March 27, 2008
ATLANTA – No. 17 Georgia Tech (19-5, 5-4 ACC) heads north to brave the snow and cold temperatures at Boston College (11-11, 2-7 ACC) this weekend in a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series beginning Friday at 2:30 p.m. The two teams will play at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Yellow Jackets breezed to a pair of non-conference wins during the week, dropping Georgia State, 12-1, and Alabama State, 17-4, and are winners of six of their last seven games while the Eagles enter the weekend on a two-game winning streak, but are looking to stop a four-game losing skid to ACC opponents.
Game Coverage: The entire series can be heard on WREK Radio (91.1 FM in Atlanta/www.wrek.org) while live stats for all Georgia Tech baseball games are available at Ramblinwreck.com.
The Yellow Jacket pitching corps is holding opponents to a .236 batting average, as seven different pitchers have earned wins through the first half of the 2008 season. Closer Chris Hicks has collected a team-best six saves for the Yellow Jackets and relievers Brad Rulon and Andrew Robinson have notched one save apiece.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Boston College)
Friday: LHP David Duncan (3-0, 3.66) vs. RHP Terry Doyle (2-2, 7.26)
Saturday: RHP Eddie Burns (3-1, 2.12) vs. RHP Dan Houston (1-1, 6.26)
Sunday: RHP Zach Von Tersch (2-1, 2.77) vs. RHP James MacDonald (2-3, 6.75)
Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman leadoff hitter and CF Jeff Rowland (.415, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 10 SB), freshman SS Derek Dietrich (.356-9-27-3) and redshirt junior RF Charlie Blackmon (.329-2-17-7), while a total of six Yellow Jackets are batting .300 or above in 2008.
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets swept a pair of midweek games and are winners of six of their last seven entering the weekend in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Tech’s offense came alive against Georgia State and Alabama State over the week, as the Yellow Jackets averaged more than 14 runs per game against the Panthers and Hornets after totaling just over six per game entering the week. The Jackets pitching continues to be a highlight, as five Tech pitchers made scoreless appearances against Georgia State and Alabama State, while opponents averaged just 2.5 runs per game. Tech has given up more than six runs on just five occasions this season, with all five resulting in Yellow Jacket losses. When holding opponents to fewer than seven runs, however, Tech is 19-0. Yellow Jacket Quick Hits: Charlie Blackmon is hitting .379 with three doubles, a home run and nine RBI in his last nine games; he has also reached base safely in all but one game this season and hit safely in all but five … Jay Dantzler is batting .417 in his last three games with two doubles and a triple … Derek Dietrich is hitting .556 in his current five-game hitting streak and .404 in his last 16 contests; he has reached base safely in every game this season and had at least one hit in all but four games … Brad Feltes has hit safely in all but four games this season and reached base safely in all but two games; he is hitting .400 in his last three games … Chris Hicks has made seven scoreless appearances in 2008 and has five saves in the month of March; he hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three appearances … Michael Hutts has made four scoreless appearances this season … Kevin Jacob has four scoreless outings in 2008 … Deck McGuire has a 0.64 ERA in his last four appearances (two starts, 14.0 innings total) … Luke Murton is batting .400 in his last eight games … Thomas Nichols has hit safely in all but five games this season … Andrew Robinson hasn’t allowed a run in his last three outings and has made eight scoreless appearances in 2008 … Jeff Rowland is hitting .529 in his last six games and .500 in his last 11; he has hit safely in all but four games this season and has reached base safely in all but three … Brad Rulon has made 10 scoreless outings for the Yellow Jackets in 2008.
Boston College – The Eagles enter the weekend in search of their first conference win in two weeks, since taking two off Clemson on the road. Boston College will be playing its first home ACC series this weekend after hosting Hartford in its home opener Tuesday. The Eagles played their first 20 games on the road but will end the year with eight consecutive home games. Boston College’s offense is led by Tony Sanchez (.391-4-23-0) while Barry Butera (.362-5-17-7) and Eric Campbell (.319-5-19-1) are tied for the team lead with five home runs in 2008. The Eagles’ rotation of right-handers Terry Doyle (2-2, 7.26 ERA), Dan Houston (1-1, 6.26) and James MacDonald (2-3, 6.75) have combined to start 14 games this season, and Chris Kowalski has picked up a team-best two saves.
Tech vs. the Opponent (Series tied, 3-3)
Georgia Tech and Boston College will be meeting for the seventh time in history this Friday in a game that will break a 3-3 tie in the all-time series. The two teams have met for a three-game series in each of the last two seasons, with the home team winning, but not sweeping, the series each time.
The Yellow Jackets won the first two games against the Eagles, 10-0 and 5-2, a year ago in Atlanta, but Boston College avoided the sweep with a 9-2 win in the finale.
The two teams faced each other for the first time in 2006 at Commander Shea Field, with the Eagles winning the last two games of the series, 5-4 and 5-1, following a 12-4 victory by the Jackets in the opener. The Yellow Jackets’ struggles in the last two games were due in part to the fact that they lost their left fielder (Steven Blackwood) and center fielder (Danny Payne) on an outfield collision early in the series opener.
Yellow Jackets in the RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 23 in the nation in the RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com).
The Atlantic Coast Conference is well represented in the RPI, with seven teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Florida State leads all conference teams, standing at No. 1 in the RPI, while Miami (4) and North Carolina (6) join the Seminoles in the top 10 and Clemson (16), NC State (20), Georgia Tech and Virginia (25) appear in the top-25.
One of the Yellow Jackets’ 2008 non-conference opponents also appears in the top-25 of the RPI – Coastal Carolina (18).
Georgia Tech is scheduled to play no fewer than 18 games against teams that currently appear in the top-25 in the RPI this season, with six of those contests coming on the road.
Boston College, meanwhile, stands at No. 52 in the RPI.
In terms of schedule strength, Georgia Tech’s is ranked No. 35 while Boston College’s stands at No. 88 in the latest rankings.
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 79-43 (.648) in their last 122 ACC regular season games.
The Yellow Jackets had a streak of 13 straight ACC series wins in 2004-05, and Tech has won 28 of its last 41 weekend series, including two of three this season. Tech has won 47 of its last 63 ACC home games and 32 of its last 58 ACC road games.
Freshmen Lead Tech Offense
Tech’s freshman class has also made a big impact on the offensive success of the Yellow Jackets in 2008, as they are tops among the four classes in average (.327), home runs (15) and RBI (56). Jeff Rowland, Georgia Tech’s top hitter in 2008, headlines that freshman class with a .415 average while he, Derek Dietrich (.356), Thomas Nichols (.279), Chase Burnette (.300), and Cole Leonida (.125) have combined to go 84-for-257 this season.
Tech’s sophomore class is batting a combined .306, the seniors are hitting .297 and the juniors have a .296 average.
Rulon Climbing Career Charts
Yellow Jacket senior right-hander Brad Rulon continues his climb up several Georgia Tech career records this season. He currently stands 12th in the record books with a .786 winning percentage, eighth with 9.86 strikeouts per 9 IP and tied for 14th with five career saves. The Columbus, Ga. native has also made 95 appearances in his four-year career on the Flats, which stands sixth in the Georgia Tech career annals.