Nov. 6, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech Head Coach Danny Hall
Complete Transcript Regarding 2009 Baseball Schedule
On opening the season with Lipscomb
“Prior to last year, if somebody would have seen Lipscomb on our schedule they would have said that Georgia Tech was opening up with a not-so-great opponent. But I think that anybody that watched the regional in Athens last year – when they beat Georgia in the first game and, honestly, gave us everything that we could handle – knows that we were fortunate to win that game. They are a great opponent, and their top two pitchers that threw in the regional last year are back. The guy that will probably throw Friday night for them will be one of the better pro prospects that we see all year, and I think it’s a great test to start the year off here in Atlanta.”
On the home ACC schedule
“We’ve missed North Carolina the last couple of years, and we’ve had to go to both North Carolina and Virginia the last two years, so to get those as home series is definitely better for us. North Carolina had great runs in the NCAA Tournament and the College World Series the last two years and they have another great team in place, and Virginia is certainly one of the up-and-comers, not only in our conference but throughout the country in baseball, so to have two key series like that here is something that I think our fans should definitely look forward to.
“And Florida State is always Florida State – they made it to the World Series last year and they are a great team. Mike Martin is one of the best coaches, probably ever, in college baseball, and to have three conference series of that magnitude here at Russ Chandler Stadium is a great home slate in the ACC.”
On the home schedule as a whole, with numerous games against in-state opponents
“My philosophy has always been to play every Division I school in our state, and I like playing them home-and-home. I think that any time we have them here at home, the first place that I think it helps us is academically. One of the things that changed last year with our season starting late in February is that our schedule is compacted. For me, it’s critical that we play midweek games either at home or play teams that are within driving distance of Atlanta so that we don’t have to spend the night and miss class.
“The other thing is that, when you look at the way we played in those games last year, the only team that beat us was Georgia at Turner Field. Those were critical [wins] for us to get into the NCAA Tournament. While people may think that those games aren’t as important as conference games, they are very important. And when you start adding up your wins at the end of the year, you look at some of those teams that our opponents beat, whether it’s in-conference or in their non-conference schedule, and it helps us all the way around. So it definitely helps us academically, and then they are also critical games as we try to rack up some victories that are ultimately going to get us in the NCAA Tournament.”
On the baseball rivalry between Georgia Tech and Georgia
“Georgia is our arch rival – you can throw away all of the ACC games and throw away anybody that you might think has a great college baseball program. That is a red-letter date on our schedule – any time that we play them we want to play well. They have been to the College World Series two of the last three years and that definitely hurts. The NCAA has also made it so that it looks like we are going to have to play each other every year in the NCAA Tournament, which I don’t like – it isn’t fair to either school.
“So those [regular season] games are not only critical because it’s our arch rival and it’s very important, but over and above that, when you start looking at who is going to host a regional, it’s probably whoever has done well in that series and also done well in their conference that is going to get the upper hand in hosting the regional and super regional. Unfortunately for us last year, even though we had a very good year, we ended up having to go to Athens to play in the regional because [Georgia] won the SEC Championship.
“So those are critical games and it’s also critical that you play well within your conference so that you can hopefully get a chance to play at home in the NCAA regional.”
On adding another SEC opponent to the schedule in 2009
“Going back two or three years when Rod Delmonico was the coach at Tennessee, we’d talked about playing a midweek game at the pro park in Chattanooga, and last year I received a call from Todd Raleigh and he indicated that he’d like to try to play that game. It’s a Wednesday night matchup against a team that we usually don’t play midweek, but Chattanooga is within two hours of Atlanta so I felt like it was a good Wednesday night game against a quality opponent and a quality school. It’s also within driving distance for our fans and the parents of our kids.
“It will be fun to play in a pro park and in Chattanooga against a great opponent.”
On the ACC Tournament being in Durham, and the ease for the team and fans on getting there.
“We were all disappointed, particularly for our seniors, that we won’t have a chance to go play at Fenway Park. Everyone was looking forward to that, but we fully understand what happened there. The fact that it is going to be held in Durham at Durham Bulls Park, which is a very historic-looking park, right in the middle of ACC country is good because we should have a lot of fan support, not only for our team but also for the other ACC teams that are within driving distance of Durham. I give kudos to the ACC for getting it done because [the postponement of playing in Boston] really forced the league office to scramble to find a place for us to play. But I think it’s a great park, a great venue, and it should be a lot of fun.”