March 26, 2000
Clemson Overall Record: 23-3 Clemson ACC Record: 3-0
Wednesday, March 22 UNC Charlotte at Clemson…W, 14-2
Friday, March 24 The Citadel at Clemson…W, 9-3
Saturday, March 25 The Citadel at Clemson…W, 7-5
Sunday, March 26 The Citadel at Clemson…W, 6-3
Wednesday, March 29 Clemson at Georgia 7:00 PM Note: Georgia is 16-10 overall
Friday, March 31 Clemson at North Carolina 7:00 PM
Saturday, April 1 Clemson at North Carolina 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 2 Clemson at North Carolina 1:30 PM
Tigers Conclude Homestand with Sweep of The Citadel
Clemson swept three games over The Citadel from March 24-26 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson won by scores of 9-3, 7-5, and 6-3. Clemson had 34 hits in the series. The Citadel, who entered the series hitting .338, hit just .238 in the three games.
In game one, Clemson pounded 16 hits en route to a 9-3 win. Scott Berney picked up his seventh win by allowing three hits, two runs, and two walks while striking out eight in 8.0 innings. Berney allowed just one hit after the second inning. Henr’ Stanley had three hits and two stolen bases to pace the Tiger offense attack. Brian Ellis, Khalil Greene, Jeff Baker, Jarrod Schmidt, and Casey Stone added two hits apiece. Dallas McPherson suffered the loss, his first in his last 18 starts.
Game two saw the Tigers bats remain hot, as Clemson racked up 14 more hits on its way to a 7-5 win. Clemson scored four runs in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. The Citadel rallied with three runs in the fifth and had the tying run on second base with one out in the ninth. But Nick Glaser got Tavy Smalls to strike out and Stuart Jordan to ground out to the end the game. Glaser earned his ninth save. Starter Jarrod Schmidt earned the win by pitching 7.1 innings, allowing nine hits and four runs. Brian Ellis and Michael Johnson each had two doubles. Four other Tigers had two hits apiece. The two teams combined for 10 doubles. The Citadel’s Dallas McPherson’s 23-game hitting streak ended in the game.
Four Bulldog errors led to four Clemson runs in the Tigers’ 6-3 victory in game three. Ron Colvard, who suffered the loss, dropped a thrown ball from first baseman Philip Hartig in the sixth inning, which allowed two runs to score. The Citadel jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Clemson responded with two runs in the first thanks to a Jeff Baker single. Baker extended his multi-hit game streak to six. Clemson had three of its four hits in the first inning. Freshman righthander Paul Harrelson, making his first career start, picked up the win by allowing six hits and two runs in 6.0 innings.
Tigers and Florida State Sit Atop ACC Standings
Clemson, the only ACC team to play less than three ACC games, is 3-0 in conference play and is second (one game behind) in the standings to Florida State, who is 7-2. The Seminoles swept Maryland this past weekend by 32-0 combined score. Georgia Tech dropped two of three games at home to Duke and is 4-2 in the ACC. N.C. State and Wake Forest are 5-4, while Virginia, North Carolina, and Duke are each 2-4. Maryland is last at 0-6, but has already played at Clemson and Florida State. Next weekend, Clemson plays at North Carolina, Wake Forest plays at Duke, Florida State is at Virginia, Georgia Tech is at N.C. State, and Maryland is idle.
Tigers Go 21-2 on Homestand on 23-Game Homestand
Clemson’s longest homestand in years, 23-games long, was completed on Mar. 26 with a 6-3 win over The Citadel. Clemson was 21-2 in the 23 games. Clemson will play a single game at Georgia on Mar. 29 and then travel to Chapel Hill for three games from March 31 to April 2. Then Clemson will have an 11-game homestand. Clemson has not been on the road since the ACC Disney Blast in late January.
Clemson Batters Hitting .350 in the Last Six Games
Although pitching has gotten most of the attention on this year’s Clemson team, the hitting aspect has come on strong of late. In the last seven games, Clemson is hitting 72-for-206 (.350) and has raised its average 18 points during that span. And that figure is even after a 4-for-27 performance against The Citadel on March 26. The team’s average was .275 after 20 games.
Pitching Vastly Improved Over 1999
The NCAA has yet to publish national team and individual leaders, but Clemson is sure to be atop many of the pitching categories in 2000. Clemson struggled in 1999 with a 5.82 ERA, but 2000 has seen Kevin O’Sullivan’s pitching staff come full circle. All nine Tigers with at least 10.0 innings pitched have a 3.94 ERA or better, including seven of nine with a 2.57 ERA or better. Below is a comparison of the team’s stats from 1999 and 2000.
It’s no secret what has been the key to Clemson’s early success…starting pitching. The weekend rotation of Scott Berney, Ryan Mottl, and Jarrod Schmidt, all righthanders, has a combined record of 15-0 and 1.42 ERA in 127.0 innings. They have also allowed just 84 hits, 31 walks, and no home runs while striking out 97.
In 1996, a different trio led Clemson to heights unseen. Kris Benson, Billy Koch, and Ken Vining led Clemson to its best College World Series finish in history in ’96. That trio had a combined 34-10 record along with a 2.63 ERA, 491 strikeouts, and 12 complete games in an unimaginable 382.2 innings. Although none of the 2000 pitchers will be drafted as high as Benson and Koch (#1 and #4 overall, respectively), the trio can more than hold its own in terms of consistency and the ability to push each other.
