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Clemson vs. Wofford Preview

Clemson vs. Wofford Preview

May 8, 2007

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Clemson vs. Wofford Clemson (31-16), ranked as high as #16 in the nation, will travel to Greenville, SC to take on Wofford (23-26) on Tuesday night at West End Field. It will be Clemson’s first-ever game at the newly-constructed ballpark, home of the Boston Red Sox A affiliate Greenville Drive. The Tigers will be the designated home team and occupy the first-base dugout during the neutral-site contest. First pitch against the Terriers is scheduled for 7:15 PM. Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live on the internet at ClemsonTigers.com.

The Series Clemson and Wofford have met 96 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 72-23-1 lead in the series dating back to 1898. The two teams have played at least one game every year since 2001, including five of the last six years at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The two also met in 1999 at Clemson. Prior to the 1999 game, the last meetings came during the 1976 and 1977 seasons at Spartanburg, SC, both Tiger victories. Clemson has won nine games in a row and 30 of the last 32 games in the series as well.

On April 27, 2005 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson beat Wofford 7-1 behind a grand slam by Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson beat Wofford 10-1 behind two solo home runs by Marquez Smith and nine Tiger extra-base hits.

Clemson holds a 2-1-1 lead in the series in neutral-site games, as all four previous neutral-site contests were played at Anderson, SC. Head Coach Jack Leggett is 7-0 against Wofford as Clemson’s head coach and was 7-2 against the Terriers as the Western Carolina head coach, meaning he is 14-2 all-time against Wofford.

The Starting Pitchers Wofford will start senior righthander Charles Vartanian (0-2, 8.51 ERA) on the mound Tuesday. The Charlotte, NC native has made 13 relief appearances for a total of 30.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 41 hits (.306 opponents’ batting average) and 17 walks with 17 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with sophomore righty D.J. Mitchell (2-0, 3.13 ERA) on Tuesday. The Rural Hall, NC native has made eight relief appearances and three starts for a total of 31.2 innings pitched. He has yielded 26 hits (.218 opponents’ batting average) and eight walks with 31 strikeouts.

The Terriers Wofford, led by eighth-year Head Coach Steve Traylor, enters Tuesday’s game with a 23-26 overall record and 6-15 SoCon mark after winning two of three games against Furman at home over the weekend. Like Clemson, Tuesday’s game will mark Wofford’s first neutral-site contest of the season.

The Terriers are hitting .305 as a team with a .391 on-base percentage. They are among the top teams in the country in terms of home runs. Wofford has hit 84 home runs and 96 doubles along with a .525 slugging percentage. The team has also totaled 184 walks and 62 hit-by-pitches along with 29 stolen bases in 42 attempts.

Junior third-baseman Brandon Waring is among the national leaders in home runs. He has belted 21 homers with 51 RBIs, and is hitting .388 with a .521 on-base percentage thanks to 35 walks and 13 hit-by-pitches. He leads or is tied for the team lead in runs scored (61), doubles (12), homers, slugging percentage (.867), walks, on-base percentage, and steals (10).

Bradford Eaves is batting .350, while Shane Kirkley is hitting .330 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs. Mike Gilmartin has totaled 11 homers and 44 RBIs, and John Brandt has added 11 long balls and 52 RBIs.

The pitching staff has a 7.25 ERA and .318 opponents’ batting average on the season. The team has allowed 226 walks with 280 strikeouts. Gilmartin has a team-high five saves and a 4.50 ERA in 17 relief appearances. The team is fielding at a .957 clip as well.

The Tigers Clemson enters Tuesday’s game against Wofford with a 31-16 overall record and 15-9 ACC mark after winning two of three games at home over Boston College over the weekend. The Tigers, who have yet to play a neutral-site contest in 2007, are ranked as high as #16 in the nation.

The team is hitting .287 with a .369 on-base percentage. Marquez Smith leads the team in homers (10) and RBIs (42) after earning ACC Player-of-the-Week honors.

