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No. 13 Tech Baseball Opens Season vs. Georgia State, Georgia Southern

Feb. 8, 2005

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ATLANTA–Georgia Tech, ranked as high as No. 13 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, lifts the lid on the 2005 season with three games against in-state foes Georgia State and Georgia Southern this weekend. The Yellow Jackets host Georgia State on Friday at 2 p.m., and travel to Statesboro to face Georgia Southern on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Tech welcomes back a wealth of experience in the field, returning six players who started at least 20 games last season and another in right fielder Jeremy Slayden who missed nearly all of the 2004 season but has 133 career starts. Returning veterans include catcher Andy Hawranick, first baseman Whit Robbins, second baseman Mike Trapani, shortstop Tyler Greene, third baseman Wes Hodges and left fielder Steven Blackwood.

On the mound, Tech returns eight pitchers who made at least 14 appearances last season. Junior Jason Neighborgall and sophomore Lee Hyde will be Tech’s starters in the first two games.

Following this weekend’s games, Tech will host Iona for a three-game series next weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium.

WEEKEND COVERAGE: Live statistics for all three games this weekend will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com. Sunday’s game at Georgia Southern will be televised live by CSS.

Series Notes vs. Georgia Southern – Georgia Tech Leads, 68-22

*** Georgia Tech leads Georgia Southern, 68-22, in a series that dates to 1947. The Yellow Jackets and Eagles have played every year since 1984, playing at leasat four times annually since 1986.

*** Tech had a 20-game winning streak against Georgia Southern snapped in the final game of the 2003 series when the Eagles claimed an 8-7 decision. The Yellow Jackets won 20 straight games in the series from 1996 through 2003. Tech has won 23 of the last 25 meetings.

*** Tech has won 16 straight games over Georgia Southern at J.I. Clements Stadium dating back to the 1997 season. The Yellow Jackets have an all-time record of 29-10 in games played in Statesboro.

*** Tech is 36-10 (.783) against Georia Southern since 1994 under head coach Danny Hall. The Tech skipper owns a 18-4 record against the Eagles in Statesboro.

*** Last season, Tech won three of four games in the series. The Yellow Jackets won 15-6 and 5-4 (10 innings) in Statesboro. The teams split a pair of games in Atlanta, with the Eagles winning 8-2, and the Yellow Jackets winning 13-2.

*** Since the 2000 season, Tech has outscored Georgia Southern 223-96, an average of 10.6 to 4.6 per game.

vs. Georgia State – Georgia Tech Leads, 45-5

*** Georgia Tech leads Georgia State, 45-5, in a series that dates to 1971. The Yellow Jackets and Panthers have played every year since 1992.

*** Tech has won nine straight games in the series dating back to 2000, and the Yellow Jackets have won 22 of the last 23 games dating to 1993.

*** Tech is 28-1 vs. Georgia State at Russ Chandler Stadium.

*** Tech is 22-1 vs. Georgia State under head coach Danny Hall (since 1994).

LEADING OFF … NEWS & NOTES ON THE YELLOW JACKETS

WEB GEMS: The Yellow Jackets posted a school-record .972 fielding percentage as a team in 2004. Tech’s previous best fielding percentage since records were kept in the 1950’s was .968 which was accomplished by the 1994 team that played for the national championship and featured Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Jay Payton. The Yellow Jackets committed one error or less in 47 of 65 games, including 23 errorless games. In 23 conference games, Tech fielded .981 (16 errors).

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.

“5” – THE MAGIC NUMBER

Georgia Tech went 33-2 in 2004 when the Yellow Jackets allow five runs or less. Tech’s only two losses when allowing five or less runs are against Virginia (3-4 and 1-2).

Since the arrival of pitching coach Bobby Moranda prior to the 2002 season, the Yellow Jackets are 105-6 when allowing five runs or less. Tech went 34-2 in 2003 and 38-2 in 2002 when allowing five runs or less. When allowing six or more runs, the Yellow Jackets are 33-49 since 2002, including a 11-19 mark in 2004.

VERSUS THE STATE OF GEORGIA

Georgia Tech went 8-4 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2004, posting a 3-1 record vs. Georgia Southern, a 2-3 record vs. Georgia, a 2-0 record vs. Georgia State, and a 1-0 mark vs. Savannah State. Since 1999, Georgia Tech owns a 58-15 (.795) record against its in-state foes. The Yellow Jackets are 100-32 (.757) against teams from Georgia in 12 years under head coach Danny Hall.

YELLOW JACKETS CRACK PRESEASON TOP 25 FOR 12th 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 and Baseball Weekly) in each of Danny Hall’s 12 seasons as the Yellow Jackets’ skipper. Tech has been a preseason Top 10 pick in five of the last seven years and a top five selection in three of the last five seasons.

TECH PICKED THIRD IN ACC PRESEASON COACHES POLL

The Atlantic Coast Conference’s 11 head coaches selected Georgia Tech to finish third in the league’s annual preseason poll. The Yellow Jackets finished first in the league race last year with an 18-5 conference mark.

League-newcomer Miami was the top pick with eight first place votes and a total of 118 points while North Carolina was picked second with 110 points and three first place votes. Georgia Tech was third with 93 points, and Florida State (89) was picked fourth.

Clemson (63), NC State (55), Wake Forest (34), Maryland (30), Duke (27) and Virginia Tech (27) rounded out the poll.

GREENE NAMED TO PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA TEAMS

Junior shortstop Tyler Greene was named to various preseason All-America teams for the 2005 season. Greene was a first-team selection by Baseball America and a second-team picks by Collegiate Baseball.

BEST TOOLS

In Baseball America’s annual college preview issue, the publication broke down the best tools and players in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three Yellow Jackets were tabbed to the preseason All-ACC team, including shortstop Tyler Greene, outfielder Jeremy Slayden and catcher Andy Hawranick.

Greene was tabbed the ACC’s No. 1 prospect for the 2005 draft, while Jason Neighborgall (6) and Slayden (8) were also listed among the top 10. Sophomore third baseman Wes Hodges was tabbed as the No. 5 prospects for the 2006 draft. Freshman outfielder Danny Payne was named as the No. 4 newcomer to the ACC this season.

In the best tools categories: Slayden (best raw power), Hawranick (best arm/catcher), Greene (best arm/infielder, best defensive shortstop) and Neighborgall (best fastball).

BEST PLAYERS BY CLASS

Baseball America ranked the top 50 collegiate players in each class for the 2005 season, and Georgia Tech was well represented on that list. Seven different Yellow Jackets were named to the top 50 lists, including three freshmen, one sophomore and three juniors.

The juniors included shortstop Tyler Greene (No. 4), pitcher Jason Neighborgall (No. 32) and outfielder Jeremy Slayden (No. 43). Third baseman Wes Hodges was listed as the No. 20 sophomore. The freshmen included catcher Matt Wieters (No. 16), infielder Michael Fisher (No. 35) and outfielder Danny Payne (No. 48).

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