Farmer to take on nation's top-ranked team

ATLANTA -- Buck Farmer was back to his old self last weekend. The Georgia Tech senior fired eight shutout innings in Tech's 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina.

The Rockdale graduate had been roughed up in consecutive starts against Atlantic Coast Conference foes N.C. State and Clemson, but bounced back in a big way in the nonconference matchup.

He surrendered just five hits and struck out nine batters in a 109-pitch effort, improving to 8-3. With his eight innings, Farmer moved into second place on the Jackets' career list with 350 innings pitched. Doug Creek, who pitched from 1988-91, holds the school record with 472 innings pitched.

Farmer's numbers have been excellent in his second season as Tech's Friday starter. In 12 starts, he's allowed 21 earned runs in 83 innings pitched (2.27 ERA) and struck out 92 batters while issuing just 23 walks.

Now comes Farmer's and Tech's stiffest test to date as North Carolina, ranked No. 1 by Baseball America, comes to Atlanta for a weekend series. The Tar Heels (44-4, 19-3 ACC), have won three consecutive games against The Citadel and James Madison in non-league play, but the Chapel Hill, N.C., school has had its struggles against Farmer. In two career starts against North Carolina, the Conyers native is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA (two earned runs in 15 innings pitched) and has allowed just 10 hits, including last year's seven-inning, two-run performance in an April victory.

Tech (30-19, 12-12) split two mid-week games against non-league foe Ohio State and hasn't won a series since taking 2 of 3 from Virginia on April 12-14.

Farmer will start tonight's opener at Russ Chandler Stadium with the first pitch set for 7 p.m.