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Tiger Baseball Team to Open ACC Championship Play Wednesday vs. Miami

Tiger Baseball Team to Open ACC Championship Play Wednesday vs. Miami

May 19, 2008

Complete Game Notes

Clemson’s ACC Tournament Preview Clemson (30-25-1), the #8 seed, will play #1-seed Miami (FL) (43-8) on Wednesday at 1:00 PM on the first day of the ACC Tournament. The Tigers will be the visiting team and occupy the first-base dugout. The game will be televised live by FSN South and Sun Sports.

The Tigers will then play #4-seed N.C. State on Thursday at 8:00 PM. Clemson will be the home team and occupy the third-base dugout in that game. The game against the Wolfpack will be televised live by FSN South and Sun Sports.

Clemson will not play on Friday, then it will face #5-seed Georgia Tech on Saturday at 10:00 AM. The home team for Saturday’s game will be determined by a coin flip. The game will also be televised live by SportSouth.

The games will be played at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (FL). It is the fourth year the ACC Baseball Tournament will be held at Jacksonville. The round-robin format, in its second year, features two separate divisions that guarantees every team will play a minimum of three games and maximum of four games during the ACC Tournament.

The winner of each division will meet in the ACC Championship Game on Sunday at 1:00 PM. The game will be televised live by FSN South and Sun Sports.

All of Clemson’s ACC Tournament games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all Tiger games.

The Series (Miami (FL)) Clemson and Miami (FL) have met 49 times on the diamond, with the Hurricanes holding a 26-22-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1977 season. Earlier this season, the Hurricanes swept the Tigers in three games at Mark Light Field. Last year, the two teams split four games, including Clemson’s 5-4 win in 13 innings in the ACC Tournament. Alex Lee’s walkoff, suicide squeeze bunt gave Clemson the victory.

The Tigers hold a 9-5 lead in the series since Miami joined the ACC prior to the 2005 season, including a 2-0 lead in ACC Tournament games. The Tigers also defeated the Hurricanes 9-1 in the 2005 ACC Tournament. Miami holds a 7-6 lead all-time in neutral-site games as well.

Jack Leggett is 14-14 against the Hurricanes as Clemson’s head coach, including a 4-4 mark in neutral-site contests. He was also 0-1 against Miami as head coach at Western Carolina, meaning he is 14-15 all-time against the Hurricanes.

The Series (N.C. State) Clemson and N.C. State have met 169 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 101-67-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1921 season. Earlier this season, the Tigers defeated N.C. State twice in three games. Last year, the Wolfpack won two games.

Clemson holds a 17-9 lead in ACC Tournament games and has won nine ACC Tournament games in a row against N.C. State. The Wolfpack’s last victory over the Tigers in the ACC Tournament took place in 1992, when N.C. State defeated Clemson twice in as many days. The two teams last met in the ACC Tournament in the 2006 title game, as the Tigers caputured the championship with an 8-4 victory. Clemson also holds a 13-10 lead all-time in neutral-site games.

Jack Leggett has a 35-17 record against N.C. State as Clemson’s head coach, including an 8-0 record in the ACC Tournament. Leggett was also 7-18 against N.C. State as Western Carolina’s head coach, meaning he has a 42-35 all-time record against the Wolfpack.

The Series (Georgia Tech) Clemson and Georgia Tech have met 196 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 97-96-3 lead in the series dating back to the 1902 season. Earlier this season, Georgia Tech defeated Clemson twice in three games in Atlanta, while the Tigers downed the Yellow Jackets twice in three games during the 2006 regular season at Clemson.

Clemson holds a 13-9 lead in ACC Tournament games. The two last met in the tournament in 2006, when Clemson defeated the Yellow Jackets twice in three games in Jacksonville to advance to the championship game. Clemson also holds a 16-7 lead in neutral-site contests.

Jack Leggett is 31-26 against the Yellow Jackets as Clemson’s head coach, including a 6-5 record in the ACC Tournament. Leggett was also 3-5 against Georgia Tech as the head coach at Western Carolina, therefore he is 34-31 all-time against the Yellow Jackets.

The Starting Pitchers (Miami (FL)) Miami (FL) will start lefthander and ACC Freshman-of-the-Year Chris Hernandez (10-0, 2.67 ERA) on the mound. The Miami, FL native has made 13 starts for a total of 84.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 67 hits (.216 opponents’ batting average) and 14 walks with 87 strikeouts. He has also allowed just 12 extra-base hits, including only two homers.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander D.J. Mitchell (6-4, 3.11 ERA) on Wednesday. The Rural Hall, NC native has made 13 starts and six relief appearances for a total of 92.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 89 hits (.254 opponents’ batting average) and 37 walks with 95 strikeouts.

The Starting Pitchers (N.C. State) Both team’s starting pitchers have yet to be determined.

