For a change, Jackets are top-heavy with pitching

By: associated press
By: associated press

ATLANTA (AP) -- David Duncan is poised to help Georgia Tech change its reputation as an offensive-minded baseball team.

The Yellow Jackets' No. 1 starting pitcher, Duncan appreciated having a potent lineup that scored lots of runs in his first two seasons. This year's team, however, is expected to rely more on pitching.

Despite the powerful tandem last year of catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Danny Payne, Tech dropped eight of its last 10 games to miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.

Wieters and Payne, both first-round picks in the major league draft, left a void that coach Danny Hall believes must be filled by better pitching, fielding and timely hitting.

Hall has led the Jackets to 12 NCAA berths and three College World Series appearances in 14 years, but those teams averaged 8.6 runs scored.

With Duncan, No. 2 starter Eddie Burns, closer Chris Hicks and setup man Brad Rulon, Hall believes the Jackets have a foundation to surprise some critics who project North Carolina, Florida State, Clemson and Miami as favorites in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Hall is counting on Zach Von Tersch to fill out the rotation on many of the three-game weekend series Tech plays in the ACC.

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