Feb. 24, 2011
ATLANTA – The 21st-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team (3-2) will begin a 16-game home stand when it hosts No. 23 St. John’s (2-1) for a three-game series this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium. Meeting for the first time since 1991, the Jackets and the Red Storm will play Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. St. John’s)
Friday: RHP Mark Pope (1-0, 1.35, 6.2 IP, 6 SO) vs. LHP Sean Hagan (1-0, 0.00, 5.0 IP, 4 SO)
Saturday: LHP Jed Bradley (0-0, 1.59, 5.2 IP, 10 SO) vs. RHP Kyle Hansen (0-0, 2.25, 4.0 IP, 2 SO)
Sunday: RHP Buck Farmer (0-0, 0.00, 5.0 IP, 6 SO) vs. LHP Brendan Lobban (0-0, 2.25, 4.0 IP, 4 SO)
Georgia Tech (3-2) enters the series ranked as high as No. 21by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and No. 24 by the NationalCollegiate Baseball Writers Association (No. 19 in USA Today/ ESPNCoaches’ Preseason Poll)
The Jackets opened the season going 2-1 against Kent State lastweekend before splitting a two-game midweek series with GeorgiaSouthern.
St. John’s is the first ranked team the Jackets will play thisseason. Tech went 10-7 against ranked opponents during the 2010season.
St. John’s returns 20 letterwinners and seven starting positionplayers from a 2010 team that won a school-record 43 games, aconference-record sixth BIG EAST tournament title and appeared inthe NCAA Charlottesville Regional.
The Red Storm played in the BIG EAST-BIG Ten Challenge on openingweekend in Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla., going 2-1. Theydefeated Minnesota (14-1) and Michigan (13-6), before falling toOhio State (8-7) in 11-innings on the final day.
Georgia Tech and St. John’s will meet for just the third time in school history, and first since 1991 when the two teams square off on Friday. The series is tied at 1-1.
Last Meeting: Georgia Tech eliminated the Red Storm from the 1991 NCAA Atlantic Regional with a 5-4 victory on March 25 at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. St. John’s defeated the Jackets 5-4 in the tournament opener before Tech returned the favor two games later.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
St. John’s averaged 11.3 runs, produced an outstanding 48 hits (.381 avg.) and had 32 RBI in its first three games of the season at the BIG EAST-BIG Ten Challenge.
St. John’s is by 2010 National Freshman of the Year Jeremy Baltz, who batted .396 with 24 homers and 85 RBI in 63 games last season. Baltz earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors after going 7-for-14 (.500) with seven RBI to lead the Red Storm last weekend. The sophomore is a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American, and on the watch list for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award.
The Red Storm is coached by Ed Blankmeyer, who is 515-306-3 in 16th years as the skipper at the school.
Georgia Tech’s 2.22 team ERA is the third lowest in theAtlantic Coast Conference entering the second weekend of play …The Tech pitching staff has allowed just 11 earned runs in fivegames this season, and is holding opponents to a .219 battingaverage.
Weekend starters Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer allowed just three earned runs combined againstKent State last week.
Georgia Tech’s .309 batting average is the fifth-best mark in theACC … The Jackets lead the conference in total hits with51.
Junior Jacob Esch (.450) and freshman Kyle Wren (.429) rank No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, in theACC for batting average. Wren has hit safely in all five games thisseason.
Twelve of Tech’s 17 freshmen have made appearances in the firstfive games with nine having made at least one start … Up to sevennewcomers have started on two occasions so far in 2011.
Freshman Daniel Palka’s three run home run against Georgia Southern onWednesday was the first round-tripper of the season for the Jackets… Tech had 10 homers through the first five games in 2010.
Georgia Tech returns 17 letterwinners and four starters (twoposition players and two pitchers) from a 2010 team that went 47-15(21-6 ACC) and finished 2nd in the ACC Coastal Division whilereaching the finals of the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
Georgia Tech entered the season in the top-25 by three differentmajor polls — No. 19 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 21 in theNational Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll, and No. 19by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll … Head coach Danny Hall has had a team ranked in a major preseason top-25poll in each of his 18 years on the Flats.
In 2010, the Jackets were one of the biggest power-hitting teams inthe country. The group belted a school-record 122 home runs – thesecond most in the nation – and won 28 games by five runs or more.Junior Matt Skole, a 2011 Louisville Slugger preseason All-Americanbecame just the 12th player in school history to belt at least 20home runs in a season when he did so in 2010.
Weekend starters Mark Pope and Jed Bradley have gained early preseason national attention,each being named to Preseason All-America teams, as well as top-100college prospects by Baseball America … Bradley was named to theUSA Baseball Golden Spikes National Player of the Year watch liston Feb. 17.
After tying a school-record with 10 selections in June’s MLBfirst-year player draft, the Jackets lost seven underclassmen toprofessional contracts. Included in that group were 2010All-Americans Deck McGuire and Derek Dietrich.
Tech’s freshman class, consisting of 17 newcomers, six of whom werealso selected in the 2010 MLB draft, is ranked as high the No. 6recruiting class in the nation. Six newcomers started on openingday.
TECH CAMPUS HOSTS NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUES MUSEUM EXHIBIT
As a part of the 50th anniversary of the matriculation of black students at Georgia Tech, the steering committee along with the GT Athletic Association are bringing the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum exhibition entitled “Shades of Greatness – Art Inspired by Negro Leagues Baseball” to the GT library on campus. The exhibit, which contains about 35 works in the show featuring various themes and stories from Negro league history, is here from Feb. 11 to March 20. It is located in the library’s Neely Gallery room, and is open to the public.
ACC COACHES PICK TECH TO FINISH SECOND IN THE COASTAL RACE
The 19th-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division race according to the 2011 ACC Preseason Coaches Poll, voted on by the league’s 12 head coaches. Atlantic Division leader Clemson was the overall favorite, finishing with seven overall first-place votes and 68 points in the Atlantic Division.
Defending ACC Champion Florida State was second with three overall votes, and 64 points in the same division. The Yellow Jackets (56 points) followed Virginia (69) in the Coastal standings.
This marks the third straight season in which the Jackets were predicted to finish second in the Coastal Division. Tech finished second in 2010 after a 21-9 record in ACC play.
THREE JACKETS GARNER PRESEASON NATIONAL HONORS
Junior pitcher Jed Bradley, junior pitcher Mark Pope and junior infielder Matt Skole have all been named to preseason All-America team sin 2011. Bradley was tabbed by both Baseball America (2nd team) and Louisville Slugger (3rd team), while Pope and Skole landed spots on Louisville Slugger All-America teams.
BRADLEY NAMED TO LIST OF NATIONS BEST
Junior Jed Bradley was one of 50 players named to the preseason USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List Thursday, Feb. 17, marking the organization’s first step toward identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country. Bradley, a 2010 second-team All-ACC selection, is the lone returner to the Tech weekend rotation. He went 9-5 with a 4.83 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 91.1 innings last season.