April 25, 2013
Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –
Friday, Game One: Buck Farmer, RHP (7-2, 2.22) vs. Daniel Gossett, RHP (6-2, 2.56), 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Game Two: Dusty Isaacs, RHP (4-4, 4.31) vs. Matthew Crownover, LHP (5-1, 2.28), 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: Cole Pitts, RHP (5-3, 3.91) vs. Clate Schmidt, RHP (3-2, 4.53), 6:30 p.m.
Having lost four straight games, and looking to regain a little swagger, No. 19 Georgia Tech heads to Clemson to take on the 13th-ranked Tigers.
The Yellow Jackets’ skid reached a season-high four games on Tuesday night at Turner Field, as they absorbed a 17-0 loss to Georgia in the Kauffman Tires Spring Baseball Classic for Kids. The Jackets managed only five singles in the game, with left fielder Kyle Wren getting two of them to extend his hitting streak to nine straight games. Midweek starter Jonathan King took the loss, as Georgia Tech used eight different relievers, allowing 17 runs and 23 hits, both season-highs.
The Tigers are looking to conclude a splendid April, which has seen them go 6-0 at home and 12-2 overall. Clemson, which lost its last series at Miami, beat up on Western Carolina it’s last time out, beating the Catamounts, 12-1, Wednesday evening. CU pounded out a season-high 17 hits, blowing open a 1-0 game with four runs in the third and four more in the fourth. Catcher Garrett Boulware led the way, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. He keyed both rallies, with a pair of two-run singles.
This weekend renews a bitter rivalry that dates back to 1902 and is separated by a mere three games — Clemson leads the all-time series, 105-102-3. The Yellow Jackets have had a particularly tough time in South Carolina. They trail 21-45-1 all-time, they’ve lost seven of the last eight road series and haven’t won at Doug Kingsmore Stadium since 2005. Under Danny Hall, Tech is 33-40 against the Tigers, 7-19 in Clemson, having won one series, in 2005. The Jackets have dropped four of the last six regular-season games against the Tigers.
Due to impending bad weather, the teams will play a double-header on Friday then a night game Saturday.
Jackets fans can watch the Friday’s first game and Saturday’s series finale on ClemsonTigers.com, with Friday’s nightcap being shown on CSS and ESPN3, with Matt Styewart and Rod Delmonico on the call. Fans can catch every pitch on WREK 91.1 FM in Atlanta, with Nolan Alexander and Wade Rogers on the call. Live stats are available on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.
Let’s play ball!
Last Time We Met: The third straight meeting in the ACC Tournament proved the charm for Georgia Tech, as the Yellow Jackets knocked off the Tigers, 5-1, in the Semifinals. Jake Davies proved too much for Clemson, as he blasted a two-run first-inning homer then limited the Tigers to two hits over six innings. Zane Evans went 3-for-4, with two doubles and an RBI, Daniel Spingola and Thomas Smith and Daniel Palka also had RBIs. Alex Cruz took over for Davies in the seventh and threw three shutout innings, allowing only three singles, to earn the save, his second three-inning save of the Tournament.
Hexbreaker: Georgia Tech will put the ball in the hands of the right pitcher in Game One to try and end its four-game losing streak in Buck Farmer. Farmer, nominated for 2013 Pitcher of the Year, will take the mound with a 7-1 record (two no-decisions) in 10 career starts following a Georgia Tech loss. The Yellow Jackets are 8-2 in those games. Farmer has pitched to a 4.62 ERA in those games, allowing 32 earned runs in 62 1/3 innings, striking out a batter an inning (62), while walking 24. The ERA is a little misleading, however, as 11 of the runs Tech’s ace allowed came in one start, on March 23, 2012 at Boston College, when Farmer took the loss going only 4 1/3 innings. Take away that one bad outing and he’s pitched to a much more Buck Farmer-like 3.26 ERA (21 ER in 58 IP). Thus far in 2013, Farmer is 2-0 following a Jackets loss, beating Boston College, allowing five earned runs in six innings on March 15, then, shutting out Florida State in Tallahassee, allowing two hits over seven the ensuing Friday. He’s whiffed 14, while walking five.
Unlucky 13: Georgia Tech has lost 19 times at Kingsmore Stadium in the Danny Hall era, but 13 of those games have been decided by three runs or less. In fact, in each of the nine series in which Hall’s Jackets have visited Clemson, there has been at least one game decided by three-or-fewer runs and seven of the last nine games have been that close,with Tech going 2-5 in those games
Moving Up the Charts: It seems like everything Georgia Tech center fielder Brandon Thomas does these days is momentous. There are several milestones that are well within his reach this weekend. Thomas’ next double will be the 45th of his career and moves him into the top 25 all-time in school history, creating a five-way tie for 23rd. He’s two doubles behind teammate Daniel Palka, who is 19th. Thomas’ next triple puts him into another five-way tie, this one for seventh, and will put him five behind teammate Kyle Wren, who is third all-time with 17 (Wren is two out of second and five away from tying for the all-time school lead). Thomas’ next stolen base will move him into the top 20 all-time and into a three-way tie for 19th. Thomas, who begins this weekend hitting .395, second in the ACC to Wren, was named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award.
Last Trip Home: Palka hopes to make his final trip to Clemson a memorable one. The Jackets’ first baseman, a Lyman, S.C., native, certainly hopes to leave a better last impression than he made a first one. His freshman year, the Greer High School product, who originally committed to Clemson before reconsidering and coming to Georgia Tech, went hitless in 10 trips to the plate, striking out three times in his return home. Palka made up for that last year, going 6-for-14 in a three-game set at the Rusty C, including going 3-for-6 in the opener, hitting a big two-run double in a three-run, ninth-inning, game-tying rally, then launching a majestic home run leading off the 13th for his first career walk-off home run. He’d add another hit and a RBI in the ACC Tournament victory over Clemson.
Tech-nicalities: Georgia Tech Head Coach Danny Hall and Clemson’s Head Coach Jack Leggett both are in their 20th season at their respective schools, and are separated by 31 wins in that span — Leggett is 875-417-1, Hall 844-389-1.
On Deck: Georgia Tech kicks off May with an out-of-conference weekend series against Coastal Carolina. Clemson stays home and in conference, hosting Maryland in an Atlantic Division matchup.