellow Jackets have put together a six-game win streak over Georgia Southern, Iona and Georgia State, scoring at least nine runs in each game. For the year, Tech is batting .316 as a team, averaging 10 runs per game while posting a .442 on base percentage.

Freshman center fielder Danny Payne (.444-1-6) has emerged as the catalyst of the Tech offense from his leadoff position. Over the last three games, Payne is 7-for-9 with six RBI and nine runs scored, and for the season he leads the Yellow Jackets in hits (12) and runs (16).

The rest of the Tech lineup features catchers Andy Hawranick (.286AVG/.389OBP/.286SLG, 0HR, 4RBI) and Matt Wieters (.182/.438/.182, 0, 3), first baseman Whit Robbins (.318/.500/.500, 0, 4), second baseman Mike Trapani (.217/.357/.348, 1, 5), third baseman Wed Hodges (.385/.485/.808, 3, 7), shortstop Tyler Greene (.353/.426/.529, 0, 3), left fielder Steven Blackwood (.375/.438/.458, 0, 15), and right fielder Jeremy Slayden (.321/.412/.607, 2, 8).

The weekend pitching rotation will remain the same for the third consecutive week – junior RHP Jason Neighborgall (1-0, 3.27), sophomore LHP Lee Hyde (1-0, 5.40), and sophomore RHP Blake Wood (2-0, 3.60).

Following the weekend series, Tech will play five games next week – Tuesday vs. Georgia Southern, Wednesday at the Atlanta Braves, and Friday-Sunday at Duke.

GAME COVERAGE: Live statistics for all three games this weekend will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com.

GEORGIA TECH VS. RUTGERS — SERIES NOTES

Georgia Tech leads Rutgers, 24-8, in a series that dates to 1988. All 32 games in the series have come at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets and Scarlet Knights are playing a weekend series for the third consecutive year, and for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Tech won two of three from Rutgers last season, winning the opening game, 6-5, dropping game two, 5-7, and winning the finale, 13-6. Tech is 14-4 against Rutgers under head coach Danny Hall.

LEADING OFF … NEWS & NOTES ON THE YELLOW JACKETS

THE OFFENSE: The Yellow Jackets led the ACC with a .319 team batting average during the 2004 season. Tech has hit over .300 as a team in 19 of the last 21 years, and has averaged at least seven runs per game every year since 1981. Tech has led the ACC in batting in five years (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2004) under Danny Hall.

SET THE TABLE, DRIVE HIM IN: Freshman Danny Payne was given the responsibility of replacing Eric Patterson at the top of the lineup card in 2005, and through the first seven games Payne has been a smashing success. The center fielder is hitting a team-leading .444 and owns a .583 on base percentage. He leads the team in hits (12) and stolen bases (3) while scoring 16 runs in seven games (2.3 runs per game).

Junior Steven Blackwood, Tech’s No. 3 hitter in the lineup, has taken advantage of Payne’s knack for getting on base. Blackwood has 15 RBI through the first seven games of the year.

HALL APPROACHES COACHING MILESTONES

Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall needs just three wins to reach 700 for his career. Now in his 18th season as a head coach at Georgia Tech and Kent State, Hall owns a career record of 698-329 (.680).

Hall needs 10 wins to reach 500 in his career at Georgia Tech, and with 15 wins he will become the school’s all-time leader in career victories. Hall, who has a 490-212 (.698) record in 12 years at Tech, already ranks as the school’s winningest coach by percentage.

Georgia Tech Coaching LeadersCoach            Years     Record     Pct.1. Jim Morris    1982-93   504-244-1  .6742. Danny Hall    1994-05   490-212-0  .6983. Jim Luck      1962-81   320-280-5  .5334. Joe Pittard   1946-61   147-99-5   .6075. John Heisman  1904-17   163-97-5   .627

VERSUS THE STATE OF GEORGIA

Georgia Tech is 3-1 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2005, posting a 2-0 record vs. Georgia Southern and a 1-1 mark vs. Georgia State. Since 1999, Georgia Tech owns a 61-16 (.792) record against its in-state foes. The Yellow Jackets are 103-33 (.757) against teams from Georgia in 12 years under head coach Danny Hall.

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