April 4, 2011
ATLANTA – No. 8 Georgia Tech (23-6) will travel to Kennesaw State on Tuesday, for a midweek game against the Owls. First pitch is at 6 p.m. at Stillwell Stadium.
Pitching Matchup (Georgia Tech vs. Kennesaw State)
Tuesday: RHP Matthew Grimes (4-1, 4.05, 33.1 IP, 29 SO) vs. RHP Travis Dean (1-2, 5.79, 18.2 IP, 15 SO)
The GT radio broadcast can be heard over the air on WREK (91.1), the flagship station of Georgia Tech baseball, and online at RamblinWreck.com.
Georgia Tech (23-6) enters the week ranked as high as No. 5 inthe Perfect Game USA Top-25 poll. The Jackets are also ranked inthe Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (8), USA Today/ESPN Coaches'(11), National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (12) andBaseball America (14) polls. Georgia Tech currently leads theAtlantic Coast Conference in hitting (.331) and is second inpitching (2.14 ERA). Tuesday’s game will mark just the 16thall-time meeting between the two schools in a series that datesback to 1987 … The Jackets won the first game of the 2011 seriesby a 7-4 score on March 8th at Russ Chandler Stadium. KennesawState returns 10 starters (five position players and five pitchers)from a 2010 team that went 23-32 and finished eighth in theAtlantic Sun Conference. The Owls (18-12) are coming off a serieswin over Southern Illinois over the weekend, and have won three oftheir last four games … They are 15-6 at home this season.Kennesaw State is batting .286 as a team, led by Ethan Herron(.410) and Ronnie Freeman (.395) … The pitching staff is holdinga 4.78 ERA.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series by a 12-3 advantage after defeating the Owl, 7-4, earlier this season on March 8th at Russ Chandler Stadium … The Jackets are tied at 2-2 with the Owls in games played at Stillwell Stadium … Kennesaw State defeated Tech, 7-4, at home in 2010 …Head coach Danny Hall is 11-2 against the Owls in since arriving on the Flats in 1994.
Last Meeting: Freshman Mott Hyde was 3-for-4 with four RBI to lead the Georgia Tech baseball team to a 7-4 victory over Kennesaw State on March 8, 2011 at Russ Chandler Stadium. The four run advantage was just enough to support freshman starter Matthew Grimes, who picked up the win on the mound after scattering four runs on six hits over 5.0 innings of work.
Freshman centerfielder Kyle Wren leads the ACC in batting average (.419), hits (52)and runs scored (35) … Juniors Jake Davies (.400, 4th) and Matt Skole (.389, 5th) combine with Wren to give Tech of thetop-five averages in the conference. Junior Mark Pope (6-0), the Jackets Friday starter, leads the ACC infive different categories: Wins (7), Innings Pitched (54.2), ERA(0.66), Complete games (3) and shutouts (2) … Pope has allowedjust four earned runs all season, and tossed 36 2/3 consecutiveinnings without allowing an earned run from Feb. 18 to March 25 …All three weekend starters have combined for an 15-1 record, and a1.48 ERA. Pope’s .909 career winning percentage (20-2) is the bestin school history for a pitcher with at least 10 wins. Pope hasbeen named the ACC Pitcher of the Week twice this season, and aCollegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week once.Georgia Tech won 16 straight games from March 4 to March 29, itslongest streak since the 2006 season. Seventeen of Georgia Tech’s34 players on the roster are freshmen … All 17 have played thisseason while 10 have made at least one start.
YELLOW JACKETS IN THE RPI
Georgia Tech enters the weekend ranked No. 5 in the nation inthe latest Pseudo-RPI (source: BoydsWorld.com). (The NCAA has notyet released its RPI.) The Atlantic Coast Conference is wellrepresented in the most updated RPI, with five teams ranked amongthe top 25 in the nation. Virginia, ranked No. 3 in the country inthe RPI, leads all conference teams while North Carolina (4),Georgia Tech (5), Florida State (10) and Clemson (13) all rank inthe top 25.
TOP OF THE HEAP
There’s no secret to Georgia Tech’s success thus far in 2011 — good hitting and good pitching. Through 29 games, the Yellow Jackets are at the top in hitting and second in pitching in the ACC, boasting a .331 team batting average, with a league-high 345 hits and a .476 slugging average. The Jackets also are getting it done on the mound. They are the only team to have three complete games — Mark Pope has all three. The Jackets’ 62 earned runs are the second fewest allowed in the league (Virginia leads with 61), while Tech pitchers are holding opponents to just a .216 batting average.
