Georgia Tech Baseball 1987

From Buzzpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Georgia Tech baseball[1]

During the season of 1987 Georgia Tech had one of it's most successful baseball teams of all time with record winning streaks and successful competition within the National Collegiate Athletic Association.




Contents

History of Georgia Tech Baseball

Because baseball was the nation’s most popular sport at the turn of the century in terms of attendance and revenue, it was one of the first sports teams created at Georgia Tech. The Joltin’ Jackets Georgia Tech baseball team was first formed in 1895 but without a field or well funded management. Today, Tech’s baseball team is one of the premier baseball team’s in the NCAA. It has become an annual contender for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles.

Coach Jim Morris

One of Tech’s most successful coaches of all time was Jim Morris, coaching at Tech from 1982-1993. Half way through the 1987 season, Morris recorded his 200th career victory. This placed him in the top 30 for winning percentage among active coaches with 200 wins. 1987 also happened to be his most successful year of coaching, and the most successful year of baseball Georgia Tech had seen up until that point.

The Season of 1987

Georgia Tech baseball really took off towards the end of the 1980's and since then has been one of Tech's most successful teams. Throughout the season of 1987, nearly 50 regular-season games, plus eight Georgia Tech games in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament (ACC), were broadcasted on the radio. Not only was this the most games ever scheduled, but also the most coverage college baseball had ever seen. Fans all over were preparing for the most exciting year of the ACC so far, and even the Tech student radio station, WREK, was scheduled to broadcast selected games during the season, including four games during the season’s very first week.[2]

In early February Georgia Tech’s previously ninth-ranked baseball team opened its 1987 season against Samford at Tech’s Russ Chandler Stadium. Samford began its campaign with two losses at Florida State the previous weekend, so there were high hopes for the Jackets to start their own season with a strong win. Although their practices had been going poorly due to inadequate weather, Coach Morris felt the team was ready for some competition. “With the weather we had in January we practiced inside a lot and weren’t always able to judge our progress well,” head Coach Jim Morris said. “It’s time to see what we can do against someone else.” Like the beginning of every game season, player history was vital for predicting a win. Frank Bolick, Ty Griffin, Mike Fowler, K.G. White, Roger Kinard, Todd Shiver, Sam Drake and Roger Roddy composed the starting line up. Already, it was predicted that the outfield pair, Mike Fowler and K.G. White, anchored perhaps the best outfield in the ACC. Bolick, the basemen, had the highest hit record on the team of .345. Kinard and Shiver, the pitchers, had estimated running averages (ERAs) of 4.06 and 4.94 respectively. The outfielders, Fowler and White, both hit high scores of .353 and .311. The individual player statistics were high and the team was wishing for a win. Their wish came true. The Joltin’ Jackets opened up the season with four impressive home wins against Samford, 12-1 and 19-0, and Mercer, keeping their 9th ranked title constantly in mind.[2]

Then it was time for the team to leave home and travel south for their first away games. The games were to be Tech versus Jacksonville and then Tech versus Southern. With an 8-8 series record against Tech, there was rivalry fire in the approaching Southern games. Coach Morris reminded the team not to let their undefeated status go to their heads. “This will be a tough test for us, Morris said. “It was hard to tell much about us last weekend because the scores were so out of hand.” However, the team did get the experience they needed to start out the season. “We got to play all of our hitters and most of our young pitchers, which will help us down the road. We hit the ball very well, played good defense and did all the little things well that you need to win.”[3]

A week later, the Jacket’s undefeated record held strong, and they were now ranked 7th in the country. As the team geared up to head down to New Orleans, the Coach began to identify certain players as leaders of the team and the team’s success. Roger Kinard, the starting pitcher, especially stood out. “Kinard has proved he can beat anyone,” Morris said. “Against Jacksonville, he had good location on his pitches and he kept their batters off-balance. The only thing is that our relief pitching has not been tested. We haven’t had anyone who’s had to come in under the gun.” He was one of many players to stand out as historically outstanding players.[4]

