March 23, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s third-ranked baseball team returns to Russ Chandler Stadium to host a pair of in-state teams this week, including arch-rival Georgia, the nation’s top-ranked team. The Yellow Jackets (16-2, 6-1 ACC) meet Georgia State (14-7, 2-1 CAA) Tuesday at 6 p.m. before hosting the Bulldogs (19-2, 4-2 SEC) Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off their sixth-straight ACC series victory (third in 2009) and are winners of 13 of their last 14 games after posting a 2-1 record at Virginia Tech last weekend. Georgia State won its Colonial Athletic Association series against William & Mary last weekend, 2-1, while Georgia is coming off a series sweep of Mississippi State and has won five-straight games.
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. Georgia State)
Tuesday: LHP Jed Bradley (1-0, 2.45) vs. RHP John Locklear (3-1, 6.94)
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Georgia)
Wednesday: TBA vs. LHP Jason Leaver (2-0, 5.93)
Junior 1B Tony Plagman (.400-6-29-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.389-7-25-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while four other regular starters – senior RF Luke Murton (.364-0-13-3), senior C Jason Haniger (.349-2-16-2), sophomore SS Derek Dietrich (.333-2-16-1) and sophomore CF Jeff Rowland (.329-2-16-6) – are all batting over .325 for the season.
Both games can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org). Tuesday’s game can be seen on FS South, while Wednesday’s contest will be aired by CSS. Live stats for all Tech games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech vs. Georgia State (Georgia Tech leads, 52-7)
The Yellow Jackets and Panthers will be squaring off for the 60th time in history, and Tech enters Tuesday’s game with a 52-7 lead in the series. The Jackets have won three-straight against the Panthers, and have lost to Georgia State just twice in 32 home games (30-2 record at home).
Tech is 28-3 vs. Georgia State under head coach Danny Hall and is averaging 11.97 runs per game against the Panthers since his arrival in 1994. Georgia State, on the other hand, has been held to less than 10 runs in each of the 31 games between the two teams since 1994.
Tech vs. Georgia (Georgia leads, 195-148-2)
Georgia Tech and Georgia will continue their baseball rivalry at Russ Chandler Stadium Wednesday, meeting for the 346th time in history. The Bulldogs own a 195-148-2 edge in a series that dates to April 21, 1898.
The Yellow Jackets enjoy hosting Georgia in Atlanta, having posted an 86-68-1 record against the Bulldogs in home games, including winning the last four games played at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Tech and Georgia met five times in the 2008 season, with the Yellow Jackets winning the first two games, 9-4 and 11-1, before the Bulldogs captured a 3-2 win at Turner Field and eliminated Tech from the NCAA Tournament with 8-0 and 16-8 victories in Athens.
The Yellow Jackets are 31-26 against the Bulldogs since Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 11-3 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2008 and has started the 2009 season with a 5-1 record against in-state foes following wins over Kennesaw State last week. The Jackets have a total of 14 regular season games on the schedule against schools from Georgia this season.
Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 94-30 (.758) record against its in-state foes. In 16 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 138-47 (.746) against teams from Georgia.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 3 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 10 in the nation. Miami leads all conference teams, standing at No. 2 in the RPI, while Georgia Tech, North Carolina (4) and Virginia (10) all rank in the top-10.
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 10 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with five of those contests coming away from Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia currently stands at No. 21 in the RPI.
In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech is ranked No. 2 while Georgia’s schedule stands at No. 14 in the latest rankings.
Mashing on the Corners
Corner infielders Tony Plagman and Matt Skole have combined for 13 of the Yellow Jackets’ 33 home runs and 11 of Tech’s 39 doubles this season. Both players are slugging over .700 and have combined to drive in 54 runs in 2009.
Plagman, a junior first baseman from Alpharetta, Ga., leads the team in average (.400), hits (30) and RBI (29) and ranks second on the team (to Skole) with six home runs and a .733 slugging percentage in 2009. He also stands second on the team with 22 runs scored this season. Skole, Tech’s freshman third baseman, ranks second on the team in average (.389) and RBI (25) and leads the squad with a .764 slugging percentage and seven home runs.
One note about the two players – In eight of the last nine games, at least one of the two corner infielders has hit a home run, but they have only belted home runs in the same game once in 2009.
The following is where the two rank in the ACC:
RBI – 1st (Plagman), 7th (Skole)
Home Runs – 3rd (Skole), T-4th (Plagman)
On Base Percentage – 3rd (Skole), 5th (Plagman)
Total Bases – T-6th (Plagman, Skole)
Average – T-11th (Plagman), 15th (Skole)