Feb. 14, 2013
by Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –
Friday: Buck Farmer, RHP (8-4, 3.54 in 2012) vs. Jon Pusateri, RHP (0-2, 10.57 in 2012), 4:00 p.m.
Saturday: Dusty Isaacs, RHP (7-5, 5.19 in 2012) vs. Pat Dyer, LHP (3-5, 4.54 in 2012), 2:00 p.m.
Sunday: Cole Pitts, RHP (6-4, 4.50 in 2012) vs. J.T. Brubaker, RHP (collegiate debut), 1:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech opens its 116th season and the 20th in the Danny Hall Era with a weekend series against the University of Akron of the Mid-American Conference. This series will be the first time the schools have ever met. Former Yellow Jackets All-American and two-time All-Star and current New York Yankees star Mark Teixeira will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Friday afternoon’s opener.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 38-26 season (12-18, fourth in the ACC), the 18th time in Hall’s 19 seasons at Tech in which the Jackets won at least 35 games (the one season they didn’t, 2007, they won 32). Tech won its eighth ACC Championship and earned the program’s 28th trip to an NCAA Tournament Regional all time — the 26th in 28 years. Tech opens the season ranked in the preseason top 25 for the 20th time in the Hall Era, and is ranked in all four major polls (NCBWA, Baseball America, ESPN/USA Today Coaches and Collegiate Baseball). The Jackets return 23 players, including 10 starters, from last year’s team, including Opening Day starter Buck Farmer, leftfielder Brandon Thomas and centerfielder Kyle Wren, who chose to come back to Tech despite being selected in Major League Baseball’s June Draft. Farmer and Thomas were All-ACC First-Team last season. All-ACC Second-Teamer Daniel Palka also returns.
The Zips will be making their first appearance at Russ Chandler Stadium but bring a familiar face with them, as Head Coach Rick Rembielak was a volunteer assistant coach for Coach Hall during the 2010-11 season. Rembielak is in his second season with Akron. Last season his team went 17-18 (10-17, fifth in the MAC). They bring back some experience, with eight starters, including seven position players, and welcome back their Opening Day starter, Jon Pusateri, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, which cost him all but two starts last season.
Tech fans also can see all of this weekend’s action via webcast on Ramblinwreck.com and can catch the broadcast on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta, with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers calling the action. Live stats are available on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.
Let’s play ball!
For Openers: Danny Hall’s teams like to get off on the right foot. The Yellow Jackets are 14-5 record in 19 season-openers (a 73.7 win percentage). Tech is 7-1 in home season-openers and is riding a four-game winning streak. During the streak, the Jacket have outscored the opposition, 33-3, and have won three of the four games by shutout. In fact, they had a streak of 31 straight scoreless innings, which was broken up in the fourth inning of the 2011 opener. Today’s game will be the third straight season Tech has opened against a MAC team, having opened the previous two seasons against Kent State. Tech split with the Golden Flashes, winning 6-3 in 2011 at The Rusty C but losing 5-0 last year at the Rock Hill Coca Cola Classic in Rock Hill South Carolina.
Captains Clutch: When it comes to leading by example, you can’t ask for better role models than Georgia Tech’s co-captains for the 2013, Buck Farmer and Sam Dove, the captains for last season’s team. Farmer, the team’s Friday night starter, brings a 24-8 career record and a 3.27 ERA into his senior season. He’s an NCBWA and Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American, and is coming off a 2012 season in which he went 8-4 with a 3.54 ERA in 16 starts. Over his last 10 starts, Farmer went 4-2, with a 2.69 ERA (21 earned runs in 70 1/3 innings). He didn’t pitch fewer than six innings and gave up two or fewer runs in six of those outings. Against ACC ranked teams, he’s 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA. Dove had the team’s longest hitting streak last season (17 games), was third in multi-hit games (36, including a team-high 10 three-hit games), and was 12-for-13 in stolen base attempts. As important was his contribution defensively, as he helped stabilize the infield once moving to third base on March 31st. The Jackets turned 32 double plays over its final 34 games and played nine clean games and 16 games with one-error. They had 16 multi-error games in their first 30.
Pitching In: Georgia Tech’s brings one of the top pitching staffs in the nation into 2013. With Farmer, Dusty Isaacs and Cole Pitts, the Jackets’ weekend pitchers accounted for a 20-12 record last season, with an ERA of 4.63. The 20 wins tied for fourth in the nation among weekend starting staffs and made them the third team in the top five from the ACC — Florida State was first with 25 and North Carolina was tied for second with 22. The Jackets visit Tallahassee to battle the Seminoles March 22-24 and host the Tar Heels May 10-12. By the way, Louisville, which tied Carolina, is moving to the ACC beginning in 2014.
TECH-nicalities: The last Georgia Tech player to hit for the cycle was Richard Lewis, who did it on Feb. 17, 2001. The Tech second baseman went 5-for-7, with two singles, a double, a triple and a three-run homer against Georgia Southern at J.J. Clements Stadium in Statesboro as Tech cruised 23-3. BTW: Teixeira, was at third base for Tech that day (he went 2-for-6, with three runs scored and two RBIs).
Must-See TV: Georgia Tech is a great watch and fans will get to see plenty of them on TV this season, as the Yellow Jackets be on TV at least 30 times. That’s up from 23 last season. Fans will be able to watch Tech on ESPN3 22 times, on CSS seven times, and one will be on RSN. Other games may be added. In addition, April 23rd’s Kauffman Tire Spring Classic for Kids against Georgia at Turner Field will be seen on Fox Sports South/SportsSouth, and the May 7th game at Ohio State can be seen on the Big Ten Network. The 30 games are more than any other team in the ACC. All home games not otherwise scheduled to be televised can be streamed live at RamblinWreck.com.
On Deck: Georgia Tech has a busy week, hosting crosstown rival Georgia State on Tuesday (first pitch is at 4:00 p.m.) then concluding its seven-game season-opening homestand with a weekend set against St. John’s. Akron continues its 16-game road trip to open the season, visiting Louisville for a weekend series.