Berney 7-0 in Seven Starts
When the season began, the Clemson coaching staff was looking for pitchers to step up and contribute in a starting role. But even Scott Berney perfect start to 2000. Berney is 7-0 in his seven starts and has a 1.02 ERA. He has allowed just 34 hits, nine walks, six runs, and no homers in 53.0 innings along with a .180 opponent batting average. Clemson has shut out its opponent in three of Berney’s seven starts. Berney has gone either 7.0 or 8.0 innings in each of his starts.
To start the season, Berney did not allow a run in 32.2 innings pitched until Ohio’s Cory Keylor (on Mar. 10) reached on a fielder’s choice with two outs, allowing a run to score. The 32.2 inning streak still ranks atop the Clemson recordbooks. Randy Quintrell held the record with 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings in 1975 and Ron Musselman (1976,77) was second with a 21.1 inning streak in ’77. Kris Benson’s longest scoreless streak was 19.1 during his incredible 1996 season. Benson was drafted #1 overall in the Major League Draft in ’96.
While Berney may not have the scouts drooling like Benson did, Berney gets the most out of every pitch with accuracy and ability to keep batters off balance. In three seasons at Connecticut, Berney had a 2.45 walks per nine innings pitched mark and he has kept that consistency with a 1.5 mark in 2000. He also threw just four wild pitches at Connecticut and has yet to throw one as a Tiger.
Freshman Jarrod Schmidt came to Clemson with accolades such as First-Team All-American and Georgia Gatorade Player-of-the-Year out of Lassiter High School in Marietta, GA. And early on in 2000, he started at first base and outfield. But when the Tigers got into the rigorous college baseball schedule, Schmidt added another position to his repetoire…pitcher. Schmidt, who was “Mr. Do It All” at Lassiter, has done the same at Clemson. Unlike many schools, very few times in recent years has a pitcher played in the field and vice versa. But Schmidt is bucking that tradition as he has solidified himself as a weekend starter in Clemson’s rotation.
He made his debut on the mound against Old Dominion on Feb. 19 and allowed just one run and four hits in 5.0 innings. In his next two starts, he allowed just two earned runs combined in 12.1 innings. Schmidt finally earned his first win against Ohio on Mar. 11 in a relief role. He did not allow a run and only three hits in 4.1 innings against the Bobcats. Overall, Schmidt has a 2.23 ERA, 3-0 record, and a .223 opponent batting average in 36.1 innings. Despite struggling at the plate in the early going (.180 batting average), Jack Leggett foresees a bright future for Schmidt, and not just on the mound. Schmidt has shown the ability to play catcher along with first base and outfield. Schmidt can also hit for power, and with more consistency, could find a spot in the middle of the Tiger lineup in the future. Expect to see Schmidt in the next few years…all over the field.
Baker Showing Steady Improvement at the Plate and in the Field
Freshman shortstop Jeff Baker (Woodbridge, VA), who is rated as the #1 freshman in the nation by Baseball America, is showing more consistency every game at the plate and in the field. Baker leads the team with a .373 batting average, thanks to going 14-for-25 (.560) in his last six games. He has totaled at least two hits in all six of those games as well. He also has nine runs scored and 10 RBIs during that stretch. Baker’s average had been hovering at and above .300 all season until his recent surge, but had been somewhat inconsistent because of his over-aggressiveness. But Baker has adjusted and become more accustomed to most Jack Leggett-type hitters…which are line-drive and gap hitters.
Baker has also become more consistent in the field. Baker’s fielding percentage, which was at .877 after 13 games, has risen to .922.
Riley Solidifying Tiger Infield
Junior college transfer Ryan Riley was the last player to sign in Clemson’s #1-rated recruiting class last summer. Riley, teammate of Tiger closer Nick Glaser and coached by Hank King at Edmonds CC, actually did not enroll until the second semester. He did not play in any of the ACC Disney Blast games to open the season. But he has found his way into the everyday lineup as the starting second baseman thanks to committing just one error in 2000. The Seattle, WA native went the first 90 chances (in over 18 games) as a Tiger without committing an error. He has been a main reason Clemson’s sports an impressive .973 team fielding percentage. Riley possesses outstanding range, quick release, and a strong arm. He brings leadership to an infield that has only one starter from a season ago.
Riley has been hot of late at the plate as well. He is riding a seven-game hitting streak and is 5-for-9 with six runs scored in his last three games.
Clemson 38-13 Against SEC Teams Under Leggett
In six seasons under Head Coach Jack Leggett, Clemson has had tremendous success against the Southeastern Conference. Leggett’s record against the SEC as the Tigers’ skipper is 38-13 (.745), including 16 wins against top-25 teams. Leggett has at least a .500 record against all seven SEC schools he has faced while at Clemson. The Tigers have also won nine straight games against SEC foes. Below is a list of Leggett’s record at Clemson against each of the seven SEC member schools he has faced:
Clemson Offers Promotional Ticket Discounts to Fans
This year, Clemson offers special promotional considerations to select fans. Clemson offers a Businessperson Special on all weekday day games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, where any fan who presents his/her business card will receive free admission. All Sunday home games are Senior Citizens’ Day, where any fan who presents his/her AARP card will receive free admission. Also on Sundays, all youngsters are invited on the field during the national anthem to stand next to their favorite Clemson player. Ticket prices for home games are $5 for adults and $2 for students. Clemson students who present their student ID will receive free admission.
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