March 18, 2010
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ATLANTA – The third-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team (14-1, 3-0 ACC) will hit the road for just the second time this season, first time in conference play, when it travels to Maryland (7-9, 1-2 ACC) for a weekend series in College Park, Md. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Friday, as both Saturday and Sunday games will begin at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, March 19 (6 p.m.) – Shipley Field
Georgia Tech – Deck McGuire, RHP, Jr. (3-0, 0.87 ERA, 33 K’s)
Maryland – Brett Harman, RHP, Jr. (2-2, 5.81 ERA, 25 K’s)
Saturday, March 20 (1 p.m.) – Shipley Field
Georgia Tech – Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Jr. (3-0, 3.18 ERA, 8 K’s)
Maryland – Adam Kolarek, LHP, Jr. (1-0, 1.08 ERA, 16 K’s)
Sunday, March 21 (1 p.m.) – Shipley Field
Georgia Tech – Jed Bradley, LHP, So. (2-1, 2.12 ERA, 27 K’s)
Maryland – Sander Beck, RHP, So. (0-2, 4.05 ERA, 17 K’s)
Playing 13 of its first 15 games at home, Tech will play outside the state of Georgia for the first time this season when it travels to Maryland this weekend.
The Jackets are coming off a 6-5 win over Georgia in midweek action Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium. Tech extended its win-streak to seven games with the victory, and came from behind to win for the third-straight game.
Georgia Tech currently is in first place in the Coastal division after the first weekend of ACC play, and remains one of two unbeatens in conference play. Tech is currently the only team in the ACC with just one loss.
Tech leads the conference on the mound with a 2.73 ERA, led by junior Deck McGuire’s 0.87 average. McGuire (33) and sophomore Jed Bradley (30) rank No. 1 and No. 3 in the conference in total strikeouts.
McGuire (3-0) is coming off of a career performance last weekend, as he held the Demon Deacons to one run on just three hits in his first career complete game. It was the first nine-inning complete game for a Georgia Tech pitcher since Eddie Burns threw one on March 21, 2007, and the first of the season for an Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher. The Tech bullpen has also pitched well lately. The group has allowed just three runs in 6.2 innings pitched over the last three games, and picked up wins in all three outings. Senior Andrew Robinson (2-0) has led the charge, holding opponents to just three hits while striking out three in 3.0 innings pitched.
Offensively, the Jackets are hitting .357 through 15 games on the season, with an impressive .614 slugging percentage. The average is the third-best in the conference, while the slugging percentage ranks the best among all teams. Cole Leonida (.453), Jacob Esch (.407), Matt Skole (.407), and Chase Burnette (.407) are all hitting above .400, while Tony Plagman has belted a team-leading seven home runs.
Leonida is batting .500 with two home runs and nine RBI since being moved to the cleanup spot on March 6.
Sophomore Matt Skole has hit at the No. 5 spot in the batting order in nine games this season, nine of Tech’s last 10 games (chart on page 11). Since the move, he is hitting .516 (16-for-31) with 3 doubles, 3 home runs and 9 RBI. In the previous five games, the third base hit just .250 (5-for-20) with one home run while batting cleanup. He had his eight-game hit streak snapped in Tuesday’s game.
Plagman is on an 11-game hit streak himself, two shy of tying his career high of 13. He hit his 41st career homer on Tuesday against Georgia. He is currently tied for eighth on the all-time list at Tech.
Maryland went 1-2 against Virginia Tech to open conference play last weekend, before splitting its mid-week games with a 3-2 win over Old Dominion Tuesday before falling 5-2 to William & Mary Wednesday. The Terrapins are under the direction of first-year head coach Erik Bakich, and return 17 letterwinners (three position starters and 11 pitchers) from a 2009 team that finished with a 27-27 record.
Georgia Tech holds a 66-23 advantage in the all-time series against Maryland, including a 41-8 (.837) record under head coach Danny Hall. The two teams have met every year since the 1991 season, battling 89 times since the first ever meeting in 1921.
Last Meeting: The Jackets swept the series in 2009 at Russ Chandler Stadium, winning by scores of 5-1, 24-3 and 10-7.
Following this weekend’s series with Maryland, the Jackets will play head to Mercer Tuesday, March 23, for a 6 p.m. makeup of the March 10 rainout. The two teams will then head to Atlanta the next day, for a 6 p.m. game at Russ Chandler Stadium on Wednesday.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Maryland enters the weekend currently tied for second in the Atlantic Division with a 1-2 record in conference play. The Terrapins won five-straight games from March 3-12, but had the streak snapped with a 13-4 loss at Virginia Tech last Saturday. The team is hitting .252 on the season, and is led by Brandon Padula with a .518 average. Padula’s clip currently leads the conference. Maryland has also stolen 39 bases in 52 attempts on the year. The 32 are 10 more than the next closest team in the ACC.
The Terrapins hold a 5.59 ERA on the mound, and have struck out 140 batters on the season. Junior left-hander Adam Kolarek, a possible starter for Saturday’s game, leads the team with a 1.08 ERA. Three pitchers have at least 20 strikeouts on the season, with junior Brett Harman’s 25 leading the way.