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The On-Tech Circle: Boston College (14-20, 6-11) at No. 9 Georgia Tech (27-11, 14-4)

April 21, 2011

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Friday: Mark Pope (8-1, 1.14) vs. Andrew Lawrence (1-1, 3.50) , 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: Jed Bradley (3-2, 3.21) vs. John Leonard (4-4, 4.08), 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: Buck Farmer (5-2, 2.70) vs. Staff Day/Bullpen, 1:00 p.m.

Ninth-ranked Georgia Tech looks to improve on its 18-6 home record and strengthen its hold on second place in the ACC Coastal Division with a weekend series against Boston College.

Tech is looking to bounce back from a tough 6-3 loss at Mercer on Tuesday night. Sam Dove went 3-for-4, while Jake Davies and Zane Evans also had multi-hit games, with Davies scoring two runs and Evans driving in two. Matt Grimes (5-2) took the loss for the Jackets, ending his four-game winning streak.

B.C. snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over Northeastern in the Beanpot Tournament Semifinals. Andrew Lawrence and Nate LaPointe each had two-run singles in a decisive five-run sixth inning. The Eagles are 2-1 in ACC road series, having won back-to-back weekend series at Maryland and Duke.

Georgia Tech has won nine of the 14 games played and three of the four decided series (the teams split two games in 2009).

Last Time We Met: Georgia Tech took two of three at Commander Shea Field in 2010. The Jackets opened the series on Friday night with a 23-hit, five-homer assault, blowing out the Eagles, 15-8. Chase Burnett had five of the hits. Six different Jackets had multi-RBI games. Deck McGuire earned the win, allowing two runs (one earned) and five hits in six strong innings. Things tightened up Saturday, but Georgia Tech fought off stiff winds, getting late sacrifice flies from Jacob Esch and Thomas Nichols and superb relief pitching from winning pitcher Buck Farmer and closer Andrew Robinson, to take a 7-5 victory. In the finale, Jay Dantzler drove in two runs and Nichols and Burnette each had two hits, but it wasn’t enough, as the Eagles took the game, 6-3. Jed Bradley suffered the loss, only his third in 12 decisions.

A Good Start: Georgia Tech is 8-1 in weekend series this season and their triumvirate of Mark Pope, Bradley and Farmer is a big reason why. The trio is a combined 17-4, with a collective 2.23 ERA (45 earned runs in 181 1/3 innings.) Pope earned his third ACC Pitcher of the Week award and second Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week honor on Monday after his complete-game, one-hit victory at Wake Forest. His .163 opposing batting average is lowest in the league, and his 1.14 ERA ranks second in the ACC. Bradley leads the group with 72 strikeouts, tied for second in the conference. His 12.15 strikeouts per game is second in the conference, while Farmer is currently the owner of the team’s longest winning streak, at six.

Quality and Quantity: Quality starts (six innings pitched, three or fewer runs allowed) are pretty much the norm for Georgia Tech starters. Heading into this weekend, Yellow Jackets hurlers have 18 quality starts in 27 appearances. Pope is almost a given, as he has eight and hasn’t pitched fewer than seven innings since Feb. 25, against St. John’s, when he left in the sixth inning with a 13-0 lead. Buck Farmer and Jed Bradley each have five quality starts, with four each over their last six starts. That means a lot of innings pitched. Pope and Farmer both are in the top 10 in the ACC, as Pope leads the ACC with 71 1/3, while Farmer is seventh with 56 2/3. Bradley is 14th (53 1/3).

Hall of Famer: Georgia Tech Head Coach Danny Hall should take another step toward 300 wins this weekend. He enters this series with Boston College with 294 ACC victories. He has 12 conference games left to reach the milestone. Hall, who has never had a losing season in his 18 seasons on The Flats, has averaged 16.3 conference wins per season. He enters the weekend with a career record of 972-456-1, a career .667 win percentage.

On Deck: Georgia Tech plays Georgia at Turner Field in the Spring Classic for Kids to raise money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, on Tuesday then travels to Clemson for a weekend set with the Tigers. B.C. visits St. John’s on Monday, plays the Beanpot Championship against Harvard at Fenway Park on Tuesday, then gets back into ACC play over the weekend, hosting Virginia.

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