April 14, 2011
ATLANTA – The ninth-ranked Georgia Tech baseball team will head to Wake Forest for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Yellow Jackets (25-9, 12-3 ACC) and the Demon Deacons (13-21, 5-10 ACC) will play at 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Wake Forest Baseball Park.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest)
Friday: RHP Mark Pope (7-1, 1.16, 62.1 IP, 54 SO) vs. LHP Brian Holmes (2-1, 3.68, 29.1 IP, 20 SO)
Saturday:LHP Jed Bradley (3-1, 2.98, 48.1 IP, 64 SO) vs. LHP Tim Cooney (3-2, 2.52, 53.2 IP, 52 SO)
Sunday: RHP Buck Farmer (6-1, 2.54, 49.2 IP, 54 SO) vs. LHP Austin Stadler (1-6, 10.26, 40.1 IP, 40 SO)
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.
Georgia Tech (25-9) enters the weekend ranked as high as No. 9in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. The Jackets are alsoranked in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches’ (12), Perfect Game Top-25(12), National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (15) andBaseball America (15) polls. The Jackets are currently on atwo-game win streak after defeating arch-rival Georgia in midweekaction on Tuesday … Tech remains one game behind Virginia in theACC Coastal division standings with a 12-3 record in league play.Friday’s game will mark the 101st all-time meeting between GeorgiaTech and Wake Forest, in a series that dates all the way back to1898. The Jackets will face a heavy dose of lefties this weekend,as all three starting pitchers in the Demon Deacon rotation areSouthpaws. Wake Forest (13-21, 5-10 ACC) returns 12 letterwinners,six position starters and eight pitchers from a 2010 squad thatwent 18-37 and finished fifth in the ACC Atlantic Division (8-22).The Demon Deacons went 1-1 in midweek action this week, defeatingUNC-Greensboro before falling to Winthrop on Wednesday … WakeForest lost two of three against Virginia Tech at home last weekend… The team is batting .221 on the year, while the pitching staffholds a 5.08 ERA.
Georgia Tech holds a 65-34-1 advantage in the all-time series, having won six straight games dating back to 2008 … The Jackets are 34-16 against the Demon Deacons since head coach Danny Hall’s arrival on the Flats in 1994 … The series is tied at 17-17-1 in games played on Wake’s turf.
Last Meeting: Catcher Cole Leonida’s sacrifice fly broke a seventh-inning tie, and freshman Buck Farmer pitched four scoreless innings of relief as Georgia Tech defeated Wake Forest, 6-5, to complete the series sweep on March 14, 2010 at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Tech currently leads the Atlantic Coast Conference inhitting (.326) while holding the second lowest ERA at 2.69 …Tech’s batting average is the seventh best in the nation, while theteam’s 88 doubles lead the country. The Jackets are outscoringopponents 250-132 this season, and average 11.7 hits and 7.4 runsper game. Freshman centerfielder Kyle Wren leads the ACC in hits (59) and runs scored (38),while ranking second in batting average (.410) … His 59 hits aretied for the most in the nation entering the week … JuniorsJake Davies (.388, 3rd) and Matt Skole (.381, 4th) combine with Wren to give Tech three ofthe top-four averages in the conference. Tech’s three weekendpitchers – Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer – have combined for 16 wins and just three losses… Pope is tied for the ACC lead in wins (second in the nation)and has the second lowest ERA in the conference (1.16) …Bradley’s 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings are the ninth-most inthe NCAA. Georgia Tech has won 10 of its last 11 weekend series,having its streak of 10 straight series wins snapped last weekendagainst Virginia. The Jackets won 16 straight games from March 4 toMarch 29, their longest streak since the 2006 season. Seventeen ofGeorgia Tech’s 34 players on the roster are freshmen … All 17have played this season while 10 have made at least one start.
YELLOW JACKETS IN THE RPI
Georgia Tech is currently ranked No. 5 in the latest NCAA RPIrankings (as of April 12)… The Jackets are No. 4 in the latestPseudo-RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). The Atlantic Coast Conferenceis well represented in the RPI, with five teams ranked among thetop 25 in the nation. Virginia, ranked No. 2 in the country in theRPI, leads all conference teams while North Carolina (3), GeorgiaTech (5), Florida State (9) and Clemson (13) all rank in the top25.
LEFTOVERS FROM THE MIDWEEK
Georgia Tech ran its streak of wins over arch-rival Georgia to five games, with a 5-3 victory on Tuesday at Russ Chandler Stadium. The streak ties for the third longest in history over Georgia. The Jackets have not lost to the Bulldogs since the 2009 season. Freshman Matthew Grimes had a career-high 10 strikeouts, allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Freshman Daniel Palka hit a decisive two-run homer in the 4th inning.
The Jackets will face a heavy dose of lefties when they play Wake Forest this weekend, as the Demon Deacons will start three southpaws – Brian Holmes, Tim Cooney and Austin Stadler. Wake Forest has nine total lefties on its pitching staff. The Jackets have face 14 left-handed starters this season, going 9-5 in those contests.
Home runs may be down this year due to the de-engineering of bats, but the Jackets have found another way to get extra bases. The team has hit 88 doubles, the second most in the nation. Tech has hit at least one double in 33 of 34 games. Thirteen different players have registered at least one double, while five have at least 10.
ESCH DOUBLES HIS WORK LOAD
Shortstop Jacob Esch has made a habit of doubling up on things this season – an ACC leading 16 doubles (fifth most in the nation), 18 turned double plays and also pitching some in relief – but his biggest challenge has been doubling up on academics and baseball. The third-year Civil Engineering major is taking 19 credit hours this semester, one more than the allowed amount for student athletes. Esch had to get special permission to take an extra credit hour. The junior captain has made a huge turnaround at the plate this season, improving his average by 65 points to .333 from last year’s .268 clip.
EARNING EVERY BUCK
After beginning the season in a 0-1 hole (including a no-decision in his first start), sophomore pitcher Buck Farmer has gone on to win six straight games on the mound. Tech’s Sunday starter improved to 6-1 after the Jackets’ 10-8 win over No. 1 Virginia last Sunday. In his toughest test this season (Farmer was hit for four unearned runs on 10 hits), the Conyers, Ga. native battled for seven innings, got the outs he need and maintained his velocity well into the 100-pitch count.