April 8, 2004
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech (18-13, 2-4 ACC) hosts No. 8 North Carolina (24-6, 7-2) for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend at Russ Chandler Stadium. The series begins on Friday at 7 p.m., and continues on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Tech has won nine of its last 13 games, including a 25-3 win over Georgia State on Tuesday night. North Carolina enters the weekend on a five-game winning streak, and the Tar Heels have won 20 of their last 23 games.
Following the series against North Carolina, Georgia Tech will host rival Georgia on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
GAME COVERAGE: Live statistics will be available on the internet at www.ramblinwreck.com. The games on Friday and Saturday will be televised by Fox Sports Net South. Radio coverage for the entire series can be found on WREK-Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta) and on the internet at www.wrek.org.
LEADING OFF … NEWS & NOTES ON THE YELLOW JACKETS
WEB GEMS: The Yellow Jackets are fielding .971 as a team in 2004, committing 35 errors in 31 games. Tech’s best fielding percentage since records were kept in the 1950’s is .968, which was accomplished by the 1994 team that played for the national championship and featured Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek and Jay Payton. The Yellow Jackets have committed one error or less in 20 of 31 games, including 13 errorless games. In six conference games, Tech is fielding .982 (four errors in six games).
THE LINEUP CARD: Head coach Danny Hall has used 27 different starting lineups in 31 games this season.
IN THE BULLPEN: Tech has used 15 different pitchers this season, including 13 pitchers who have made at least seven appearances. All 15 pitchers have made at least five appearances, and seven different pitchers have started at least one game.
HOT OF LATE: The Jackets have gone 9-4 in the last 13 games and are hitting .383 as a team during that span. Georgia Tech has averaged 15.3 hits and 12.3 runs per game while hitting 20 home runs and stealing 24 bases in those games.
Five Yellow Jackets are hitting at least .390 in the span, led by sophomore Micah Owings (.467 avg., 1.000 slg%, 9 HR, 30 RBI). Second baseman Eric Patterson (.433), right fielder Clifton Remole (.436), center fielder Brandon Boggs (.404) and left fielder Steven Blackwood (.396) are all hitting over .390 in the last 13 games.
GEORGIA TECH VS. NORTH CAROLINA
**** Georgia Tech leads North Carolina, 52-43, in a series that dates to 1901. The Yellow Jackets have won 13 of the last 17 meetings dating back to 1999.
**** Tech is 26-20 against North Carolina in games played in Atlanta, including taking two of three during the 2002 regular season. The Yellow Jackets have won five of the last six meetings at Russ Chandler Stadium.
**** Tech went 3-1 against Carolina last year, winning two of three games in Chapel Hill during the regular season and winning a fourth meeting in the ACC Tournament. Tech won the opener 10-6, breaking open a 5-5 game with three runs in the eighth inning, while UNC’s Adam Kalkof no-hit the Yellow Jackets for six innings in a 7-3 win in game two of the series. In the third game, Tech jumped to a 9-1 lead and cruised to a 12-5 win.
**** The fourth meeting of the 2003 season came on the final day of the ACC Tournament. The Yellow Jackets rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win 10-6. The victory over the Tar Heels was Tech’s first of three straight wins on the final day as the Yellow Jackets won the 2003 ACC Championship in dramaitc fashion. Tech went on to post wins over Florida State (10-7) and NC State (6-5, 10 innings) to claim the title.
**** Tech is 23-14 against North Carolina under head coach Danny Hall.
STARTING PITCHER NOTES
Friday: Brian Burks (rhp) 2-2, 3.45 ERA
Senior Brian Burks will get the starting assignment in the series opener against North Carolina on Friday night. A versatile and veteran member of the Tech pitching staff, Burks has made 82 career appearances including 24 starts and 58 relief stints. He began the 2004 season as a member of the weekend rotation after working primarily as a reliever in 2003.
For his career, Burks is 21-11 with 13 saves. He is currently ranked seventh in Tech history in both career saves (13) and appearances (82), and he is ranked third in school history in fewest walks per nine innings (2.36).
In his last start against Miami, Burks earned his first win in six starts after working 6.2 innings and allowing four runs.
Burks has been the unlucky pitcher on the Tech staff in 2004, pitching well against Cal State Fullerton (6.0 IP, 1 ER), Rutgers (5.1 IP, 2 ER), Virginia (8.0 IP, 1 ER) and Georgia Southern (7.0 IP, 0 ER), but failing to earn a win in any of those contests. In his five-game winless streak, Tech averaged just 3.6 runs per game of offensive support. In the games against Rutgers, Virginia and Georgia Southern, Burks left the game with the Yellow Jackets ahead or tied but the bullpen surrendered the lead.
Saturday: Andrew Kown (rhp) 4-1, 3.99 ERA
Junior Andrew Kown will make his eighth start of the season in Tech’s second game against North Carolina on Saturday night.
Kown had a three-week stretch against Virginia, Wake Forest and Georgia Southern where he worked 24 innings and allowed six runs (2.25 ERA) before allowing seven runs on seven hits in five innings against Miami in his most recent start.
For his career, Kown is 7-2 in 12 starts in 2003 and 2004. The right-hander went 3-1 in five starts in 2003, and he is 4-1 in seven starts this spring.
Sunday: Lee Hyde (lhp) 2-1, 4.32 ERA
Freshman Lee Hyde will make his fourth career start in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. Hyde’s first six appearances all came in relief before he made his first career start against Purdue on Mar. 16.
In his first start against the Boilermakers, Hyde worked five innings, holding Purdue to two unearned runs on four hits. He struck out a season high five batters. On Mar. 24, Hyde faced No. 24 Georgia in his second start and worked a season-long 5.1 innings. He retired the first 11 batters that he faced and carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up a pair of infield singles while tying a season high with five strikeouts against the Bulldogs.
Most recently, Hyde worked five innings and allowed two earned runs in a 20-5 win over 13th-ranked Auburn on Mar. 30.