Feb. 18, 2010
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team, ranked as high as No. 6 in the preseason polls, hosts Missouri State, the 2009 Missouri Valley Conference regular season champions, on Opening Day, Friday, Feb. 19 at Russ Chandler Stadium. First pitch will be at 4 p.m., and the series will continue Saturday at 2 p.m. before concluding Sunday at 1 p.m.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Georgia Tech returns 24 letterwinners and 10 starters (six position players and four pitchers) from a 2009 team that went 38-19-1 and reached the final game of the NCAA Atlanta Regional.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
GAME 1 – Friday, Feb. 19
First Pitch – 4 p.m. ET
GT – Deck McGuire, RHP, Jr., (11-2, 3.50)
MS – Aaron Meade, LHP (9-2, 3.39)
Audio: WREK (91.1 FM)
GAME 2 – Saturday, Feb. 20
First Pitch – 2 p.m. ET
GT – Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Jr. (4-3, 4.76)
MSU – Pat Doyle, RHP, Sr. (4-2, 4.12)
Audio: WREK (91.1 FM)
GAME 3 – Sunday, Feb. 21
First Pitch – 1 p.m. ET
GT – Jed Bradley, LHP, So. (2-3, 6.65)
MSU – TBA
Audio: WREK-HD2 and wrek.org
TECH IN SEASON OPENERS
Georgia Tech is to 60-47-3 in season openers and 41-21-2 when the season opener occurs at home. The Yellow Jackets have fared well in season openers under head coach Danny Hall, posting a 12-4 record in such games since his arrival prior to the 1994 season. Tech has opened the season at home on just six occasions under Hall, going 5-1 in those contests. However, 2010 marks the third straight season that Georgia Tech has opened the season at home.
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at wrek.org.
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.
Following the series with Missouri State, the Jackets will travel to Statesboro for a two-game series against Georgia Southern on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tech will then return home for a weekend series against Xavier, Feb. 26-28.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Missouri State, entering its 28th season under head coach Keith Guttin, returns 17 letterwinners and five starters from a 2009 squad that went 34-20 overall last season. The Bears won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title, but were denied a bid to the NCAA Tournament after placing third at the conference championships.
The Bears lose three first team All-MVC members including All-American and conference Player of the Year Brayden Drake from 2009, but return the MVC Freshman of the Year in second baseman Kevin Medrano. Medrano batted .329 with three home runs and 40 RBI last season. Also returning is junior right-hander Aaron Meade, who went 9-2 with a 3.39 ERA and 89 strikeouts just one year ago.
WHAT RETURNS FOR TECH
Tech returns a deep pitching staff, as well as a veteran core of infielders. Returning to the mound are 13 hurlers with a lot of experience, led by four pitchers who made at least seven starts in 2009. Included in that list is All-American and 2009 ACC Pitcher of the Year Deck McGuire (11-2, 3.50 ERA, 118 K’s).
Also returning to the weekend starting rotation is junior Brandon Cumpton (4-3, 4.76 ERA, 67 K’s), who led the conference in fewest home runs allowed giving up just three in 2009. Cumpton moves from the No. 3 weekend starter to No. 2 in 2010. With the No. 3 weekend spot up for grabs during the preseason, sophomore lefty Jed Bradley (2-3, 6.65 ERA, 49 K’s) has impressed during practice and earned the job for the opening weekend. Bradley made eight mid-week starts as a freshman in 2009 and came out of the pen for four appearances.
Georgia Tech will have a very experienced bullpen for the 2010 season. Senior right-hander Andrew Robinson (3.35, 1-0, 34 K’s) returns as the primary setup guy for Tech, and currently sits tied for 15th in career appearances with 72. Junior lefty Zach Brewster (1-3, 3.73, 35 K’s) returns after leading the team in appearances with 32 in 2009.
Sophomore Jake Davies, another lefty in the pen, was not far behind Brewster in appearances, making 27 during his freshman year. Davies had a perfect 3-0 record and held opposing batters to just a .220 average.
On the infield
The Jackets return the entire starting infield, including senior first baseman Tony Plagman (.354, 16 HR, 73 RBI), who led the team lead in runs batted in last season. Also returning are junior shortstop Derek Dietrich (.311, 10 HR, 54 RBI) and sophomore third baseman Matt Skole (.302, 17 HR, 58 RBI), each of whom were named to respective freshman All-America teams in 2007 and 2008.
After serving two years as backup to Jason Haniger, junior Cole Leonida (.306, 5 HR, 14 RBI) will start behind the plate for the 2010 season. Leonida has plenty of experience having played in 51 career games.
In the outfield
In the outfield, junior centerfielder Jeff Rowland (.340, 8 HR, 39 RBI), named first team All-ACC as a sophomore, returns as the lone starter in the outfield. He will however be joined with experience in the left field by redshirt senior Jay Dantzler (.281, 5 HR, 12 RBI) and in the right by Chase Burnette (.351, 8 HR, 29 RBI). Both players have played in a combined 181 career games.