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Tech Baseball Hosts Florida Atlantic With College World Series Trip on the Line

June 4, 2002

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ATLANTA–Georgia Tech, the nation’s seventh-ranked team according to Collegiate Baseball, won a NCAA Regional for the third time in school history last weekend when the Yellow Jackets swept through the NCAA Atlanta Regional with a perfect 3-0 record. The Yellow Jackets, who also advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2000, are making a Super Regional appearance for the second time in the last three years.

Overall, the Yellow Jackets are playing in a NCAA Regional for the 17th time in the last 18 years. Tech was invited to the NCAA Tournament for 14 straight years from 1985 through 1998 before being left out of the field of 64 in 1999. Tech has rebounded with three straight appearances since that absence.

The Yellow Jackets made their first and only appearance in the College World Series in 1994, advancing to the National Championship game before losing to Oklahoma, 13-5. That team was led by current Major League stars Jason Varitek and Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox and Jay Payton of the New York Mets.

In 19 total NCAA appearances, the Yellow Jackets have posted an overall 40-36 record. Tech’s NCAA Tournament record under head coach Danny Hall is 21-14, including a 18-13 mark in regional tournaments.

TECH VS. THE NCAA FIELD

Georgia Tech posted an 18-12 record against the entire NCAA Tournament field during the regular season, including a 4-8 mark against teams that advanced to the Super Regionals.

Georgia Tech vs. Florida Atlantic: Georgia Tech and Florida Atlantic will be meeting for the first time this weekend in the NCAA Atlanta Super Regional.

SHORT HOPS

* Through 63 games, head coach Danny Hall has used 55 different starting lineups.

* Tech is currently third in the ACC in team ERA (4.04), less than two tenths of a run behind leader Florida State (3.89). The Yellow Jackets have never led the conference in that category since joining the ACC for the 1980 season.

* Tech is 34-4 at the new Russ Chandler Stadium in 2002, outscoring its opponents 330-164.

* Tech’s 14-1 mark to start the season was its best since opening the 1997 season with a 15-1 record. The school record for most wins with only one loss came in 1992 when the Yellow Jackets opened 24-1.

* After posting a 3-7 record in one-run games in 2001, Tech is 10-3 in games decided by one run and 21-5 in games decided by three runs or less in 2002.

* The Yellow Jackets are a perfect 5-0 in extra inning games this season and have won 10 straight extra inning games dating back to 1997.

* New pitching coach Bobby Moranda has stressed the importance of throwing strikes. Those efforts have been displayed this season where Tech pitchers have walked 156 batters in 561.2 innings (2.5 per 9 IP).

* Four freshmen – Eric Patterson (2B), Brandon Boggs (CF), Clifton Remole (1B), and Jeremy Slayden (DH) – were in the starting lineup on opening day. Additionally, Mike Nickeas (C, 1B, 3B), Jake Hall (3B), and Garrett Groce (OF) have all started at least one game in 2002, raising the total number of freshmen who have started to seven. A total of 15 freshmen have seen game action this season.

ON THE HILL . . .

*As a staff, Georgia Tech’s starting pitchers are a collective 36-7 with a 3.50 ERA in 63 games this season, while walking just 1.8 batters per nine innings. Tech starting pitchers are holding opponents to a .264 batting average.

* Sophomore southpaw Kyle Bakker (11-2, 3.38 ERA) will start the first game of the NCAA Atlanta Super Regional on Friday night, making his 18th start of the season and looking for his 12th win of the year.

* In 22 career starts, Bakker is 15-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 151.2 IP (54 ER).

* This season at Russ Chandler Stadium, Bakker is 7-1 in ten starts. In 13 career starts at home, Bakker is 10-1 with a 2.88 ERA (29 ER in 90.2 IP).

* Bakker went 9-0 in his first 10 starts of the season before going just 1-2 in his final five starts of the regular season. The big southpaw, who stands as the tallest player in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 6-9, rebounded with a complete-game, three-hit shutout of Coastal Carolina last Friday in the NCAA Atlanta Regional.

* Georgia Tech’s pitching rotation for the remainder of the NCAA Atlanta Super Regional is TBA.

PATTERSON AND BAKKER EARN ALL-AMERICA HONORS

Freshman second baseman Eric Patterson and sophomore starting pitcher Kyle Bakker were both named as third-team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball magazine. Patterson and Bakker become Georgia Tech’s first All-America selections since the 2000 season when Mark Teixeira, Richard Lewis and Cory Vance were named to various All-America teams. Patterson and Bakker are the 32nd and 33rd All-America selections in Tech history.

