May 11, 2009
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech’s seventh-ranked baseball team makes its annual trek to Turner Field to face No. 15 Georgia in the 2009 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Spring Baseball Classic Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets (33-12-1) have won five of their last six games, including two in an Atlantic Coast Conference series vs. No. 6 Florida State over the weekend, while the Bulldogs (34-17) snapped an eight-game losing streak Sunday with a 4-3 comeback win against Vanderbilt. Georgia is ranked as high as 15th in this week’s national polls (USA Today, Collegiate Baseball), while Rivals.com (17) and the NCBWA (18) also have the Bulldogs ranked in the top-25.
Georgia Tech was a consensus preseason top-25 team that moved into the top-10 in the season’s first official polls. The Yellow Jackets have been ranked as high as No. 3 this season (by Collegiate Baseball in March) and currently appear among the top-10 in all five polls, peaking at No. 7 in the Baseball America Poll. Collegiate Baseball, USA Today, Rivals.com and the NCBWA all have the Jackets listed at No. 8 in their respective polls.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Georgia)
Tuesday – 7 p.m.: RHP Zach Von Tersch (6-2, 5.47) vs. RHP Cecil Tanner (3-1, 4.15)
Senior RF Luke Murton (.383-15-50-4), junior 1B Tony Plagman (.352-15-62-4) and freshman 3B Matt Skole (.306-13-46-2) are powering the Yellow Jacket offense in 2009, while sophomore OF/DH Chase Burnette (.387-7-22-0), CF Jeff Rowland (.352-8-31-17) and sophomore SS Derek Dietrich (.345-9-48-4) have been hot of late.
The game will be aired on FS South and can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) and AM 790 The Zone. Live stats will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.
Tech vs. Georgia (Georgia leads, 195-149-2)
Georgia Tech and Georgia will meet for the 347th time in history Tuesday, with the Bulldogs owning a 195-149-2 edge in a series that dates to April 21, 1898.
The Yellow Jackets won the last game between the two teams, knocking off the then- top-ranked Bulldogs, 11-6, at Foley Field in mid-April. Tech and Georgia were also scheduled to square off on March 25 at Russ Chandler Stadium, but that was one of six games the Yellow Jackets have had cancelled due to weather this season.
Tech and Georgia will meet for the annual Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Classic for the seventh-straight year, and the Yellow Jackets are searching for their first win in the fund-raising event (and at Turner Field) since 2004. Georgia has won each of the last four games played at Turner Field, and is 5-1 overall on the annual event.
The two teams have split the last six games, 3-3, and Georgia Tech is 32-26 against the Bulldogs since Danny Hall’s arrival on the Flats in 1994.
One that Got Away
Over the last two seasons, sophomore right-hander Deck McGuire has posted a remarkable 17-1 record on the mound for the Yellow Jackets, which is the best record in school history for a pitcher with 10 or more wins. His one blemish came a year ago, when the Jackets dropped a 3-2 decision to the Bulldogs at Turner Field. McGuire entered the game having posted two wins against the Bulldogs earlier in the season, but the Tech offense managed just five hits, and only two through the first five innings, behind him at Turner Field.
Georgia Tech vs. In-State Opponents
Georgia Tech went 11-3 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2008 and has posted an 8-3 mark against in-state foes in 2009. The Jackets had a total of 14 regular season games on the schedule against schools from Georgia this season, two of which were rained out.
Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 97-32 (.752) record against its in-state foes. In 16 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 141-49 (.742) against teams from Georgia.
Ending the Six Year Drought
Prior to Tech’s game against Georgia earlier this season, the last time the Yellow Jackets faced the No. 1 team in the country was in April, 2008, when Miami came into Atlanta and swept a three-game series from Georgia Tech on a somber weekend. Prior to that series, the Yellow Jackets hadn’t played a top-ranked team since the 2003 ACC Tournament, when Georgia Tech defeated consensus No. 1 Florida State on April 25, the final day of competition.
Georgia Tech’s April 14th win over No. 1 Georgia was the first victory over a top-ranked opponent for the Yellow Jackets since that Florida State game in 2003.
Haniger Tabbed Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Finalist
While catcher Jason Haniger continues to rack up athletic and academic honors, the senior has been recognized for his work off the field and away from the classroom as well. In March, Haniger was named one of 30 candidates for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes exceptional senior baseball student-athletes that excel in the classroom and competition but also give back to the community and are of honorable character.
On April 15, the list of candidates was narrowed to 10 finalists, and Haniger is one of three ACC baseball players included in the list of finalists for the award. A portion of the vote is decided by fans, who can log onto www.seniorclassaward.com daily (through May 31) to vote, or they may text BSB6 to 839863.
In 2008, Georgia Tech nearly doubled its home run output from the 2007 season and marked the biggest increase in home runs from one year to the next in school history. Last season, the Yellow Jackets belted 92 home runs, the seventh-best single season mark in school history and the fourth-most since Hall’s arrival in 1994.
This season, the Yellow Jackets have smacked an ACC-leading 96 home runs, which ranks seventh in the nation and fifth all-time in school history.
The Yellow Jackets have eclipsed the 90-home run mark just 11 times since the program’s inception in the late 1890’s, with seven of those seasons coming under head coach Danny Hall.
Tech’s 96 homers have come in 46 games (the fewest played by any ACC school this season), to give the Yellow Jackets an average of 2.09 home runs per game – the fourth-best mark in the country in 2009.
Tech is 32-7 this season when a Yellow Jacket hits a home run.