The Starting Pitchers (Georgia Tech) Both team’s starting pitchers have yet to be determined.

The Hurricanes Miami (FL), led by 15th-year Head Coach Jim Morris, enters the ACC Tournament with a 43-8 overall record and 23-5 ACC mark after losing two of three games against North Carolina at home last weekend. In fact, by losing the final two games of the series, the Hurricanes are in the midst of their longest losing streak (2) of 2008. Miami has yet to play a neutral-site contest this season as well.

Miami is averaging 9.0 runs per game and hitting .330 with a .426 on-base percentage and .550 slugging percentage thanks to 112 doubles, 17 triples, and 82 homers in 51 games. The team has also stolen 85 bases in 108 attempts, while it has held opponents to just 34 steals in 58 attempts.

Jemile Weeks is hitting .376 with 15 doubles, four triples, 10 homers, 50 RBIs, and 17 steals. Yonder Alonso is hitting .393 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs along with a .556 on-base percentage thanks to 62 walks, and Blake Tekotte is batting .366 with a .482 on-base percentage and team-high 22 steals. Dennis Raben, who earlier this season was hampered by injury, has totaled 11 doubles, eight homers, and 44 RBIs in only 40 games.

The pitching staff has a 3.92 ERA and .246 opponents’ batting average along with 443 strikeouts against 147 walks in 457.1 innings pitched. Righthander Kyle Bellamy is 5-0 in 31 relief appearances. He has allowed just 20 hits (.134 opponents’ batting average), seven earned runs (1.38 ERA), and seven walks with 50 strikeouts. Carlos Gutierrez also has 10 of Miami’s 14 saves along with 53 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched. The Hurricanes are fielding at a .975 clip as well.

The Wolfpack N.C. State, led by 12th-year Head Coach Elliott Avent, enters the ACC Tournament with a 37-18 overall record and 18-11 ACC mark after winning one of three games at Florida State over the weekend. N.C. State has a 1-1 record in neutral-site games as well.

N.C. State is averaging 6.9 runs per game and hitting .298 with a .390 on-base percentage. The Wolfpack has also totaled 48 stolen bases in 69 attempts and 37 sacrifice bunts. N.C. State has hit 57 home runs, but no player has double-digits.

Matt Payne is hitting .333 with nine homers and 47 RBIs, while Marcus Jones is batting .330 with seven homers, 45 RBIs, and 10 steals. Ryan Pond has 15 doubles, eight homers, and 43 RBIs along with a team-best .335 batting average as well.

The pitching staff has a 3.36 ERA and .240 opponents’ batting average along with 454 strikeouts against 194 walks in 490.2 innings pitched. Lefthander Jimmy Gillheeney has a 1.12 ERA and team-high 10 saves along with 42 strikeouts in 32.0 innings pitched over 21 relief appearances. N.C. State is fielding at a .968 clip as well.

The Yellow Jackets Georgia Tech, led by 15th-year Head Coach Danny Hall, enters the ACC Tournament with a 38-17 overall record and 16-14 ACC mark after defeating Virginia twice in three games on the road last weekend. The team has an 0-1 record in neutral-site games as well.

Georgia Tech is averaging 7.4 runs per game and hitting .308 with a .525 slugging percentage and .391 on-base percentage. The team has also totaled 125 doubles, 13 triples, and 86 home runs. The Yellow Jackets have stolen 75 bases in 98 attempts, and they have left 32 less runners on base than their opponents despite amassing 57 more hits and 31 more walks than their opponents.

Charlie Blackmon is hitting a team-best .377 with eight homers, 37 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. Luke Murton is batting .356 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs, and 45 RBIs, while Jeff Rowland is hitting .335 with 21 steals. Derek Dietrich is batting .333 with 14 doubles, 14 homers, and 62 RBIs. Tony Plagman (16) and Brad Feltes (14) also have double-digit home run totals.

The pitching staff has a 4.61 ERA and .275 opponents’ batting average along with 419 strikeouts against 185 walks in 486.0 innings pitched. Junior righthander Chris Hicks has a team-best nine saves, while senior righty Brad Rulon has totaled four saves and 40 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. The team is fielding at a .970 clip as well.

The Tigers Clemson enters the ACC Tournament with a 30-25-1 overall record and 11-18-1 ACC mark after sweeping Central Florida on the road last weekend. The Tigers, who are on a five-game winning streak, have a 2-0 record in neutral-site games.

Clemson is hitting .288 with a .372 on-base percentage. The team has totaled 105 doubles, 10 triples, and 59 home runs along with 55 steals in 79 attempts.

Ben Paulsen is hitting .322 with 18 doubles, one triple, 12 homers, and 45 RBIs. Jeff Schaus, who has hit safely in 17 of the last 19 games, is batting .323 with a .425 on-base percentage. Kyle Parker, who has hit safely in 14 of the last 15 games, is batting .310 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs, while Doug Hogan has totaled 17 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, and 51 RBIs on the season. Mike Freeman is leading the team with a .330 batting average as well.

