Commentary

Pitching fuels Jackets' hot start

A 9-0 start in the ACC has Georgia Tech looking like a national contender

Originally Published: March 30, 2011
By Jeff Bradley | ESPN Insider
Mark PopeJosh D. Weiss/US PresswireStarter Mark Pope is part of a formidable Yellow Jackets pitching staff.

On the walls of the Georgia Tech baseball locker room hang photographs from each of the Yellow Jackets' last three trips to the NCAA regionals. "We look at them every day when we come to the stadium," says junior third baseman Matt Skole. "They are pictures of the other team celebrating after beating us in the finals of the regionals."

So, you've got dog pile photos of Alabama taking out Tech last year, and Southern Miss ending the Jackets' season two years ago and -- this is even painful to think about -- archrival Georgia taking them down three years ago. "Our goal is to get to Omaha every year," Skole says. "And those pictures are up there to help motivate us."

If Tech's start to this season is any indication, the motivational tactic has worked. After finishing off a three-game sweep of Miami in Coral Gables last weekend -- outscoring the Hurricanes 23-7 for the series -- the Yellow Jackets are 21-5 overall, 9-0 in the ACC. Prior to Tuesday's loss against Mercer, the Jackets were riding a 16-game win streak, and they'll look to regain that momentum when they travel to Durham this weekend to play Duke.