No. 3 Jackets Set for Home and Home with Mercer
March 22, 2010
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GT Alumni Tailgate: 5 p.m. in the parking lot outside of Claude Smith Field
ATLANTA - Playing a makeup game of the March 10 rain-out, the Georgia Tech baseball team (16-2, 5-1 ACC) will travel to Mercer (14-7, 2-1 A-Sun) Tuesday, for a 6 p.m. matchup with the Bears in Macon, Ga. The two teams will then play in Atlanta at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a regularly scheduled mid-week game at Russ Chandler Stadium.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Tuesday, March 23 (6 p.m.) - Claude Smith Field
Georgia Tech - Mark Pope, RHP, So. (1-0, 3.65 ERA, 16 K's)
Mercer - Russell Moses, LHP, Jr. (0-1, 6.35 ERA, 9 K's)
Wednesday, March 24 (6 p.m.) - Russ Chandler Stadium
Georgia Tech - Buck Farmer, RHP, Fr. (1-0, 2.92 ERA, 8 K's)
Mercer - David Randall, LHP, So. (3-1, 4.30 ERA, 16 K's)
Georgia Tech went 3-1 on the week, defeating in-state rival Georgia, 6-5 Tuesday, before taking two out of three on the weekend in ACC play at Maryland. Tech scored 42 runs in the four games, and belted 13 home runs in the process, led by three home runs apiece from senior Jay Dantzler and junior Derek Dietrich.
Tech had its seven-game win streak snapped in Friday's 5-2 loss, but rebounded for wins on Saturday and Sunday to take the series. The Jackets are hitting .347 on the year, with 40 home runs and 174 RBI. The team also holds a .620 slugging percentage. Despite one loss during the week, the Jackets moved up as high as No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, and remained at No. 3 in the NCBWA rankings.
Junior Cole Leonida continues to lead Tech at the plate in his first season as a starting catcher. Leonida was 7-for-17 (.412) with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. He singled in the game-tying run in the seventh inning against Georgia, and then went 3-for-5 with a double, home run and five RBI in Tech's 10-3 series clinching win over Maryland. Defensively, he picked off two base runners, including a throw on UGA's Colby May at second with no outs in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game.
Senior Tony Plagman belted his 41st and 42nd career home runs during the week, moving him into a tie for sixth-place on Tech's all-time list.
Head coach Danny Hall moved senior Jay Dantzler to the leadoff spot for the first time in his career in Tech's 24-4 win over Maryland, and Dantzler batted 4-for-6 with a double, two home runs and eight RBI. The moved brought Jeff Rowland out of the leadoff spot for the 1st time since 2008. Rowland batted 3-for-6 with a home run and three RBI, while scoring seven runs in the two games. He scored five runs in Saturday's win, something he hadn't done in over 76 games as a leadoff hitter
Sophomore left-hander Jed Bradley led Tech on the mound, allowing just one run on six hits in 7.0 innings pitched for his third win of the season Sunday. He struck out nine batters in the 10-3 victory.
Mercer (14-7) went 2-2 in action last week, defeating Florida A&M on Tuesday, before dropping the series to South Florida over the weekend, two games to one. The Bears are currently 2-1 in conference play after taking the A-Sun opening series over Campbell March 12-14.
The squad returns 21 letterwinners and seven starters from a 2009 team that posted an even 23-23 record and finished fifth in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Georgia Tech holds a 101-48 all-time advantage in the series against Mercer, and a 19-3 under head coach Danny Hall. Wednesday's meeting will be just the fourth time since 2003 that the two teams will have squared off, but the 149th time overall since 1897 that the two programs have met head-to-head.
Last Meeting: The Jackets went 1-0 against Mercer in 2009, a 17-3 result at Russ Chandler Stadium on March 10.
Following Wednesday's game with Mercer, the Jackets will then head to No. 17 North Carolina for a three-game ACC weekend series against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Mercer has been hot at the plate all season. The Bears are batting .356 on the year, having hit 29 home runs to go with 184 RBI. Mercer has put itself in scoring position on numerous occasions after hitting an outstanding 68 doubles, and swiping 37 bases in 42 attempts. Billy Burns leads the bears with a .464 batting average, while Jacob Tanis has hit 11 doubles and seven home runs to go with a team-leading 33 RBI on the season.
The pitching staff is limiting opponents to just a .271 average, led in wins by Brandon Love (5-0) and David Randall (3-1). Randall will pitch against the Jackets on Wednesday. The entire staff combined is averaging 7.4 strikeouts per 9/IP, and is allowing just 5.4 runs per game.
GEORGIA TECH vs. IN-STATE OPPONENTS
The state championships of college baseball continue Tuesday when Tech faces its third in-state opponent of the season. Georgia Tech went 8-4 against teams from the state of Georgia in 2009 and has posted a 3-0 mark against in-state foes in 2010. The Jackets have a total of 13 regular season games on the schedule against schools from Georgia this season.
Since 1999, the Yellow Jackets own a 101-33 (.754) record against its in-state foes. In 17 years under head coach Danny Hall, Tech is 145-50 (.744) against teams from Georgia.
GT ALUMNI TAILGATE
Members of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association will be holding a tailgate prior to Tuesday's 6 p.m. game. The group will be under a Georgia Tech tent in the parking lot outside of Claude Smith Field. For more details contact Jim Elliott at email@example.com or at 478-447-0122.