March 31, 2008
ATLANTA – No. 14 Georgia Tech (22-5) returns to Atlanta on a five-game winning streak to host East Tennessee State (6-19) for a two-game, midweek series before heading to North Carolina to face the Tar Heels for a three-game ACC series next weekend. The Yellow Jackets and Buccaneers will play at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tech swept Boston College in a three-game series over the weekend, and has won nine of its last 10 games while East Tennessee State lost two of three to North Florida last weekend.
Game Coverage: Both games in the midweek series can be seen on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv) while live stats for all Georgia Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps is holding opponents to a .233 batting average, as eight different pitchers have earned wins through the first half of the 2008 season. Closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best six saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have combined for 22 scoreless appearances in relief this season.
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman leadoff hitter and CF Jeff Rowland (.397, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 12 SB), freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.367-10-30-3), redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.316-2-20-9) and senior 3B/DH Brad Feltes (.315-7-29-2), while a total of seven Yellow Jackets are batting .300 or above in 2008.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets enter the week on a five-game winning streak and victors of nine of their last 10 matches. Tech pitchers allowed just two runs per game last week as the Yellow Jackets swept a weekend series at Boston College after dropping Georgia State and Alabama State by 11- and 13-run margins, respectively, midweek. The Yellow Jacket offense was outstanding last week, batting .339 with 13 home runs and 18 doubles through the five-game span. Leading the Jackets offense on the season has been a pair of freshmen (Jeff Rowland and Derek Dietrich) who lead the team in average (Rowland), runs scored (Dietrich), hits (Dietrich), doubles (Dietrich), home runs (Dietrich), RBI (Dietrich), total bases (Dietrich), walks (Dietrich), on base percentage (Rowland) and stolen bases (Rowland). Three starting pitchers (David Duncan, Eddie Burns, Deck McGuire) have notched four wins this season while another two, Zach Von Tersch and Brad Rulon, have picked up three victories in 2008.
East Tennessee State – The Bucs have lost four of their last five games and will play Georgia Tech for a pair of midweek games before traveling up the road to face Kennesaw State in a three-game A-Sun series over the weekend. East Tennessee State has gone 1-3 against common opponents between the two schools, with a series loss to Mercer and a 12-11 defeat to Western Carolina earlier this season, while Tech is 4-0 against those two teams. Opponents are hitting .323 against ETSU pitching while the Buccaneers are batting .271 in 2008. Paul Hoilman has led the Bucs’ offense with a .352 average while Anthony Russell has provided the power, with eight home runs and 23 RBI on the season.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Tech leads, 21-0)
Georgia Tech and East Tennessee State will be meeting for the 22nd time in history this Tuesday, and Georgia Tech has won all 21 games in a series that dates to 1967. All 21 games have been played in Atlanta, five of them coming under head coach Danny Hall.
The last meeting between the two teams occurred in 2006, with Georgia Tech winning, 7-3 and 5-2. The only extra-inning game between the two teams occurred the game prior to the 2006 series, with Tech pulling out a 6-5 win in 10 innings.
Tech has held ETSU to one run on six of the 21 occasions and shut out the Bucs just once.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the week ranked No. 17 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. Florida State leads all conference teams, standing at No. 1 in the RPI, while Miami (2) and North Carolina (8) join the Seminoles in the top 10 and NC State (12), Clemson (15) and Georgia Tech appear in the top-25. Wake Forest (31) and Virginia (32) stand just outside of the top-25.
One of the Yellow Jackets’ 2008 non-conference opponents also appears in the top-25 of the RPI – Coastal Carolina (21).
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 15 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with three of those contests coming on the road.
East Tennessee State, meanwhile, stands at No. 241 in the RPI.
In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech’s is ranked No. 25 while East Tennessee State’s stands at No. 263 in the latest rankings.