May 12, 2008
ATLANTA – No. 25 Georgia Tech (36-15) puts its unblemished record against in-state opponents on the line Tuesday when it squares off against No. 8 Georgia (33-17-1) at 7 p.m. at Turner Field in the final non-conference game of the regular season for both schools. The Yellow Jackets have gone 11-0 against schools from Georgia in 2008 while posting a sterling 22-2 record versus non-conference foes.
Tickets are $10 for the event, and can be purchased at Turner Field or by visiting Ticketmaster. All tickets are general admission, with proceeds to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Game Coverage: The game will be aired by FSN South, with Wes Durham and Larry Conley calling the action. 790 the Zone will also provide a radio broadcast, while live stats for all Tech baseball games can be found at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech is coming off a week in which it went 3-1 against its biggest rivals, including a 2-1 series win over Clemson to close out the Yellow Jackets’ home schedule. After falling to the Yellow Jackets by 10 runs in Athens, Georgia won two of three at Vanderbilt over the weekend to claim the 2008 SEC Title.
Tech’s pitching staff was stellar through the first three games last week, yielding just one run in each of the three contests while giving up a total of 19 hits behind stellar performances by Deck McGuire (7 IP-4H-1R-9K), David Duncan (8.0 IP-6H-R-5K) and Eddie Burns (8.0 IP-7H-1R-3K).
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Georgia)
Tuesday: RHP Deck McGuire (8-0, 3.41) vs. RHP Nick Montgomery (1-1, 5.08)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.381, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 19 SB), freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.353-3-22-21), junior DH Luke Murton (.352-10-41-3) and freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.330-14-58-3). Sophomore 1B Tony Plagman and senior 3B Brad Feltes have also been big offensive threats, with 15 and 14 home runs, respectively.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have gone 9-3 in their last 12 games with excellent hitting (.345 batting average with 32 home runs and 26 doubles) and solid performances from its starting pitchers. The Jackets have been led by a pair of outfielders, as redshirt junior right fielder Charlie Blackmon is batting a team-best .464 with four home runs, five doubles and seven stolen bases while freshman center fielder Jeff Rowland has hit .414 with a pair of doubles, one home run and nine stolen bases over the last 15 games. The Yellow Jackets have won three-straight weekend series, including taking two of three against 15th-ranked Coastal Carolina nearly two weeks ago and two more against Clemson the last time out. They have also hit an ACC-best 85 home runs while the Tech pitching staff has limited opponents to a .272 average and given up just 46 home runs in 2008. For the year, closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best eight saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have combined for 36 scoreless appearances in relief.
Georgia – After falling to the Yellow Jackets by an 11-1 score in Athens Wednesday, the Bulldogs responded by defeating Vanderbilt in two of three games in Nashville over the weekend to capture the 2008 SEC Title. Georgia has gone 4-3 in its last seven games, winning each of its last two weekend series. The Bulldogs have one of the top players in the country on their team in shortstop Gordon Beckham (.402-22-55-16) while four other players are batting over .300 for Georgia in 2008. The weekend starting rotation has combined for 15 of the Bulldogs’ 33 wins this season, while Alex McRee leads all other Georgia pitchers with a 5-1 record. Joshua Fields has been the stopper for the Bulldogs in 2008, posting a 1-1 record with 15 saves and a 0.68 ERA in 26.1 innings of work.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Georgia leads, 192-149-2)
The Bulldogs hold a 192-149-2 lead over the Yellow Jackets in a series that dates to the 1898 season. Georgia Tech has played the University of Georgia more than any other opponent in baseball history, and the two teams will be meeting for the 344th time in history Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets have already won the season series against the Bulldogs with 9-4 and 11-1 wins over Georgia earlier this season, and are going for the series sweep Tuesday afternoon. The 10-run win last week in Athens gave Georgia Tech its first series win over Georgia since the 2002 season. The last time the Yellow Jackets went 3-0 against the Bulldogs was during the 1994 season.
Tech has defeated Georgia three times in the same season on five occasions under Danny Hall, with the last coming in 2002. The Jackets have beaten the Bulldogs three times in the same season just 19 times in history.
Last week, freshman Deck McGuire became the first Tech hurler since 1995 to record two wins against Georgia, and the first starting pitcher since the 1992 season to do so. Matt Saier picked up two wins in relief against the Bulldogs in 1995.
Each team holds the upper-hand on their home field, as Georgia Tech is 86-68-1 against the Bulldogs in games played on the Jackets’ home field, and just 51-109 in games played in Athens. Georgia holds the edge in games played at Turner Field though, as it is 4-1 against the Jackets at the home of the Atlanta Braves, with Tech’s lone win coming in 2004. Georgia has won the last three games at Turner Field.
Tech and Georgia have squared off 54 times since the arrival of head coach Danny Hall in 1994, with the Yellow Jackets holding the 31-23 edge in the series under the Tech skipper.
22-2 Out of Conference
While the Jackets have gone 14-13 through the first 27 conference games of the season, they have been impressive against out-of-conference foes, posting a sterling 22-2 non-conference record in 2008.
The Yellow Jackets are batting .327 against non-conference opponents, led by the hot-hitting Luke Murton, who has blistered non-conference foes for a .398 average, seven home runs and 10 doubles in 22 games. Four other Yellow Jackets are also batting above .350 against non-ACC teams.
Tech’s pitching staff has also performed well out-of-conference, posting a 3.49 ERA while opponents are hitting just .244 against them. Deck McGuire has been the primary reason for Tech’s non-conference success, as the rookie has gone 8-0 with 52 K and a 3.53 ERA in 58.2 non-conference innings pitched. Those opponents are hitting just .224 against him.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 5-6 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2007 but has won 11 games against Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, Georgia State, Mercer and Georgia to start 11-0 against state of Georgia opponents this season. Tech has just one game remaining on its schedule against a Georgia team this season, this Tuesday against the Bulldogs at Turner Field
Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own an 88-26 (.772) record against its in-state foes. In 15 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 131-43 (.753) against teams from Georgia.
In 2008, Tech is hitting .347 with 55 extra base hits (28 of which are home runs) against teams from the state of Georgia, led by Luke Murton (.514, 7 HR, 18 RBI, 1 SB), Charlie Blackmon (.444-3-9-5) and Thomas Nichols (.405-3-12-0). The Jackets’ pitching staff has posted a 3.51 ERA against instate foes, while opponents are managing just a .254 batting average against them.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the week ranked No. 8 in the nation in the most updated RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA releases its RPI just once a week – Tech’s latest ranking in that poll was No. 9 when it was released Sunday, May 3).
The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the most updated RPI, with five teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation. North Carolina leads all conference teams, standing at No. 1 in the RPI, while Miami (2), Florida State (3), Georgia Tech and NC State (15) join the Tar Heels in the top-25.
Two of the Yellow Jackets’ 2008 non-conference opponents also appear in the top-25 of the RPI – Coastal Carolina (9) and Georgia (10).
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 15 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with eight of those contests coming on the road.
In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech is ranked No. 26 while Georgia’s schedule stands at No. 21 in the latest rankings.