May 5, 2009
ATLANTA – AT&T Park, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ AA affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts, will play host to No. 8 Georgia Tech and Tennessee when the two teams meet Wednesday night in Chattanooga, Tenn. First pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m. at the 6,340-seat ballpark, with the Yellow Jackets (31-11-1) searching for their fourth-straight win after sweeping Presbyterian in a three-game series over the weekend. Tennessee (21-27) is coming off a 17-11 loss at Kentucky, where the Wildcats won two of three against the Volunteers.
Georgia Tech has won four of its last six games, while Tennessee has dropped five of its last seven.
The Yellow Jackets were a consensus preseason top-25 team who moved into the top-10 in the season’s first official polls. Georgia Tech has been ranked as high as No. 3 this season (by Collegiate Baseball in March) and currently appears among the top-10 in all five polls, peaking at No. 8 in the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll. Baseball America and Rivals.com has the Jackets listed at No. 9 in their respective polls, while Tech stands 10th in the Collegiate Baseball and NCBWA polls.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee)
Wednesday – 7:15 p.m.: LHP Jed Bradley (2-2, 6.03) vs. TBA
Senior RF Luke Murton (.94-15-48-4), junior 1B Tony Plagman (.341-13-57-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.313-12-43-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while sophomore CF Jeff Rowland (.354-6-29-17), senior C Jason Haniger (.331-7-41-2) and senior LF Chris House (.330-3-15-1) have been hot of late.
GAME COVERAGE: The game can be heard on AM 790 The Zone, while live stats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com.
Game Cancellation Reminder
A reminder that Georgia Tech’s previously scheduled May 5 game against Alabama A&M was cancelled earlier this season, and all fans holding tickets to that game may use them for any other home Tech baseball game this season. This does NOT include the game vs. Georgia at Turner Field, which is a fundraiser for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The same holds true for any fans holding tickets to games that were cancelled due to weather earlier this season – those tickets may be used for any game this weekend against Florida State.
Tech vs. Tennessee (Tech leads, 45-33)
This Wednesday, the Yellow Jackets and Volunteers will be meeting for the first time in three years, and for the 79th time in history. The two teams last met in 2006, with Georgia Tech winning, 8-5, at Coastal Federal Field in the one and only neutral site game between the two teams in history. Prior to that win, the Volunteers had taken the previous four games between the two teams. The Yellow Jackets are 1-3 against the Volunteers under head coach Danny Hall.
Haniger Tabbed Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Finalist
While catcher Jason Haniger continues to rack up athletic and academic honors, the senior has been recognized for his work off the field and away from the classroom as well. In March, Haniger was named one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes exceptional senior baseball student-athletes that excel in the classroom and competition but also give back to the community and are of honorable character.
On April 15, the list of candidates was narrowed to 10 finalists, and Haniger is one of three ACC baseball players included in the list of finalists for the award. A portion of the vote is decided by fans, who can log onto www.seniorclassaward.com daily (through May 31) to vote, or they may text BSB6 to 839863.
Georgia Tech has played 18 games away from Russ Chandler Stadium, including a string of seven over a nine-game span in late March and nine over a 10-day span in mid-April. While several teams struggle when they hit the road, the opposite is actually true for this Yellow Jacket squad.
Tech is 12-6 on the road and 19-5-1 at Russ Chandler Stadium. Of the eight Yellow Jackets that have started at least 20 games this season, seven have actually posted higher batting averages away from the Rusty C than they do at home. As a team, the Jackets are batting .328 while scoring 8.5 runs per game on the road, as compared to .328 with 9.7 runs per game at Russ Chandler Stadium.
The offense isn’t the only part of this team that doesn’t mind hitting the road. While Tech’s weekend starters have posted better ERA’s at home, the team as a whole owns a 4.50 ERA on the road vs. a 4.70 ERA at home. Even more impressive is the work of Tech’s bullpen in road games. The group hasn’t allowed opposing fans to get to them, but have instead posted a 2.51 ERA while opponents are batting just .228 in 68.0 innings against them on the road. Conversely, Tech’s bullpen owns a 6.03 ERA at home while opponents are batting .266 against them in 88.0 innings at the Rusty C.
Capitalizing on the Big Inning
While Tech’s pitching staff and defense has to avoid the big inning, the offense has lived off of it in 2009, scoring four or more runs in an inning 30 times this season. When the Yellow Jackets plate four or more in an inning, Georgia Tech is 18-2 in 2009.
The only exceptions were the 9-5 loss at Virginia Tech (see above note, when Tech gave up four in the fifth) and the 11-10 loss to Virginia (again, see above note, when the Jackets yielded six in the top of the ninth).
In 2008, Georgia Tech nearly doubled its home run output from the 2007 season and marked the biggest increase in home runs from one year to the next in school history. Last season, the Yellow Jackets belted 92 home runs, the seventh-best single season mark in school history and the fourth-most since Hall’s arrival in 1994.
This season, the Yellow Jackets have smacked an ACC-leading 89 home runs, which ranks 10th in the nation. Tech’s 89 homers have come in 43 games (the fewest played by any ACC school this season), to give the Yellow Jackets an average of 2.23 home runs per game – the 11th-best mark in the country in 2009.
The Yellow Jackets have eclipsed the 90-home run mark just 10 times since the program began in the late 1800’s. Six of those have been under Hall.
Tech is 30-6 this season when a Yellow Jacket hits a home run.
Holding Opponents to 6 or Less
Georgia Tech is 25-4-1 on the season when holding opponents to six or fewer runs after posting a 36-2 record in 2008 under the same circumstances.
The Yellow Jackets have scored over six runs in 25 games this season and are averaging 9.2 runs per game in 2009.