BOGGS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA

Third baseman Matthew Boggs has been named to the Verizon Academic All-America University Division second team. The senior from Dalton, Ga., maintains a 3.31 grade point average while majoring in Textile and Fiber Engineering. He earned his bachelor’s degree in December, 2001 and is playing his final season while enrolled in graduate school. He is a three-time Verizon Academic All-District selection but made the Academic All-America team for the first time in his career.

Boggs is Tech’s third Verizon Academic All-America of the year, joining first-team selections Dan Dyke (football) and Kyleen Bell (volleyball). He is also one of a school-record nine Verizon Academic All-District honorees in 2001-02.

MENOCAL NAMED MVP OF NCAA ATLANTA REGIONAL

Senior shortstop Victor Menocal was named the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Atlanta Regional after leading the Yellow Jackets to a perfect 3-0 record and the regional championship. Menocal was Tech’s second leading hitter (4-for-12) in the regional with two doubles and a home run while making a number of sparkling defensive plays without committing an error. Also named the All-Regional team were pitcher Kyle Bakker, who tossed a three-hit shutout against Coastal Carolina, pitcher Chris Goodman, who held Georgia scoreless for 6.1 innings, and outfielder Jeremy Slayden, who led Tech with a .375 average and scored five runs.

PATTERSON LEADS FIVE ALL-ACC SELECTIONS

Freshman second baseman Eric Patterson, a first-team selection, led a group of five Georgia Tech players selected to the 2002 All-Atlantic Coast Conference baseball team as selected by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. Patterson becomes only the second Yellow Jacket in school history to be named to the first team as a freshman (Mark Teixeira in 1999 was the other). Junior catcher Tyler Parker, junior relief pitcher Jeff Watchko, sophomore starting pitcher Kyle Bakker and sophomore outfielder Matt Murton were selected to the All-ACC second team.

RYNDERS EARNS ALL-ACC TOURNAMENT HONORS

Senior center fielder Wes Rynders, a part time starter during the regular season, was Tech’s everyday center fielder during the 2002 ACC Baseball Tournament last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he made the most of his opportunity. Rynders was Tech’s lone selection to the all-tournament team after batting .636 (7-for-11) with three walks (.733 on base percentage) and two RBI. He did not strike out in 15 plate appearances and made a number of outstanding catches while patrolling the large center field.

FIVE PLAYERS SELECTED ON DAY ONE OF MLB DRAFT

Five Georgia Tech players were selected on the first day of the 2002 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. First baseman/outfielder Jason Perry was a sixth-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays, catcher Tyler Parker was selected in the eighth round by the St. Louis Cardinals, shortstop Victor Menocal went in the 15th round to the Philadelphia Phillies, pitcher Chris Goodman was taken in the 16th round by the Florida Marlins, and pitcher Jeff Watchko went in the 18th round to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year, a Tech record nine players were selected in the Major League draft and 10 players signed professional contracts.

LOOKING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN IN NCAA PLAY

Georgia Tech enters the NCAA Atlanta Super Regional having won three straight games in NCAA tournament play, and the Yellow Jackets are looking for their fourth straight win on Friday night in the series opener against Florida Atlantic. The only time in school history that Tech has won four straight games in NCAA play occurred in 1994. The Yellow Jackets won the championship game of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Wichita, Kan., against Washington and then won three straight games in the College World Series against Cal State Fullerton, Florida State and Fullerton again. Tech has never won five straight games in NCAA play.

STARTING PITCHING SHINES IN NCAA ATLANTA REGIONAL

The Georgia Tech starting rotation of southpaw Kyle Bakker and righties Chris Goodman and Brian Burks were simply dominant during the NCAA Atlanta Regional. The trio worked 22.1 innings and allowed just one earned run (0.40 ERA) to Coastal Carolina and Georgia. Bakker, Goodman and Burks combined to hold opponents to a .167 batting average.

FOUR TECH PLAYERS REACH DOUBLE FIGURE HOME RUNS

Four Georgia Tech players – right fielder Jeremy Slayden (17 home runs), first baseman Jason Perry (11 HR), catcher Tyler Parker (10 HR) and left fielder Matt Murton (10 HR) – have all reached double figures in home runs this season. The last time four Yellow Jackets topped 10 homers in the same season came in 1998 when Tech hit 108 home runs as a team and Eric McQueen (15), Heath Honeycutt (14), Scott Prather (12), Ryan Brooks (12), Stephen Donaghey (11), Jay Hood (10) and Derik Goffena (10) all reached double figure home runs. Following the 1998 season, the NCAA imposed new rules on bat specifications to limit offense and increase safety in college baseball. The 2002 season marked the first time that Tech has had four players reach 10 home runs under those new rules.

SLAYDEN SETS TECH FRESHMAN HOME RUN MARK

Right fielder Jeremy Slayden hit his team-leading 17th home run against North Carolina last week in the ACC Tournament, establishing a new school record for home runs by a freshman. Third baseman Frank Bolick held the record previously after belting 16 home runs in 67 games in 1986.