The pitching staff has a 4.64 ERA and .286 opponents’ batting average. Righthander Matt Vaughn has struck out 43 against 12 walks in 39.0 innings pitched and has 11 saves in 29 appearances. The Tigers are fielding at a .965 clip as well.

Five Tigers hail from the state of Florida, including Freeman (Orlando), Craig Gullickson (Palm Beach Gardens), Parker (Jacksonville), Schaus (Naples), and Brock Schnabel (Winter Haven).

Clemson’s ACC Tournament History Clemson has won nine ACC Tournaments in history, more than any other school, including in 2006 when it defeated N.C. State 8-4 in the championship game. This is the 35th ACC Baseball Tournament, and Clemson has been to the finals in 21 of the previous 34 tournaments, 10 more than any other school. Clemson has a 97-53 record in ACC Tournament games. The Tigers also have the most All-ACC Tournament selections (51) in history.

Prior to capturing the 2006 title, the Tigers had not won it all since 1994. That was Jack Leggett’s first year as Clemson’s head coach. Clemson defeated Florida State 4-1 in the championship game held in Greenville (SC) Municipal Stadium.

Leggett has been on the field to accept the championship trophy three times in all. In 1993, then Head Coach Bill Wilhelm was suspended for the championship game. Leggett, then the top assistant for the Tigers, was in charge for that 1993 title game, an 11-7 win over N.C. State. Clemson’s nine ACC Tournament titles came in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2006. Wilhelm is credited with the first seven tournament titles.

Clemson has been a consistent team in tournament play. The Tigers have won at least two tournament games in 31 of their previous 34 appearances. The only years that Clemson did not win at least two games were 1998 (0-2), 2001 (1-2), and 2003 (0-2). While Clemson has won the title just once since 1994, the Tigers have been to the championship round six of the last 13 years.

Only 13 times in the 34-year history has the #1 seed captured the title. Clemson has done it six times, Georgia Tech and North Carolina three times, and Florida State once.

The Tigers have won the ACC Tourney with a perfect record five times. The Tigers were 3-0 in 1976 and 1978 in winning both events at Clemson, then they had a 4-0 record in winning the title at Raleigh in 1980. Clemson’s only other perfect run through the tourney came in 1991, when a Tiger team that won a school-record 60 games had a 5-0 mark in the ACC Tourney held at Greenville, SC.

This will be the sixth time the tournament is held in the state of Florida, as the 1997 and 2002 events were held at Saint Petersburg, FL, and the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tourneys were held at Jacksonville, FL. The 2009 tournament is scheduled to be played at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.

Clemson has a winning record against every ACC team (excluding Boston College and Virginia Tech, who have not faced the Tigers in the event) in tournament play with the exception of Florida State. Clemson is 8-10 against the Seminoles in the event. The Tigers are also 8-3 against Duke, 13-9 versus Georgia Tech, 12-0 against Maryland, 2-0 versus Miami (FL), 15-11 against North Carolina, 17-9 versus N.C. State, 10-6 against Virginia, and 12-5 versus Wake Forest. That computes to a 97-53 record and 64.7-percent winning mark. Only Florida State (67.5) has a better winning percentage than Clemson in ACC Tournament play.

Clemson was the dominant team when the ACC Tournament was played at Greenville, SC from 1987-95. In those nine tournaments, Clemson posted a 36-12 record, won the event four times, and finished second on two other occasions. Clemson won at least three games in eight of the nine tournaments held in Greenville as well.

The ACC Tournament began in 1973 and has been held every year but one since then. In 1979, Clemson won the regular-season title and was declared the conference champion. The tournament was not held because of a scheduling conflict between school exam schedules and the tourney. Clemson has been declared conference champion 14 times in history, more than any other school.

Worth Noting • The 2008 season marks Clemson’s 51st straight non-losing season.

Tigers #24 in Unofficial RPI Through games of May 18, Clemson has an unofficial RPI of #24 according to WarrenNolan.com. The Tigers have also played the nation’s toughest schedule according to the same website. Of Clemson’s 56 games, 48 have been against teams in the top 88 of the RPI. Clemson is also 8-0 against against teams with an RPI higher than #88. There are 297 schools that play Division I baseball.

Clemson on Five-Game Winning Streak Clemson is riding a five-game winning streak entering the ACC Tournament, as four of the five wins have come on the road. The Tigers defeated #25 Georgia Tech 16-6 in Atlanta on May 11 and beat College of Charleston 12-6 at home on May 13. Then the Tigers swept Central Florida in Orlando in three games by a combined score of 24-9.

