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Tech Baseball Hosts Wake Forest for Weekend ACC Series

April 25, 2008

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech (29-12, 10-11 ACC) concluded its five-game road swing with a 16-9 victory at Mercer Tuesday and returns to Russ Chandler Stadium to host Wake Forest (16-25, 5-13 ACC) for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend. First pitch for Friday’s series opener is 7 p.m., while the Jackets and Demon Deacons will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Jackets are 3-2 in their last five games while Wake Forest is coming off an 8-7 midweek win against No. 18 Coastal Carolina.

For the season, the Jackets are batting an even .300 and averaging just over seven runs per game. The Tech pitching corps is holding opponents to a .268 batting average, as eight different pitchers have earned wins in 2008.

Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Wake Forest)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (4-2, 4.21) vs. LHP Garrett Bullock (3-4, 5.80)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (4-3, 4.78) vs. RHP Charlie Mellies (1-4, 5.82)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (5-2, 3.49) vs. RHP Ben Hunter (1-5, 5.77)

Georgia Tech’s offense is led by junior DH/RF Luke Murton (.387, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 3 SB), redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.376-5-28-17), freshman CF Jeff Rowland (.351-2-16-15), and freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.329-12-45-3). Senior 3B Brad Feltes has also been a big offensive threat, with 10 home runs and a 44 RBI in 2008.

Game Coverage: Friday’s game can be found on SportSouth while Saturday’s will be carried on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network, which includes FSN South, Sun Sports, Comcast SportsNet and NESN. Live video coverage for Sunday’s contest will be available on ACC Select (gatech.playonsports.tv). The first two games of the series can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org), and the series finale can be found on AM-790 the Zone. Live stats for the every Georgia Tech baseball game are available at Ramblinwreck.com.

Game Promotions: Floppy Hats will be given away to Tech fans at Friday night’s game while supplies last. Sunday’s game is now a sell-out, as the Murphey Candler Little League teams, coaches and fans will be taking over the ballpark!

The Teams of Late

Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets had hoped for a better record than 3-2 on their five-game road swing, but look to turn things around this weekend at home. Tech did, however, have one positive to come out of the road trip – the Jackets’ offense exploded for 17 home runs and 19 doubles while batting .372 and averaging 11.4 runs per game against Georgia Southern, Maryland and Mercer. Juniors Luke Murton and Charlie Blackmon have been a main factor in the success of the Yellow Jacket offense of late, as the duo combined to hit .591 with six home runs, nine doubles and 15 RBI on the road trip. Eight different players hit home runs over the last five games, led by Murton’s five. Eleven of his 13 hits also went for extra bases. The Yellow Jackets used extra-base hits to secure a 16-9 win at Mercer in their last game, as Georgia Tech hit eight home runs and added three doubles while pounding out 17 hits against the Bears Tuesday night. Deck McGuire pitched a stellar game, holding Mercer to two runs on four hits while striking out six and walking none through six innings to earn his team-leading seventh victory of the season. 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 29 scoreless appearances in relief.

Wake Forest – The Demon Deacons snuck out of Conway, S.C. with a one-run victory over a nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina team Wednesday night after falling to Elon, 19-10, Tuesday evening. Wake Forest enters the weekend in a tie for seventh place with Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, while Duke (6-13) and Maryland (7-14) lurk behind the Deacs and Tigers. Wake has lost its last five weekend series, but has earned wins against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Florida State over the last four weeks. The Demon Deacons have been led by Allan Dykstra, who is batting .328 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI on the season, while Dustin Hood (.325-1-25-4) and Willy Fox (.314-5-31-10) have also provided an offensive spark for Wake in 2008.

Tech vs. the Opponent (Tech leads, 57-33-1)

Georgia Tech is 57-33-1 against Wake Forest in a series that dates to 1898. The two teams are meeting for the first time since 2005 due to the ACC schedule, while the last series resulted in a sweep by the Jackets in Atlanta. Tech has actually won the last four games against Wake Forest, all coming in 2005, after earning a 9-8 victory over the Demon Deacons in the ACC Tournament en route to capturing the ACC title that season.

Georgia Tech is 35-12 against Wake Forest in games played in Atlanta, and have won six-straight over the Deacs at Russ Chandler Stadium. Tech’s last home loss to Wake Forest came during the 2001 season.

The Yellow Jackets hold a 26-15 record against Wake Forest since the arrival of head coach Danny Hall in 1994.

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 84-50 (.627) in their last 134 ACC regular season games.

The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 29 of its last 45 weekend series, including three this season. Tech has won 47 of its last 66 ACC home games and 37 of its last 67 ACC road games.

Yellow Jackets in the RPI

Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 16 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 was No. 15 when it was released Sunday, April 20).

The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the most updated RPI, with five teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Miami leads all conference teams, standing at No. 1 in the RPI, while Florida State (2), North Carolina (3), NC State (15) and Georgia Tech join the Hurricanes in the top-25.

Two of the Yellow Jackets’ 2008 non-conference opponents also appear in the top-25 of the RPI – Georgia (10) and Coastal Carolina (13).

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.

Wake Forest is currently ranked No. 70 in the latest RPI.

In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech is ranked No. 37 while Wake Forest’s schedule stands at No. 113 in the latest rankings.

Guess the Lineup

Georgia Tech head coach Danny Hall is known for mixing up his lineup, and 2008 has been no different. The Jackets had the same batting order in each of the first two games, but the Yellow Jacket skipper mixed it up for the series finale against Youngstown State and in all but five games since. He has now used 35 different lineup cards through the first 41 games this season. (Lineups listed on page 11 of the notes)

Updated Game Times

Tech’s Saturday game (May 3) against Coastal Carolina has been changed to a 4 p.m. first pitch due to television.

27-Straight

With a win in the series opener at Boston College, Georgia Tech eclipsed the 20-win mark for the 27th-consecutive season. The Yellow Jackets need just one more victory to reach the 30-win mark for the 26th-straight year.

Georgia Tech has won 20+ games 34 times in history and reached 30 wins on 27 occasions.

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