STARTING THREE ARE KEY
Georgia Tech’s weekend rotation of Mark Pope, Jed Bradley and Buck Farmer has keyed the team’s success so far this season. The 1-2-3 punch is 15-1 on the season, holding a combined 1.48 ERA, having allowed just 23 earned runs in 141 innings. Pope has led the crew with a conference-leading 0.66 earned run average, and has yielded just four earned runs all year (54.2 IP). Bradley leads the crew in strikeouts with 59, while Pope (48) and Farmer (46) aren’t far behind.
POPE PAVES THE WAY ON FRIDAY
Junior Mark Pope has pitched the Jackets to a huge advantage in each series this season. The Marietta, Ga. native has allowed just four earned runs (eight runs total) in 54.2 innings. His seven wins are the most in the nation.
Pope’s most glaring statistic is his strikeout to walk ratio, which sits at 48:8. He has issued 1.33 walks per nine innings pitched. He set the single-season record for fewest walks per nine innings in 2010 at 1.43.
Pope has made a habit of pitching complete games recently, tossing back-to-back complete game shutouts against Rutgers (3/4) and Maryland (3/11), before throwing another nine against Duke last Friday. He has three career shutouts, which tie for the most in school history.
….AND LEADS IN CAREER WINNING PERCENTAGE
With 9-2 win over Duke, Pope improved his career record to 20-2 overall. His .909 winning percentage is the best all-time at Georgia Tech for a pitcher with a minimum of 10 wins.
Freshman Kyle Wren has been the “table-setter” for not only the very young Yellow Jacket squad, but also the entire Atlantic Coast Conference in 2011. Tech’s leadoff man leads the conference in batting (.419), hits (52) and runs scored (35) entering the week of April 4. Wren has reached base safely in 28 of the 29 games, with at least one hit in 26 of them. The freshman centerfielder has 16 multi-hit games on the season. He had five hits against Maryland on March 12, which tie for the most by an ACC player in a game this season with teammate Matt Skole and Duke’s Anthony D’Alessandro.
SKOLE TAKING FLIGHT
With a .389 batting average on the season, Junior Matt Skole is showing the form that made him a preseason All-America candidate.
Skole is currently all over the ACC leader boards, ranking second in RBI (34) and total bases (68), third in slugging percentage (.492), tied for third in home runs (5), fourth in average (.389), on-base percentage (.492) and doubles (11), and fifth in hits (42).
He had a monster game against Georgia on March 22, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (one grand slam) and eight RBI. The eight RBI are the most by an ACC player in a game this season.
DEFENSIVE SWITCH PAYS OFF
After opening the season with a 5-4 record, head coach Danny Hall made a defensive switch that has paid dividends during the teams’ current run. Junior Jacob Esch and freshman Mott Hyde switched positions in the middle infield, with Esch moving from second base to shortstop and Hyde just the opposite. Since the flop, Tech has gone 18-2 and turned 21 double plays.
Hyde has been apart of 16 of them and Esch 14, while they have combined for 11 of them. Georgia Tech had turned just five DP’s in the first nine games of the season.
WHO’S ON FIRST?
Entering the 2011 season, the Jackets had big shoes to fill at first base after the departure of All-American Tony Plagman. Junior Jake Davies, who served as one of the primary relievers in the bullpen the past two seasons with over 40 career appearances on the mound, has blossomed into the new role as Tech’s everyday first baseman.
Davies had just eight hits in 37 at-bats over the past two seasons, but this season he has 38 hits in 95 at-bats (22 starts). The McDonough, Ga. native is second on the team with a .400 batting average having made 20 starts at first base. The Jackets are 19-1 with on the corner.
He has eight doubles, one triple, four home runs and 20 RBI on the year.
TIME CHANGE FOR APRIL 23 GAME AGAINST BOSTON COLLEGE
Georgia Tech’s game against Boston College on April 23 has been moved up from 6 p.m. to a 3 p.m. start due to the football Spring Game. Fans will be able to stay on the Flats after the noon football scrimmage, and head straight over to baseball.