In the five games, Clemson has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 52-21, averaging 10.4 runs per game. The Tigers are hitting .342 with a .414 on-base percentage and .597 slugging percentage thanks to 14 doubles, three triples, and 10 homers. That is 27 extra-base hits in the last five games, an average of 5.4 per game. The pitching staff has a 3.60 ERA as well.

Mitchell, Parker Earn First-Team All-ACC Accolades Junior righthander D.J. Mitchell and freshman utility player Kyle Parker were both named First-Team All-ACC in 2008. The team was compiled by a vote of the 12 ACC head coaches.

Mitchell has a 6-4 record and 3.11 ERA in 13 starts and six relief appearances. In 92.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 89 hits (.254 opponents’ batting average) and 37 walks with 95 strikeouts. He has also allowed just 16 extra-base hits, including only four home runs.

Mitchell, who did not even pitch in a game at Clemson until his sophomore season in 2007, leads the ACC in innings pitched and strikeouts.

Parker, who should be in his senior year of high school after graduating from Bartram Trail High School in Jacksonville, FL a semester early, was one of only two freshmen to earn first-team honors, joining ACC Freshman-of-the-Year Chris Hernandez, a lefthander from Miami (FL).

Parker is one of the nation’s highest-rated quarterbacks who signed to play football at Clemson. In 2008, he is hitting .310 with 12 doubles, 14 homers, 49 RBIs, and a .405 on-base percentage in 54 games (52 starts).

He excelled against ACC competition as well. In 29 ACC regular-season games, Parker hit .336 with six doubles, 10 homers, 34 RBIs, and a .441 on-base percentage. He tied for second in homers, was second in RBIs, and was fifth in slugging percentage (.673) in ACC regular-season games among all players.

Sanders Getting Hot at the Right Time Junior infielder Matt Sanders (New Bern, NC) has picked a good time of the year to get hot at the plate. Since his batting average was sitting at .235 at the end of April, he has seen it climb to near .300 in recent weeks. In his last 11 games, he is hitting a team-best .432 (16-for-37) with nine runs scored, three doubles, one homer, and seven RBIs.

Sanders was a big reason Clemson swept Central Florida in Orlando from May 15-17. In game-two of the series, he had a career day. He went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in Clemson’s 7-3 win. Then in the series-finale, his eighth-inning, solo homer tied the score 5-5. The Tigers went on to win 8-5. In the three-game series at Central Florida, he was 5-for-10 (.500) with a double, homer, and three RBIs.

Overall in 2008, he is hitting .297 with nine doubles, two homers, 18 RBIs, and a team-tying-high six sacrifice bunts. He also has been outstanding defensively at third base, as he has committed only four errors and has a .959 fielding percentage. He also hit .310 in ACC regular-season games.

Tigers Sweep Central Florida in Orlando Clemson swept Central Florida by a combined score of 24-9 in a three-game series at Orlando, FL from May 15-17. Clemson outhit the Knights .325 to .257 and totaled 17 extra-base hits, including nine doubles, two triples, and six home runs. Ben Paulsen went 6-for-13 (.462). Kyle Parker also hit a home run in each game and totaled six RBIs in the series. The Tiger pitching staff had a 2.33 ERA and struck out 24 against only six walks as well.

In game-one on May 15, D.J. Mitchell struck out nine in 7.0 innings pitched to lead Clemson to a 9-1 win over Central Florida at Jay Bergman Field. Mitchell earned the win by allowing just five hits, one run, and two walks with nine strikeouts. Justin Sarratt pitched 2.0 scoreless innings of one-hit ball to close out the victory. Paulsen hit a two-run triple in the first inning, then Clemson added four runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by Stan Widmann’s two-run triple. Parker also hit a solo homer in the fifth inning. Paulsen and Widmann both totaled three RBIs, as Widmann had a game-high three hits. Parker was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and hit-by-pitch.

In game-two on May 16, Parker and Jeff Schaus both hit home runs to lead Clemson to a 7-3 win over Central Florida at Jay Bergman Field. Parker’s two-run homer in the fifth inning gave Clemson the lead for good, then Schaus hit a two-out, three-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Tigers a four-run lead. Sanders went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs for the Tigers, who outhit Central Florida 12-8 and had seven extra-base hits. Doug Hogan added three hits, including two doubles. Starter Matt Vaughn pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to pick up the save.

In game-three on May 17, Clemson scored three runs in the eighth inning to rally for an 8-5 win over Central Florida at Jay Bergman Field. Sanders’ solo homer in the eighth tied the score, then Mike Freeman run-scoring single gave Clemson the lead for good. Parker and Wilson Boyd added long balls for the Tigers, who totaled 12 hits in the game. Freeman and Paulsen had a team-tying-high three hits apiece, while Parker tallied three RBIs. Shane Brown hit two home runs for Central Florida, who had 14 hits. Sarratt pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win, while Vaughn pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to record the save.

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