March 17, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s 17th-ranked baseball team will play a pair of midweek games against instate teams this Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Duke for a three-game ACC series beginning Friday night. The Jackets travel to Kennesaw State for a 6 p.m. contest against the Owls on Tuesday and host Mercer for a single game Wednesday. First pitch for Wednesday’s game is also 6 p.m. The Yellow Jackets (13-4) were swept by No. 3 Florida State in Tallahassee over the weekend while Kennesaw State (6-11) is coming off a series loss to Florida Gulf Coast and has dropped five of its last six games. Mercer (9-8) won two of three against ETSU over the weekend.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps has carried Georgia Tech in 2008, holding opponents to a .238 batting average. Seven different pitchers have earned wins through the first 17 games of the 2008 season while closer Chris Hicks has collected five saves for the Yellow Jackets.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Kennesaw State/Mercer)
Tuesday: RHP Deck McGuire (2-0, 2.50) vs. RHP Micah Sales (0-2, 4.50)
Wednesday: RHP Brandon Cumpton (0-0, 4.15) vs. RHP David Harden (2-0, 0.47)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.400, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 7 SB), senior 3B Brad Feltes (.350-2-12-1), redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.317-1-10-5), junior LF Chris House (.317-0-4-4) and freshman 2B Thomas Nichols (.308-1-10-0).
Game Coverage: Live video coverage of the game can be found on ASun.TV (similar to ACC Select) while live stats for all Georgia Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com. Wednesday’s contest can be found on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv).
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets enter the week in search of their first win since last Wednesday after being swept by third-ranked Florida State over the weekend. Georgia Tech suffered a heartbreaking loss in the first game of the series, giving up two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to Florida State as the Seminoles came back to win, 8-7. The Jackets then yielded a combined 28 runs to Florida State over the next two games as the Seminoles improved to 6-0 on the season in conference play with an 11-2 win on Saturday and a 17-8 victory Sunday. After holding opponents to a .201 average while posting a 1.80 ERA through the first 13 games of the season, the Yellow Jacket pitchers struggled in their four games last week, allowing opponents to hit .345 while walking 27 batters (6.75 per game) and posting a 9.62 ERA. Tech’s offense also had issues against Georgia State and Florida State, as the Jackets hit just .245 through their four contests a week ago.
Kennesaw State – After a 15-0, seven-inning victory win at Alabama State two weeks ago, the Owls lost four straight, including a 5-3 contest to the Yellow Jackets, before recording a 13-8 victory in the second game of a three-game series against Florida Gulf Coast over the weekend. Kennesaw State dropped the first game of the series, 7-1, and fell in the finale, 13-5, to fall to 6-11 on the season and 3-3 in A-Sun play. They face the Yellow Jackets at home before hosting Belmont for a three-game series this weekend. Kennesaw State’s offense is led by Ric Bishop (.356-3-14-3 and Jacob Robbins (.333-0-6-5) while the pitching tandem of Justin Freeman and Chad Jenkins has combined for 41 strikeouts in 41.1 innings of work.
Mercer – The Bears are coming off a 4-3 loss at ETSU in their last game after winning the first two by a combined 18-9 margin last weekend and will face Georgia Southern at home on Tuesday before traveling to Atlanta for Wednesday’s contest. Mercer’s offense is led by hot-hitting shortstop Billy Shaughnessy (.438-1-13-4), while seven other players are hitting .300 or higher for the Bears. David Harden, the projected starter for Wednesday’s game, owns the lowest ERA of any pitcher on the squad (0.47) while opponents are hitting .257 against Mercer pitching.
Tech vs. the Opponents (Tech leads Kennesaw State, 6-2; leads Mercer, 97-49)
Despite the short distance between the two schools, the Yellow Jackets and Owls of Kennesaw State will meet for just the ninth time in history this week. Georgia Tech owns a 6-2 record against the Owls, including a 5-1 mark in the last three years. The only game held at Kennesaw State’s Stillwell Stadium resulted in a 6-4 win for Kennesaw State last season and the last game between the two teams occurred two weeks ago, with the Jackets coming out on top, 5-3. Georgia Tech is 5-1 against the Owls since Hall’s arrival in 1994.
Georgia Tech and Mercer will be meeting for the 147th time in history on Wednesday when they square off at Russ Chandler Stadium. Tech holds a 56-21 record against the Bears in games played in Atlanta, and is currently riding an 11-game winning streak against Mercer. Tech has lost to Mercer just three times in 19 meetings under head coach Danny Hall. This will mark the first time in five years the two teams have met on the diamond.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 5-6 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2007 but swept Georgia Southern on opening week, stopped Kennesaw State the following week, and outlasted Georgia State last week to start 4-0 this season. Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 81-26 (.757) record against its in-state foes. In 15 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 124-43 (.743) against teams from Georgia.
Starting Lineup Always a Toss-up
Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall is known for mixing up his lineup, and 2008 has been no different. The Jackets had the same batting order in each of the first two games, but the Yellow Jacket skipper mixed it up for the series finale against Youngstown State and every game since. He has used 16 different lineup cards through the first 17 games this season.