March 26, 2009
ATLANTA – Third-ranked Georgia Tech heads to Coral Gables, Fla., this weekend for a key ACC and national three-game series against No. 2 Miami. The Yellow Jackets and Hurricanes will square off at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday before concluding the series Sunday at 1 p.m. Miami (19-5, 7-2 ACC) and Georgia Tech (16-3, 6-1 ACC) are ranked second and third, respectively, in this week’s National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.
The Yellow Jackets won their sixth-straight ACC series (third in 2009) last weekend, but dropped a 10-1 decision to in-town foe Georgia State Tuesday evening. Tech was scheduled to play in-state rival Georgia Wednesday, but that game was rained out. Georgia Tech was a consensus preseason top-25 team that moved into the top-10 in the season’s first official polls. The Yellow Jackets have been ranked as high as No. 3 this season (the last two weeks by Collegiate Baseball) and currently appear among the top-10 in the Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA (3), USA Today (7) and Rivals.com (8) polls. Baseball America has the Jackets ranked No. 13 in their latest college baseball poll.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Miami)
Friday: RHP Deck McGuire (4-0, 1.87) vs. LHP Chris Hernandez (2-1, 4.76)
Saturday: RHP Zach Von Tersch vs. RHP David Gutierrez (2-1, 0.88)
Sunday: RHP Kevin Jacob vs. LHP Iden Nazario (2-0, 6.14)
Junior 1B Tony Plagman (.380-6-29-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.387-7-25-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while four other regular starters – senior RF Luke Murton (.348-0-13-3), senior C Jason Haniger (.328-2-16-2), sophomore SS Derek Dietrich (.329-2-16-1) and sophomore CF Jeff Rowland (.325-2-17-6) – are all batting over .325 for the season.
The entire series will be broadcast throughout the southeast United States on CSS, while WREK (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) broadcasts the game on radio. Live stats for all Tech games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech vs. Miami (Miami leads, 44-22-2)
Miami leads the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets, 44-22-2 after earning a three-game sweep against Tech a year ago in Atlanta. This weekend, the Jackets will look to end a string of six-straight losses to the Hurricanes, including a 15-12 defeat in the 2008 ACC Tournament.
Tech has won just seven games in Coral Gables in a series that dates to the 1958 season, going 7-25-2 all-time on Miami’s home field. The Jackets’ last win at Miami came in the 2007 series opener, but the Hurricanes won the final two games of that series to begin the winning streak they are still riding against Tech. The Yellow Jackets are 12-21 against the Hurricanes since Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994.
Past Meets Present This Weekend
The two head coaches meeting this weekend have combined to lead Georgia Tech to its last 1,172 victories. How is that possible, you ask? Prior to Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994, the Yellow Jackets were coached by Jim Morris, who led Tech to a 504-244-1 record from 1982-1993.
Morris set a school record with 504 victories during his tenure, but that mark was eclipsed by Hall on March 27, 2005. Ironically, the opposing head coach in that game was none other than Morris himself, whose Hurricane team lost 11-10 to the Yellow Jackets that afternoon.
Rain, Rain Go Away!
The 2009 season has marked several rainouts for teams throughout the nation, and the Yellow Jackets had yet another game rained out this week. Tech was scheduled to square off against No. 1-ranked Georgia on Wednesday, but storm systems forced the cancellation of that highly-anticipated contest.
The cancellation was the fourth of the season for the Yellow Jackets, three due to rain and another to snow, and the Yellow Jackets are running out of open dates to make them up.
Skole Honored for Big Week
Yellow Jacket freshman Matt Skole was named last week’s ACC Player of the Week and to the College Baseball Foundation’s National All-Star Lineup after going 10-for-15 (.667) with three home runs and 11 RBI in a three-game series at Virginia Tech. Skole hit a three-run homer, which highlighted a six-run ninth-inning comeback in the Yellow Jackets’ 10-9 win over the Hokies in the series opener. He then posted a career-high four hits, including his second home run of the series, in Saturday’s game and added another three-run homer in the fourth inning of Sunday’s series finale, which was the hit that gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for keeps. Skole finished that game 4-for-5 with five RBI. For the week, the Woodstock, Ga., native compiled slugging percentage of 1.043 in the five games, helping Georgia Tech to a 4-1 record. He batted .565 (13-for-23) with three homers, two doubles and 12 RBI.
Garofalo, for Power?
Jason Garofalo, who stands 5-8 and 160 lbs., doesn’t look like he would be counted on for power, but the second baseman has made the most of his hits in 2009. “G,” as he’s referred to by his teammates, has played in nine games, making two starts at second base. The Alpharetta native is batting .353 (6-for-17) on the season, but five of his six hits have been for extra bases, including a pinch-hit homer against Mercer in early March. The junior leads the team with an .824 slugging percentage with three doubles, a triple and a homer to his credit. He currently stands seventh on the team with nine RBI.