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No. 3 Tech Travels to Mercer Prior to Eight-Game Homestand

March 31, 2009

ATLANTA – The third-ranked Yellow Jackets travel to Mercer (8-12, 4-5 A-Sun) Wednesday for a single game at 6 p.m. before returning to Atlanta for an eight-game homestand, beginning with a three-game series against No. 5 North Carolina this weekend.

Georgia Tech (18-4, 8-2 ACC) is coming off an ACC series win over No. 2 Miami last weekend in Coral Gables, Fla., while Mercer defeated ETSU, 10-5, Sunday to avoid an A-Sun series sweep by the Bucs. The two victories over Miami helped the Yellow Jackets win their seventh-straight ACC series, including all four in 2009.

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 three weeks by Collegiate Baseball) and currently appear among the top-10 in the Collegiate Baseball, NCBWA (3), USA Today (4), Rivals.com (7) and Baseball America (10) polls. This week marks the first time all season the Jackets have been ranked among the top-10 in all five polls.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Mercer)
Wednesday: LHP Jake Davies (1-0, 0.75)/STAFF vs. RHP Justice French (1-0, 4.66)

Junior 1B Tony Plagman (.363-7-31-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.352-7-25-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while sophomore SS Derek Dietrich (.354-4-22-1) and senior RF Luke Murton (.350-3-19-3) have been on a hot streak of late.

Game Coverage

Wednesday’s game can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), while live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.

Tech vs. Mercer

The Yellow Jackets will be searching for win No. 102 against the Bears when they travel to Macon Wednesday and hold a 101-48 lead in the series after defeating the Bears, 17-3, earlier this season. Tech and Mercer will be meeting for just the fourth time since the 2003 season and have a 14-game winning streak (dating back to the 1994 season) on the line.

The Jackets are 41-26 against the Bears at home, and hold an 19-3 edge in the series since Danny Hall’s arrival in 1994.

Earlier this Season: Two-run home runs by Derek Dietrich and Tony Plagman highlighted an 11-run third inning to lift No. 6 Georgia Tech to a 17-3 victory over Mercer at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets hit five home runs in addition to six doubles in a game that saw all nine starters, and 13 different Tech batters, collect hits. Additionally, 12 different players scored runs, 11 had at least one RBI, and 10 recorded extra-base hits against the Bears. Plagman led Tech with four RBI on two hits in three at-bats, while Luke Murton added three hits in the game. Joining Dietrich and Plagman in the home run column were Brandon Miller, Chris House and Jason Garofalo, all of which smacked their first home runs of the season. Tech’s 11 runs in the third were the most scored in an inning by the Jackets since May 14, 2005, when Tech defeated Virginia Tech 27-2, using a 12-run first and 11-run second inning.

Road Warriors

After opening the season with 11 of their 13 games at home, the Yellow Jackets have been road warriors over the last two weeks, playing seven of their last nine games on the road. Tech’s game against Mercer will end a four-game road swing that included a trip to Coral Gables, Fla., to play the nation’s then-No. 2-ranked Miami.

Despite the 6-3 road record, several of the Yellow Jackets seem to play better away from Russ Chandler Stadium, including Matt Skole, who is batting .439 with three doubles, four home runs and 16 RBI in Tech’s nine road games. Derek Dietrich (.405-2-12) and Tony Plagman (.378-1-11) have also had better success away from home. As a team, the Yellow Jackets are batting .313 with 15 doubles and 15 home runs on the road and .314 with 27 doubles and 27 home runs in 13 home games.

Jackets’ Tough Stretch

From last Friday through April 14, the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to play 13 games over a 19-day span. As if that wasn’t tough enough, 10 of those 13 games are against teams ranked among the top-10 in the nation. Tech went 2-1 at No. 2 Miami last weekend, and has a three-game series vs. No. 5 North Carolina this weekend at home. The Jackets will also host No. 10 Virginia next weekend before traveling to Athens to take on top-ranked Georgia April 14.

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!

The 2009 season has marked several rainouts for teams throughout the nation, and the Yellow Jackets have not been immune to the delays and cancellations. The latest cancellation came last Wednesday, when Georgia Tech was scheduled to square off against No. 1-ranked Georgia at Russ Chandler Stadium, but Mother Nature interfered for the fourth time this season, and third time due to rain (the fourth was a snow-out).

Due to all of the cancellations, Georgia Tech has played fewer games than any other team in the ACC in 2009.

Jackets Receive Highest Ranking Since 2006

Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Yellow Jackets climbed to No. 3 in the March 16 Collegiate Baseball poll, marking Georgia Tech’s highest ranking since the 2006 season. The Yellow Jackets have remained at No. 3 in both polls since then with series victories at Virginia Tech and No. 2 Miami.

Yellow Jackets in the RPI

Georgia Tech enters the week ranked No. 4 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 North Carolina (3), Georgia Tech, Virginia (6) and Clemson (17) all rank in the top-25.

Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 12 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with six of those contests coming away from Russ Chandler Stadium.

Mercer currently stands at No. 159 in the Pseduo-RPI.

In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech is ranked No. 4 while Mercer’s schedule stands at No. 188 in the latest rankings.

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