Senior A.J. Murray leads the Jackets with nine home runs
Georgia Tech Baseball enters 2014 with exuberance over experience
The rookie slugged his way to the finals Wednesday night in Omaha
Freshman Matt Gonzalez to try his hand at Wednesday's TDI Ameritrade Home Run Derby
Live coverage on ESPN3 tonight at 8:30 p.m.; tape-delayed on ESPN Thursday at 8 p.m.
Photos by Mike Strasinger
Photos by Mike Strasinger
Georgia Tech beats No. 2 North Carolina, 9-8 (Photos by Danny Karnik)
Georgia Tech beats No. 2 North Carolina, 5-4 (Photos by Danny Karnik)
Georgia Tech at Ohio State (Photos by Jim Morris, JM Photography)
Honors & Awards
*2013 Baseball America Preseason All-America
*Competed in 2012 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in Omaha
*Named the 2012 MVP of the Cape Cod League All-Star Game
MLB Draft History
*Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 19th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, but elected to enroll at Georgia Tech... One of six Georgia Tech freshmen drafted in the same class.
Came to Tech as one of the top prep standouts in South Carolina... A talented two-way player that contributed immediately as a rookie by leading the team and finishing tied for fourth in the ACC in homers (12)... Followed that up with another 12-homer campaign in 2012... Has plus-power to all fields... Was rated as the No. 2 prospect in South Carolina and among the top 100 in the nation according to Perfect Game Crosschecker... Entered his sophomore season ranked No. 29 on College Baseball Daily's list of the top 100 college players.
Second Team All-ACC selection in the outfield... One of two Yellow Jackets to start all 64 games... Hit .303 on the season with 12 home runs, 47 RBI and a team-leading 19 doubles... Was sixth in the ACC in homers (12), sixth in total bases (131) and seventh in slugging percentage (.550)... Turned it on over the final 22 games of the season by hitting a team-best .329 in that span with 10 doubles, three homers and 15 RBI... Four of his five game-winning RBI came in the last half of the season... In the series-opener versus Clemson, his two-run double during a three-run ninth inning allowed Tech to rally for the tie, and his solo home run to lead off the 13th inning was a walk-off game winner (his first career walk-off home run)... Two weeks later in the series finale versus Charlotte, he recorded his third career walk-off hit with a two-out, 11th-inning single that scored Sam Dove in a 6-5 win... His sixth-inning home run was the difference in the regular-season finale, as Tech beat No. 21 Miami, 2-1, to clinch an ACC Tournament spot... Finished the Clemson series 6-for-14 with three doubles, two homers, four RBI and three runs... Had at least one hit in all four games of the ACC Championship, including a 2-for-5 effort with an RBI in the 8-5 win over No. 22 Miami in the Championship Game... Carried a seven-game hitting streak in the NCAA Gainesville Regional... Went 3-for-4 with a double and scored both Tech runs in the 6-2 loss to No. 1 Florida... Made five appearances on the mound and the lefty pitched 4 1/3 hitless innings on the year with six strikeouts and one unearned run allowed... Set a career high of four runs scored in a Feb. 18 win over Kent State... Recorded two doubles in a game twice - Feb. 26 versus Ohio State and May 6 versus Charlotte... Homered in each game of the Virginia Tech series, finished series 4-for-11 with five runs, five RBI and three walks... Had a monster series vs. Rutgers, going 6-for-13 with triple, homer, steal, five RBI, five runs... Had a career-best 12-game hitting streak early in the year, and posted three other hitting streaks of six games or longer.
Hit .297 with three triples, 18 doubles, 12 home runs and 52 RBI in 63 games (60 starts) ... His 12 home runs led the team and ranked tied for fourth in the ACC ... Also had a team-leading .556 slugging percentage, the sixth-best mark in the conference ... Had 19 multi-hit and a team-best 15 multi-RBI games during his freshman season ... Also totaled 129 bases, tying for seventh in the ACC ... Ran a nine-game hit streak at one point in the year (2/23-3/8) ... Led the team in two-out RBI with 23 ... Homered in three-straight games from March 4-6, every game in the Rutgers series ... Went 3-for-4 with four RBI and his first career homer against Georgia Southern (2/23) ... Was 3-for-4 the very next game against St. John's (2/25) ... Batted .500 (7-for-14) with six RBI and home runs in each game during the series against Rutgers (3/4-3/6) ... Hit 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and four RBI in the series finale against NC State (2/20) ... Had a pair of hits, including a three-run homer in the middle game of the series against No. 1 Virginia (4/9) ... Hit a decisive two-run bomb in a 5-3 midweek win over Georgia (4/12) ... Belted his seventh homer of the season in the game ... Recorded a pair of hits and scored twice to help clinch the series against Boston College (4/24) ... Drove in two runs in Sunday's finale ... Had a huge game against Georgia at Turner Field (4/26), going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and an RBI ... Had a triple and three RBI in a midweek win over Savannah State (5/10) ... Was 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in Tech's comeback win to even the series against No. 9 North Carolina (5/14) ... Hit the game-winning walk-off single to right field in the ninth inning for the 9-8 victory ... Belted his 10th homer of the season in a midweek game against East Tennessee State (5/17) ... Named to the NCAA Atlanta Regional All-Tournament Team after batting .538 (7-for-13) with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI and a 1.154 slugging percentage in four games ... Was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in the third game of the regional against Austin Peay.
Five-year letterwinner and one-year captain at Greer High School under head coach Bob Massullo... Named to the Rawlings and Under Armour All-America teams in 2010... A two-time all-state (2009, 2010) and four-time all-area member (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)... Threw two no hitters in high school... In 2010, hit .470 with 14 home runs and 32 RBI while posting a 1.80 ERA on the mound.
Full name is Daniel Bennett Palka... Born Oct. 28, 1991 in Greer, S.C.... Son of Michael and Denise Palka... Has an older brother, Matthew, and an older sister, Vanessa... Grandfather Eugene Palka played two seasons in Baltimore Orioles organization... Has volunteered his time while at Tech with the Special Olympics... Majoring in management.