March 4, 2010
Following the postponement of Tuesday’s mid-week game against Western Carolina, fourth-ranked Georgia Tech (7-1) returns to action this weekend with a three-game series against Rutgers (1-5) at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. Friday, while both Saturday and Sunday are slated for 1 p.m. starts.
Live Stats: RamblinWreck.com
Live Audio: WREK 91.1 FM or online at RamblinWreck.com
Twitter Updates: Twitter.com/gt_athletics
Promotions: Snuggie Giveaway; One Georgia Tech edition Snuggie will be given away each game of the Rutgers series. In addition, 250 trading cards of Georgia Tech players and coaches will be given away.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday, March 5 (4 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Deck McGuire, RHP, Jr. (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Rutgers – Casey Gaynor, RHP, Sr. (0-2, 5.91 ERA)
Saturday, March 6 (1 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Jr. (2-0, 1.50 ERA)
Rutgers – Dennis Hill, LHP, Sr. (0-2, 8.38 ERA)
Sunday, March 7 (1 p.m.) – Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech – Jed Bradley, LHP, So. (1-1, 3.27 ERA)
Ruters – Willie Beard, RHP, So. (0-0, 7.20 ERA)
The Jackets opened the season on a seven-game win streak, before suffering their first loss in a 7-6 decision to Xavier last Sunday.
Despite one loss, the Jackets hold steady in the polls and are ranked as high as No. 4 this week by Baseball America, and No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball.
Georgia Tech has combined for four shutout wins so far on the season, one more than the team had in all of 2009. All three weekend starters have combined with the bullpen for a shutout this season.
Offensively, the Jackets are outscoring opponents, 81-19, and have belted 17 home runs, an average of 2.1 per game. Junior outfielder Chase Burnette leads the team in batting average with a .531 clip, while junior catcher Cole Leonida is in midst of a seven-game hit streak.
The Scarlet Knights return 22 letter-winners and eight starters (including the top three hitters) from a 2009 team that went 22-31. All three weekend starters return on the mound for Rutgers.
After opening its season with six-straight games in the state of Florida, Rutgers heads to Atlanta with a 1-5 record. The record is no indication of how the Scarlet Knights have been playing however, as Rutgers has been on the wrong end of the scoreboard by just three runs or less in four of the five losses.
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at RamblinWreck.com.
Be sure to tune into the pre-game show 15 minutes before every game as play-by-play commentator Kyle Tait will preview the matchup.
Due to conflicting schedules with the ACC women’s basketball tournament, Saturday’s game will not be carried on WREK 91.1 FM if the Tech women are to win Friday, but instead would broadcast on WREK HD-2 radio and online at RamblinWreck.com.
Georgia Tech is 35-11 all-time against Rutgers, and 24-7 (.774) under head coach Danny Hall.
All 46 games of the series have been played at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Friday’s meeting marks the eighth consecutive season the two teams will have squared off, and the 17th year overall that the two have faced each other dating back to 1988.
Last Meeting: The Jackets went 2-0 against Rutgers last season, winning 6-4 in game one and 13-4 in game two at Russ Chandler Stadium.
4-28-09 Georgia Tech 6, Rutgers 4
4-28-09 Georgia Tech 13, Rutgers 4
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
The Scarlet Knights enter Friday’s game with a 1-5 record after picking up their first win of the season, a 6-5 result over Purdue, last week at the Big Ten/ Big East Challenge. The Rutgers offense is hitting .229 as team, and is led in most columns by Pat Biserta, who is batting .345 with three home runs and seven RBI. On the mound, Rutgers holds a 7.64 ERA and has combined for 38 strikeouts.
LAST TIME OUT
Tech’s mid-week game against Western Carolina Tuesday was postponed due to rain and snow in the Atlanta area. It has not been rescheduled at this point. Last weekend, the Jackets won two out of three against Xavier at Russ Chandler Stadium. The loss to Xavier snapped Tech’s seven game win streak to start the season, its best start since opening with 16-straight victories in 2006.
Tech picked up its third and fourth shutout of the year last week, one more than the team had the entire season in 2009. Junior Brandon Cumpton and sophomore Mark Pope were Tech’s top starters on the mound this week, as Cumpton held Xavier to just one-hit (.050 opp. BA) through 7.0 scoreless innings in a 15-0 win (2/27), while Pope scattered just four hits with seven strikeouts (6.0 IP) in a 10-0 decision over Georgia Southern (2/23) in the first start of his career.
SHUTTING THEM DOWN
Head coach Danny Hall said prior to the 2010 season that this year’s pitching staff may be one of the deepest Tech has ever had and it has started that way . The Jackets have opened the season with three shutouts in their first four games, the most through four outings in school history. Last Saturday’s 15-0 win over Xavier was the fourth of the season, one more than the team had the entire 2009 season.
2010 Shutouts 2-19 vs. Missouri State, 4-0)
2-21 vs. Missouri State, 13-0
2-23 at Georgia Southern, 10-0
2-27 vs. Xavier, 15-0
MIDDLE 3 ARE KEY
Tech has scored more than half of its runs (43 out of 82) in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the eight games played this season. In 2009, the Jackets only scored 32 percent of their 501 runs in the middle three innings.
TECH REMAINS STEADY IN THE IN POLLS
Tech remained steady in the weekly polls released Monday. The Jackets fell from No. 3 to No. 5 in the Collegiate Baseball rankings, but stayed at No. 4 in the Baseball America poll.
HOME RUN NUMBERS CONTINUE RISE
Through eight games this season, Georgia Tech has belted 17 home runs. If power numbers remain in tact, the Jackets are on pace to hit 119 this season, which would tie the all-time school record In 2009, the Jackets hit the second most home runs in school history. Tech belted 111 homers, the most since Hall’s arrival in 1994. Last season’s 111 home runs were the third most in the nation. Luke Murton, who led Tech with 20 blasts, graduated in 2009, but senior Tony Plagman and sophomore Matt Skole return after hitting a combined 33 just one year ago.