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The On-Tech Circle: Georgia Tech (30-20, 14-13) at South Florida (25-27, 10-14, American Athletic Conference)

May 14, 2014

By Jon Cooper
The Good Word

Pitching Matchups
Thursday: Josh Heddinger, RHP (3-3, 3.76) vs. Jimmy Herget, RHP (6-6, 1.38), 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Friday: Devin Stanton, LHP (4-3, 2.30) vs. Casey Mulholland, RHP (4-1, 3.06), 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Saturday: Ben Parr, LHP (4-3, 2.88) vs. TBA, 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Georgia Tech concludes the 2014 regular season with a three-game series starting tonight against the University of South Florida of the American Athletic Conference. First pitch tonight and Friday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., while Saturday’s season finale begins at 1:00 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets didn’t exactly pound the ball its last time out on Tuesday night, but they scratched out a 2-0 win over Georgia in the 12th annual Kauffman Tire Spring Baseball Classic For Kids at Turner Field. Matt Grimes threw seven masterful innings to earn the win and Tech took advantage of some sloppy pitching. They scored a run in the seventh and another in the eighth, without the benefit of a ball leaving the infield. DH A.J. Murray scored what proved to be the winning run in the sixth, reaching after getting hit by a pitch, then coming around to score on a wild pitch. The Jackets made it 2-0 in the eighth, when Matt Gonzalez reached on an infield hit, stole second then came home on consecutive wild patches. Grimes was brilliant, allowing only four hits over seven. Jonathan Roberts and Sam Clay completed the whitewash, with Clay getting the final four outs for his sixth save of the season. Defense was big, as left fielder Gonzalez gunned out the potential go-ahead run at the plate to end the sixth, and right fielder Ryan Peurifoy threw out the potential tying run at second to end the seventh.

The Bulls, who rank fifth in the AAC, are 2-8 over their last 10 and are coming off an 8-2 loss to No. 13 Florida, Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville. USF led 1-0 and 2-1 after their first two at-bats, but didn’t score again and were done in by a five-run bottom of the second. Shortstop Kyle Teaf went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and DH Luke Borders (2-for-4, 1RBI), and first baseman Buddy Putnam (2-for-4, 1 run) had multi-hit games for the Bulls, who managed nine for the game. Starter Lawrence Pardo (1-2), the first of seven pitchers, took the loss allowing six runs (all earned) and four hits with three walks in 1 1/3 innings of work.

Georgia Tech and South Florida dates back to 1988, but this will be the first meeting since 2007. The schools have played 10 games, with Georgia Tech winning nine of them, and they have swept three of the four series — the teams split a two-gamer in 1989. The Jackets, who have won the last seven games in the series, are 4-1 all time at Russ Chandler Stadium.

All three games of this series can be heard on WREK 91.1 FM with Nolan Alexander and Wiley Ballard calling the action. It also can be found on line on ESPN3. Live stats will available on Gametracker on RamblinWreck.com.

Let’s play ball!

Heroes and Zeroes: The 2014 Yellow Jackets have had a tremendous season when it comes to pitching and defense. Defensively, the Yellow Jackets have been amongst the best in the nation at turning the double play, as their 62 twin-killings are tied for the most in the nation. Meanwhile, their .972 fielding percentage is fourth in the ACC, and their .975 fielding in conference play is tied for third. Tech also has excelled on the mound, as its 3.26 ERA is the third-lowest single-season total in the last 40 years. Only the 2.76 in 2011 and the 3.13 in 1993 are lower. The 206 total runs allowed are the fewest allowed by a Yellow Jackets pitching staff since giving up 193 in 1978.

No SB For You: Georgia Tech has been one of the toughest teams to steal against in the ACC, catching 22 potential base-stealers, tied with North Carolina, and only three off Boston College’s ACC lead. Their catching tandem of freshman Arden Pabst and senior Mitch Earnest is a big reason why. Both are ranked in the top 10 in the ACC for catching runners, with Pabst sixth — he is second among ACC freshmen — having thrown out 41 percent of potential base thieves (12-of-29), while Earnest is tied for ninth, nailing 35 percent (nine-of-27).

Ouch, That Burns: One of the best example of “effectively wild” took place on March 6, 2007 at Red McEwen Field in Tampa. Georgia Tech starter Eddie Burns threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run and two hits, while striking out six in a 12-2 Georgia Tech victory. Burns did not get the win, however, and actually left the game trailing, 1-0. Burns, would hit a school-record five batters in the game, hitting one in each of the first three innings and two in the fifth. Ironically, one of the two innings Burns, who holds the school-career-record for hit-batsmen (38), and the single-season-record (23 hit batters in ’08), didn’t hit a batter, was the sixth, when he allowed his only run, and put himself in a position to leave the game on the short end of the decision. Georgia Tech bailed Burns out, scoring 12 runs over the final two innings. Current assistant coach Tony Plagman, went 2-for-5 in the game, with a pair of doubles, including an RBI hit in the seven-run ninth and a run scored.

Tech-nicalities: While Georgia Tech isn’t officially in the 10-team ACC Tournament field and is relegated to spectator status the final weekend, they’re in pretty good shape. For the Jackets to miss out, ALL of the above would need to happen: Pittsburgh would have to sweep Notre Dame in South Bend, NC State would have to sweep Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Wake Forest would have to get swept by Virginia at home and Clemson would have to get swept by Boston College at home. The Jackets also would likely qualify should there be three-team tie with NC State and Pittsburgh for two spots, a four-team tie with State, Pitt, and Carolina or State, Pitt and Wake for three spots, or a five-team tiebreaker with State, Pitt, Carolina and Wake for four spots. If you want definite, check in Sunday morning.

On Deck: Georgia Tech ideally opens the ACC Tournament on Tuesday at New Bridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. The schedule and seeding is TBA. South Florida awaits its seeding and schedule in the eight-team American Athletic Conference Tournament, which begins on Wednesday at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.

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