Oct. 8, 2001
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech baseball team begins four weeks of fall practice on Monday afternoon as the Yellow Jackets welcome a highly touted, 17-member freshman class and two new assistant coaches to the program while working out at an off-campus facility.
The Yellow Jackets will hold their annual fall practice at the nearby Westminster School as construction continues on Tech’s on-campus facility, Russ Chandler Stadium. The stadium, which is being built on the same location as the previous facility, is set to be completed in January, 2002.
“As we start fall practice, I’m anxious to see the improvement in our upperclassmen and to see how our recruiting class compares to our veteran players,” said head coach Danny Hall. “I’m looking to see how our freshman make adjustments as they compete against better all-around players than they did at the high school and amateur level.”
Hall, who holds a 344-156 record at Georgia Tech, begins his ninth year as the Yellow Jackets’ skipper. New to the staff, however, are associate head coach Bobby Moranda, assistant coach Scott Stricklin and volunteer coach Jon Palmieri. Moranda, who spent the last six years at Wake Forest, works with the Tech pitching staff, while Stricklin, who spent two years at Vanderbilt after a stint as Tech’s volunteer coach, tutors the catchers and hitters while serving as the recruiting coordinator. Palmieri, a former All-American first baseman at Wake Forest, will assist with the hitters and outfielders.
“We have a new staff to go along with the large group of new players,” said Hall. “We have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time. Add to the fact that we will be practicing at a new site, and we will all have to make some adjustments.”
Tech welcomes back 13 letterwinners from the 2001 squad that batted a school-record .347 while winning 41 games and advancing to the NCAA Regionals. Leading the way are senior shortstop Victor Mencoal, who hit .381, junior first baseman Jason Perry, who belted a team-best 14 home runs, and sophomore outfielder Matt Murton, who was tabbed as the best prospect in the Cape Cod League this past summer. Sophomore Kyle Bakker, a 6’9 lefty who earned freshman All-America honors last spring, leads the pitching staff.
Tech’s freshman class, which was ranked among the top 10 in the nation, is led by five players who were selected in June’s Major League Baseball draft but opted to attend college instead – outfielders Jeremy Slayden and Brandon Boggs, pitchers Kyle Schmidt and Kevin Guyette, and infielder Eric Patterson.
Practice will continue through November 7.