May 14, 2008
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech (36-16, 14-13 ACC) wraps up the regular season on the road this week when it faces Virginia (35-17, 14-13 ACC) in a key Atlantic Coast Conference series in Charlottesville, Va. The Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers open the series at 6 p.m. Thursday and will meet Friday at 6 p.m. before concluding with a 1 p.m. game Saturday. Tech is returning to UVa for the second-straight season and split the first two games of the series with the Cavaliers a year ago before the finale was cancelled due to weather.
Tech suffered its first loss to a team from the state of Georgia this week, falling to No. 7 Georgia Tuesday at Turner Field, 3-2. Virginia squeaked past VMI the same night night in an 11-inning contest, 6-5.
Despite a 16-run game by Clemson in the series finale a week ago, Tech’s pitching staff has been stellar over its last five games, yielding just one run in each of the Jackets’ first three contests a week ago and just three runs to the Bulldogs Tuesday evening.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Virginia)
Thursday: LHP David Duncan (7-2, 3.87) vs. LHP Matt Packer (5-2, 1.13)
Friday: RHP Eddie Burns (6-4, 5.20) vs. LHP Pat McAnaney (4-3, 2.52)
Saturday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (6-4, 3.92) vs. RHP Jacob Thompson (5-3, 4.21)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.383, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 20 SB), freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.349-3-22-21), junior DH Luke Murton (.345-10-41-3) and freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.328-14-59-3). Sophomore 1B Tony Plagman and senior 3B Brad Feltes have also been big offensive threats, with 15 and 14 home runs, respectively.
Game Coverage: The entire series can be seen on ACC Select, while WREK Radio will provide a radio broadcast. Live stats for all Tech baseball games can be found at Ramblinwreck.com.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have gone 9-4 in their last 13 games behind excellent hitting (.333 batting average with 32 home runs and 27 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 .465 with four home runs, five doubles and eight stolen bases since moving to the leadoff role in the lineup against Georgia Southern (16 games) while freshman center fielder Jeff Rowland has hit .400 with a pair of doubles, one home run and nine stolen bases over the last 16 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 last weekend. They have also hit an ACC-best 85 home runs while the Tech pitching staff has limited opponents to a .272 average 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 38 scoreless appearances in relief.
Virginia – Virginia has won two-straight since dropping a pair to open the three-game series against North Carolina a week ago. Virginia is currently tied with Georgia Tech in a tie for third place in the Coastal Division standings, and a tie for fifth overall in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers avoided the sweep to the Tar Heels by picking up a 5-4, six-inning win Sunday and went 11 innings against VMI Tuesday, pulling out a 6-5 victory. Dan Grovatt is leading the team with a .333 batting average, and Jeremy Farrell is pacing the Cavaliers with nine home runs in 2008. Virginia has pounded out 99 doubles and 18 triples on the season. The pitching staff has been the Cavs’ strength this season, as the trio of Pat McAnaney, Andrew Carraway and Jacob Thompson have combined for 12 wins on the season.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Tech leads, 60-36-1)
Georgia Tech holds a 60-36-1 lead over the Cavaliers in a series that dates to the 1924 season.
The two teams earned a split in the regular-season series a year ago, with Georgia Tech pulling out a 2-1, 11-inning win over the Cavaliers in the opener on a suicide squeeze bunt by then-freshman Jeff Ussery before Virginia picked up a 7-6 victory over the Yellow Jackets in the second game of the three-game series by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The series finale was cancelled due to weather, but Virginia took the one and only postseason game between the two teams in a 4-1 win at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville during the ACC Tournament.
Georgia Tech is 27-16 all-time against Virginia under head coach Danny Hall, and holds a narrow 21-20 edge in games played on the Cavaliers’ home field.
Streaking in the ACC
Georgia Tech has enjoyed unprecedented success within the Atlantic Coast Conference since 2004, winning the ACC regular season title in 2004 with an 18-5 league record and again in 2005 with a 22-8 mark. Tech had a conference-record 25-game ACC win streak in 2004-05.
The Yellow Jackets are 88-52 (.629) in their last 140 ACC regular season games.
The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 31 of its last 47 weekend series, including five this season. Tech has won 51 of its last 72 ACC home games and 37 of its last 67 ACC road games.