GEORGIA TECH FRESHMAN HOME RUN LEADERS1.      Jeremy Slayden     17      20022.      Frank Bolick    16      19863.      J.J. Thomas     13      1997        Mark Teixeira   13      19995.      K.G. White      12      1985

VERSUS THE STATE OF GEORGIA

Georgia Tech owns an 13-1 mark against its in-state rivals this season. Tech’s lone loss came at Georgia on Mar. 26. The Yellow Jackets are 4-0 against Georgia Southern, 2-0 against both Mercer and Georgia State, and 5-1 against Georgia.

SCHEDULE ODDITIES

Due to an unusual conference schedule in 2002, Georgia Tech played its final ACC road series the weekend of Apr. 19 at Florida State. The Yellow Jackets began the season with four of their first five league series on the road. Tech wrapped up the regular season with three straight ACC home series against Virginia, Clemson and North Carolina, in addition to a non-conference home series with Miami.

MORE ON BAKKER

Kyle Bakker posted a 9-0 record in his first 10 starts in 2002 before suffering his first loss at Florida State despite a complete-game effort (Tech lost 4-3). Listed below are the best records by a Tech pitcher to start a season:

Best Record By Georgia Tech Pitchers to Start a Season        Player  Year    Record  Finished1.      Scott Erwin     1988    13-0    13-02.      Brad Rigby      1993    11-0    13-13.      L.J. Yankosky   1998    10-0    11-14.      Mike Schisler   1973    9-0     9-0        Kris Wilson     1997    9-0     12-2        Kyle Bakker   2002    9-0

SECOND LONGEST HOME WIN STREAK

Georgia Tech had its 27-game home winning streak snapped on Apr. 26 against Virginia in what was the second longest such streak in school history. The Yellow Jackets won their first 22 games in the new Russ Chandler Stadium this season and did not lose at home from April 28, 2001 through April 26, 2002.

Listed below are Tech’s best home winning streaks:

GEORGIA TECH HOME WIN STREAKS1.      29 games        1989-902.      27 games        2001-20023.      23 games        1990-914.      21 games        1992

TECH EYES SCHOOL RECORD FOR WINS

Georgia Tech owns a 49-14 record entering the 2002 NCAA Atlanta Super Regional, the fourth highest win total in school history. The Yellow Jackets won 51 games in 1987, and reached 50 victories in both 1994 and 2000.

Tech’s .778 winning percentage currently ranks as the third best in school history behind the 1971 team that went 31-6 (.838) under coach Jim Luck and the 1987 team that went 51-14 (.785) under Jim Morris.

Listed below are Tech’s highest win totals in a single season:

   MOST GEORGIA TECH WINS IN A SEASON        Record  Year1.      51-14   19872.      50-17   1994        50-16   20004.      49-14   2002

BAKKER, MURTON & PATTERSON INVITED TO TEAM USA TRIALS

Georgia Tech pitcher Kyle Bakker, outfielder Matt Murton and second baseman Eric Patterson were among 19 collegiate players invited to participate in the 2002 USA Baseball National Team Trials to be held in Tucson, Ariz., June 18-23. The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of approximately 35-40 players, of which an additional 16-21 have yet to be determined. Louisville’s Lelo Prado will serve as the head coach for Team USA. He will be assisted by Terry Alexander of Jacksonville, Sunny Golloway of Oral Roberts, and Terry Rupp of Maryland. The official team roster will be determined and announced on June 24.

SPEED ON THE BASES

With the loss of many of the top power hitters from last year’s team, Georgia Tech has relied more on speed this season. The Yellow Jackets were a perfect 11-for-11 in the stolen base department in the first two games of the season at Georgia Southern and was a perfect 9-for-9 last week at the ACC Tournament. Tech now stands at 125-for-161 (77.6%) for the season. Tech stole just 68 bases during the entire 2002 season.

The Yellow Jackets are stealing an average of nearly two bases per game this spring. The Tech record for stolen bases per game is 2.21, which was established in 1987 when the Jackets stole a school-record 144 bases.

Tech has stolen 100 bases as a team for the 10th time in school history. The 125 steals currently ranks as the fourth highest single season total in Tech history. Freshman Eric Patterson leads the team with 37 steals, the fifth-best single season mark in school history.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES

One of the main reasons for Georgia Tech’s early exit from the NCAA Tournament last year was the struggles of the Yellow Jackets in close games. Tech posted just a 3-7 mark in one-run games and a 10-12 record in games decided by three runs or less during the 2001 season. This year, Tech is 10-3 in one-run games and 21-5 in games decided by three runs or less. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 in extra inning games this season.

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