It has been awhile since Georgia and Georgia Tech have played each other in a baseball game this meaningful. The Bulldogs are ranked in the top 10 of the five major polls and in the top five in three.
The Yellow Jackets are in the top 20 across the five polls and in the top 15 in two. On top of that, when the two teams play Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at SunTrust Park in the annual benefit game for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, they’ll be playing to decide the season series.
The last time that the two teams were both ranked in the top 25 when they met for the series-ending game at the Braves’ stadium was 2009.
“Both teams have played well in two different leagues and it’s supposed to be a really nice night,” Tech coach Danny Hall said. “So I would think that there’ll be a lot of passionate fans there on both sides. With the series riding on the line right there.”
Tech won the first game this season 11-2 at Russ Chandler Stadium on March 26, to end a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. UGA answered with a 12-2 win at Foley Field on April 9. The Bulldogs have won the past three season series.
Tech (27-13) is positioning itself to be a host for an NCAA regional, ranked No. 11 in RPI and winners of its past six ACC series. The Jackets have not been home for the NCAA tournament’s opening round since 2011.
Meanwhile, UGA (33-8, No. 4 in RPI) is trying to secure a top-eight seed to earn the right to host a super regional, should the Bulldogs advance that far. Hall wasn’t sure if the NCAA selection committee considers a series like Tech-Georgia (played in three mid-week games) differently than a weekend series, as it’s not played on a weekend and hence neither team uses its top pitchers. Still, better to win it than to lose.
“No doubt, whoever wins, it’s a feather in their cap, for sure,” Hall said.
Tech will start Cort Roedig, who has been up and down in his freshman season. He has an opponent batting average of .203, and 17 strikeouts in 20 innings, but has a 4.05 ERA with 17 walks allowed. Hall said he expects to use multiple relievers “just to mix and match in the game.” The Jackets’ bullpen has been showing improved form of late.
“More and more of them are clicking in for us, doing their job, and that’s what it takes,” he said.
UGA will counter with Tim Elliott, who started the first two games against the Jackets. Elliott is 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA. The Bulldogs lead the country with a 2.57 ERA, which is below the school record for a single season (2.97 in 1958).
The game could draw in excess of 20,000. The highest single-game attendance for a Division I game thus far this season is 12,404 (Louisiana-Monroe at LSU).
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