Another week passed and Georgia Tech moved up to the fifth-ranked baseball team, now with a 9-0 record. The new goal was to get by UNC-Wilmington and have an opportunity to surpass Tech’s best starting record ever, an 11-0 burst in the beginning of the 1985 season. With this potential personal record in reach, the team was approaching its title as the best baseball team Georgia Tech has ever seen. “Our start has been in the back of our minds.” coach Morris said. “I told our players that if we could sweet New Orleans, we had a chance to put together a long winning streak if we play hard every day. It’s very hard for me to say whether we’re a top team…but I do know that we’re one of the best in the Southeast.” And the statement becomes stronger and stronger with each passing game.[5]

A Georgia Tech Baseball Player[6]


The Jackets did indeed surpass the opening record of ’85, sporting a 12-0 record by early March after demolishing New Orleans. Now Tech was ranked second in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Only two other squads in Tech history, 1971 and 1983, had ever won 12 straight games, and although this was a confidence booster for the team, it was mainly motivation to keep pushing forward. Coach Morris had every plan to keep the streak going. “Once we get back home, I feel like we have a chance to really extend the streak,” Morris said. [7]

Not much later, the Collegiate Baseball-ESPN Weekly ranked Tech number one for the first time in history with a 16-0 record. [8]


However, the confidence was not to last. By mid-April, the Jackets starting record was stopped short by Jacksonville, and now they sported a 16-2 wins-losses. They had a 17-4 record by the time they hit the ACC tournament, and there they played only moderately well. “The entire team didn’t play well…You could look at the games and see a lot of areas where we weren’t mentally in the game and we lacked concentration. The pitching was poor both days. Baseball’s a game where you have to play every day to be at your maximum.” Morris said. The pitching problem was created when Todd Shiver, who had been Tech’s most effective pitcher through the first third of the season, suffered a broken jaw due to a batting practice accident. [9]

After the ACC tournament there wasn’t much left of the season. With a final record of 51-14 and a 17-4 record in the ACC, the Joltin’ Jackets concluded their 1987 season with their 7th Annual Alumni Game to finish with some good-hearted heavy competition to ease into the next season with a determined and positive attitude.[10]

Outstanding Players

Riccardo Ingram[11]

Riccardo Ingram began to shine in early March, receiving praise from his fans and his coach. “He hits the ball hard every time up,” Morris said. “You cant get him our with any particular pitch. He hits a curve ball as well as he hits a fastball. He’s a tough out at this point, no doubt about it. We need to put a black stripe on his helmet.” Just after earning a black stripe on his football helmet, Ingram expresses his desire for another. “Making all-ACC in two sports would be the greatest accomplishment I could ever achieve,” Ingram said.

In late March, Ty Griffin made the papers. The 5'10", 173 pound Griffin committed 24 errors the previous season at second base, but made only four at this point in the ’87 season. He had also cut down the number of his strikeouts, which put him at base more often and increased his stats. Griffin attributed his improvements to his improved concentration on the field. “My concentration is much better this year,” he said. “Last year I was trying to switch-hit for the first time and I wasn’t confident at the plate, so I was not concentrating in the field. This year I’m more confident at the plate so I think that’s helping my fielding”[12]











Significance of the 1987 Season

Statistically speaking, 1987 baseball was one of the greatest, if not the greatest teams of baseball at Georgia Tech of the 19th century. It surpassed the longest winning streak previously set by Georgia Tech, and approached a winning position in the NCAA Northeast Regional. Morris’s coaching methods have been since looked over and studied, and players with similar qualities to the 1987 team have been recruited in hopes of recreating a team with such potential.[13]

References

  1. Georgia Tech Archives Digital Collections, Item #6659. "http://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/6659 (accessed October 3, 2010)"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  3. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  4. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  5. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  6. "Baseball game," in Georgia Tech Archives Digital Collections, Item #6654, http://history.library.gatech.edu/items/show/6654 (accessed December 7, 2010)."
  7. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  8. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  9. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  10. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  11. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RiccardoIngram.jpg
  12. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
  13. Inventory of the Sports Information Office (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, 1985-1992. Retrieved September 27, 2010. MS061, Box 1, Folder 5. Print.
Personal tools