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No. 3 Georgia Tech Opens Road Slate in Blacksburg

March 19, 2009

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ATLANTA – Third-ranked Georgia Tech (14-1, 4-0 ACC) will visit Blacksburg for just the second time in history when the Yellow Jackets meet Virginia Tech (12-6, 1-4 ACC) for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend. The two teams will meet at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday before concluding the third ACC series of the season Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets are riding an 11-game winning streak following a midweek series sweep of Kennesaw State, while the Hokies swept two games from VMI during the week.

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 (this week by Collegiate Baseball) and currently appear among the top-10 in the Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA (5), USA Today (9) and Rivals.com (10) polls. Baseball America has the Jackets ranked No. 14 in their latest college baseball poll.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech)
Friday: RHP Deck McGuire (4-0, 0.94) vs. RHP Rhett Ballard (3-1, 3.42)
Saturday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (4-0, 4.00) vs. LHP Justin Wright (1-1, 6.00)
Sunday: RHP Brandon Cumpton (0-0, 3.75) vs. RHP Matthew Price (1-1, 2.81)

Senior RF Luke Murton (.426-0-11-3) and senior C Jason Haniger (.380-2-15-2) are pacing the Yellow Jacket offense this season, while junior 1B Tony Plagman (.361-6-22-4) leads the team in HR and RBI. The Jackets are batting .323 as a team, while 12 players are batting above .300 in 2009.

GAME COVERAGE: The entire series can be found on ACC Select (www.accselect.com), the live, online video broadcast system of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Tech fans can also listen to the game on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), while live stats for all Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.

Tech vs. Virginia Tech (Georgia Tech leads, 13-5)

The Yellow Jackets are making just their second trip to Blacksburg, and their first since the 2006 season. Georgia Tech is 13-5 all-time against the Hokies, 12-3 against Virginia Tech under head coach Danny Hall and 2-1 in games played at English Field.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a three-game sweep of the Hokies in 2008, which followed a 2-1 series win by Virginia Tech in Atlanta the year prior. Georgia Tech has won two-straight against the Hokies in Blacksburg.

Streaking in the ACC

Georgia Tech swept just two Atlantic Coast Conference series during the 2008 regular season and already has one sweep in 2009 after winning all three games against Maryland on the first weekend of conference play. The Yellow Jackets also won the single game they played against Boston College prior to the remainder of the series being rained out the following weekend. The Yellow Jackets have swept 63 weekend series since the conference adopted the current three-game round-robin format in 1987.

Since 1987, Tech has won 118 of 177 (.667) ACC series, including 34 of its last 50 (.680) weekend series. The Jackets took five weekend series a year ago, and opened league play with a sweep of Maryland and by winning the one and only game they played against Boston College.

Power Surge

In 2008, Georgia Tech nearly doubled its home run output from the 2007 season and marked the biggest increase in home runs from one year to the next in school history. Last season, the Yellow Jackets belted 92 home runs, the seventh-best single season mark in school history and the fourth-most since Hall’s arrival in 1994.

With an ACC-leading 28 home runs through the first 15 games of the season, the Yellow Jackets look to be well on their way to another record-breaking season. One note about Tech leading the league in HR – the 28 homers have come in just 15 games this season, and no team in the league has played fewer games than the Yellow Jackets.

On the Offensive

Speaking of power numbers, the Yellow Jackets have been hot through their last seven games, averaging 11.9 runs per game while 38 of their 88 hits have gone for extra bases. Against Boston College, Kennesaw State, Mercer, and in two games against Maryland, Georgia Tech is batting .342 with 20 doubles, a triple and 17 home runs while slugging .626.

Leading the way for the Jackets is junior first baseman Tony Plagman, who is batting .429 (12-for-28) with four home runs, three doubles and 14 RBI during that span. Thirteen different Yellow Jackets have homered over the last eight games.

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