The pitching staff has a 3.38 ERA and .251 opponents’ batting average. It has combined to strike out 403 against 156 walks. Daniel Moskos has a team-high six saves and 2.20 ERA, while Stephen Clyne has a 1.57 ERA along with two saves in 23 relief appearances. The team is fielding at a .970 clip as well.

Worth Noting * In the series-finale against Boston College in the second game of a doubleheader on May 6, five of Clemson’s nine starters in the batting lineup were freshmen.

Polls Clemson remained at the #18 spot in the Baseball America poll and #23 in the Collegiate Baseball poll on Monday after going 2-1 in three games last week. Clemson also jumped to #16 in the Sports Weekly poll.

The Tigers’ #1 ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball on February 12 was their first since February 27, 2006, when Clemson was ranked #1 by those same two polls. The Tigers have been ranked #1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack Leggett’s 14th season at Clemson.

Smith Leaving His Marq at Third Base Senior third-baseman Marquez Smith (Ocala, FL) had a day to remember against Boston College on May 6. In a doubleheader that day, he was a combined 5-for-7 with a double, three home runs, and eight RBIs. He hit a two-run homer in the first game of the day, then hit two homers and a double with six RBIs in the second game. His last homer was a grand slam in the seventh inning with two outs and the Tigers trailing 6-3. His long ball gave Clemson a 7-6 win and enabled the Tigers to claim the series 2-1 over the Eagles.

Thanks to going 6-for-11 (.545) with two doubles, three homers, and eight RBIs in three games that week, he was named ACC Player-of-the-Week. It was the second time he received that honor, as he was Co-ACC Player-of-the-Week during the 2006 season.

Overall in 2007, Smith is hitting .311 while leading the team in homers (10), RBIs (42), and runs scored (37). He is the only Tiger to start every game this season. In his two seasons in the Clemson program, he is a career .300 hitter with 29 doubles, 20 homers, and 90 RBIs.

Clemson Takes Two Over Eagles in Close Games Clemson, ranked #17 in the nation, won two of three games over Boston College at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on May 5,6 in the first-ever meetings between the two at Clemson. The three games were decided by a total of four runs, as each team scored 17 runs in the series. Boston College outhit the Tigers .314 to .276, but Clemson hit six home runs. Marquez Smith was 6-for-11 (.545) with two doubles, three homers, and eight RBIs in the series, while Addison Johnson was 5-for-11 (.455). The Tiger pitching staff had 26 strikeouts as well.

In game-one on May 5, Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning after the first two batters of the frame were retired. With Clemson ahead 3-1 after seven innings, Eric Campbell’s two-out, two-run single in the eighth tied the score. But D’Alessio hit the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth over the fence in left-center to give the Tigers the lead for good. Stephen Clyne pitched the final 1.2 innings with four strikeouts to pick up the win. Clemson, who outhit Boston College 10-6, was led at the plate by Ben Paulsen’s 3-for-3 performance. Johnson added two hits and two RBIs as well.

In game-two in the first game of a doubleheader on May 6, Boston College scored three runs in the ninth inning to defeat Clemson 8-6 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Eagles scored two runs in the eighth inning to take a 5-3 lead, but the Tigers responded with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead, capped by Taylor Harbin’s opposite-field, two-run homer. But Boston College scored three runs in the ninth and held on for the win to even the series. Boston College outhit Clemson 17-9, as every Eagle starter had at least one hit. Harbin hit two homers with three RBIs, while Smith added a homer and two RBIs.

In game-three in the second game of a doubleheader on May 6, Smith hit two homers to lead Clemson to a 7-6 come-from-behind win over Boston College at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the third inning, highlighted by Smith’s two-run homer. But the Eagles scored three runs in the fourth inning and three runs in the fifth, capped by Jared McGuire’s two-run homer. But after the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning were retired, the Tigers loaded the bases. Smith then blasted a grand slam to center to give the Tigers lead for good. Smith was 3-for-4 with two homers, a double, and six RBIs. Matt Vaughn pitched 4.2 scoreless innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts in relief to earn the win.

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