April 6, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech baseball returns to action this week when it hosts Georgia Southern for a two-game midweek series beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets (19-6, 9-4 ACC), which are coming off their first weekend series loss of the season, will also square off against the Eagles (21-7, 7-3 SoCon) Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the fourth and final regular season game between the two teams this year.
Tech will be playing its first midweek game in two weeks, after its last two midweek contests (vs. Georgia and Mercer) were cancelled due to rain. The Yellow Jackets face a talented Eagle team that scored 51 runs in the three-game series against the College of Charleston and have won three-straight since dropping a doubleheader to Elon the last weekend of March.
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 three weeks prior to this by Collegiate Baseball) and currently appear among the top-10 in the Collegiate Baseball (9), NCBWA (8), USA Today (8) and Rivals.com (8). Georgia Tech is ranked No. 13 by Baseball America
Junior 1B Tony Plagman (.356-7-32-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.347-7-26-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while senior RF Luke Murton (.366-5-24-3), sophomore SS Derek Dietrich (.351-4-24-1) and sophomore CF Jeff Rowland (.324-4-22-9) have been on a hot streak of late.
Both games can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), and watched on ACC Select (www.accselect.com), while live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech vs. Georgia Southern (Tech leads, 81-26)
Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern have met every year for the last 26 seasons (1984-present) after beginning the series with a meeting in Atlanta in 1947. The Jackets hold an all-time record of 81-26 against the Eagles and are 45-13 vs. Georgia Southern in Atlanta. Tech is a remarkable 49-14 against the Eagles under head coach Danny Hall, with the Jackets’ last win coming earlier this season.
By splitting the two-game series in Statesboro in February, the Yellow Jackets have won six of the last seven games against the Eagles and have scored in double figures in three of those seven contests while limiting Georgia Southern to two or fewer runs on four occasions.
2009 RECAP: A.J. Wirnsberger’s one-out single plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, and Georgia Southern closer Dexter Bobo retired the next six Yellow Jacket batters in order to help the Eagles to a 6-5 win over Georgia Tech in the first game between the two teams this season. The loss was Georgia Tech’s first of the year, while the Eagles improved to 4-0 in 2009. The following day, Kevin Jacob worked 6.2 strong innings and Matt Skole drove in three runs on a pair of extra-base hits to help Georgia Tech to a 5-3 win over Georgia Southern at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Jackets Get Tested
From Friday, March 27, through April 14, the Yellow Jackets are to play 12 games over a 19-day span. As if that wasn’t tough enough, 10 of those 12 games are against teams ranked among the top-11 in the nation. Tech went 2-1 at No. 2 Miami the first weekend but lost a series to No. 5 North Carolina, 2-1, last weekend. The two games against Georgia Southern on Tuesday and Wednesday are the only two against an unranked opponent during the span, but the series doesn’t figure to be much easier since the Eagles posted 51 runs against the College of Charleston last weekend. This coming weekend, the Jackets will host No. 11 Virginia before traveling to Athens to take on fifth-ranked Georgia April 14.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the week ranked No. 5 in the nation in the latest RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA releases its RPI just once a week, beginning later in the season).
The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the most updated RPI, with four teams ranked among the top 11 in the nation. North Carolina leads all conference teams, standing at No. 3 in the RPI, while Miami (4), Georgia Tech, Virginia (11) and Clemson (18) all rank in the top-25.
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 14 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with eight of those contests coming away from Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Southern currently stands at No. 48 in the RPI In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech’s is ranked No. 12 while Georgia Southern’s schedule stands at No. 54 in the latest rankings.
Murton Climbs Record Books
Yellow Jacket senior Luke Murton entered the 2009 season ranked 16th in school history with 49 doubles in his career. With eight more already this season, the outfielder has climbed to sixth place in the Tech annals.
Speaking of Murton’s power numbers, the Yellow Jacket right fielder needs just one more home run to move into the top-20 in Georgia Tech’s record books. To date, he has 32 home runs in his career.
With his big weekend against North Carolina, Murton moved into a tie for 20th place in the school’s career annals for total bases, with 377 from 2006-present. He needs just six more to move into a tie for 19th place with Ty Griffin.