May 27, 2000
Clemson (47-16) will matchup against Middle Tennessee in the championship round of the Clemson Regional Sunday at 2:00 PM. Clemson will be the visiting team in that game. If the top-seeded Tigers win, they will advance to the Super Regional to be played next week. If fourth-seeded Middle Tennessee wins, the two teams will square off again Sunday at 7:00 PM.
Clemson will start freshman righthander Jarrod Schmidt (8-0, 3.63 ERA) on the mound. Four of Schmidt’s last five starts have been away from home. Middle Tennessee’s probable starter will be senior righthander Jamie Powers (3-4, 4.94 ERA). Powers has started 13 games and relieved in four others. He has a .256 opponent batting average along with 43 strikeouts in 58.1 innings.
The only meeting between the two teams came in the first round of the Clemson Regional on May 26. The Tigers won that game 4-0 behind Ryan Mottl’s shutout. The Blue Raiders managed just four hits in that game. Middle Tennessee won both games Saturday. The Blue Raiders defeated Old Dominion 6-5 and Illinois 4-3. Clemson defeated Illinois 9-3 Saturday.
A Closer Look at Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee enters the game at Clemson on Sunday with a 39-22 overall record and #4 seed after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship. The Blue Raiders started the season 3-9, but have finished strong, going 23-6 down the stretch. Middle Tennessee also enters the regional winners of nine games in its last 10 contests. The Blue Raiders are 14-14 on opponents’ home fields. As a team, they are hitting .293 with a 4.43 ERA. Middle Tennessee is also 14-4 in one-run games this season.
Bryan Peck leads the Blue Raiders with a .410 batting average along with 25 doubles, 17 homers, and 81 RBIs. Josh Renick is second on the team with a .332 average along with 21 of the team’s 53 steals. Josh Pride is hitting .315 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs. Former Clemson pitcher Jeff Parsons is hitting .267 with three homers and 23 RBIs.
The Blue Raiders are making their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1995, when they played in a regional at Fresno, CA. Ironically, their last three regional appearances have been in the state of California. In 1982, they were one win away from playing in the College World Series. Middle Tennessee is 7-17 in NCAA Tournament play in its history.
Middle Tennessee is led by 13th-year Head Coach Steve Peterson. Peterson needs just one win to become the school’s all-time winningest coach.
Five-Run Eighth Inning Propels Tigers to 9-3 Win Over Illinois Clemson scored five runs in the eighth inning and Kevin Lynn pitched 5.1 outstanding innings in relief as the Tigers downed Illinois 9-3 in the second round of the Clemson Regional on May 27. Lynn, who relieved Scott Berney in the fourth inning, allowed two hits, one run, and no walks to run his record to 4-1. Clemson scored three runs on three separate Illinois wild pitches, as the Tigers had just four RBIs in the contest. Clemson, who had just six hits, was led by Casey Stone, who had two hits. Brian Ellis walked three times and scored three times as well. Justin Singleton, who was a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, lined a key two-run triple in the eighth inning off lefthander Andy Dickinson. It was just Singleton’s 12th at bat against a lefty all season. Khalil Greene’s 20-game hitting streak came to an end, as he was robbed twice by outstanding defensive plays.
Mottl Shuts Out Middle Tennessee in Clemson Regional Opener No current Tiger had pitched a shutout coming into Clemson’s game with Middle Tennessee in the first round of the Clemson Regional on May 26, but Ryan Mottl changed that by allowing just four hits and one walk in 9.0 innings as Clemson defeated the Blue Raiders 4-0. The last shutout by a Tiger came against Florida State in 1996, when Ken Vining blanked the Seminoles. Mottl also pitched back-to-back complete games for the first time since 1996 (Kris Benson). Mottl, who set the Clemson record with his 66th career start, struck out eight and improved to 9-3 in 2000 and 22-2 at home in his career. He had command of all his pitches, including his specialty pitch called a “fosh”. Jeff Baker added two solo homers in his first career NCAA Tournament game. Baker had two homers two games ago against Virginia, therefore hit four homers in the last three games. Khalil Greene also extended his hitting streak to 20 games with his first inning double down the right-field line. Casey Stone added a clutch two-out, run-scoring hit and a sacrifice fly as well. Former Tiger pitcher Jeff Parsons, who pitched in Tigertown as a freshman in 1997, allowed four runs and nine hits in 7.1 innings, as he suffered the loss. The meeting between Clemson and Middle Tennessee was the first.
Pitching, Fielding Dominating Clemson Regional In five games in the Clemson Regional, the four teams have combined for a 3.26 ERA and .233 opponent batting average. There have only been 77 hits in 88.1 innings pitched. The four teams have also combined for an outstanding .968 fielding percentage, as there have been many dazzling plays in the field. Old Dominion has the regional’s best team batting average at .250, while Clemson’s 1.50 ERA is best as well.
In Clemson’s two games, the Tigers are hitting .242, but have a .360 on-base percentage thanks to 11 walks. Casey Stone leads the team with a .429 average in the regional. Justin Singleton also has two hits (double, triple) in three at bats. The Tigers have used just three pitchers. They have allowed just 11 hits, just two for extra bases (both doubles).
Clemson’s NCAA Tournament History Clemson (47-16) enters Sunday’s game against Middle Tennessee with more wins already than its totaled since 1996, when Clemson finished 51-17. The Tigers have now participated in 26 NCAA Tournaments overall and 14 in a row. Clemson has also won at least one game in all 14 of the regionals. Only Miami (FL), Florida State, and Oklahoma State have longer current streaks. Clemson’s 26 appearances also ranks seventh in the nation, while the 14-year run ranks tied for sixth all-time in NCAA history. Clemson has a 66-53 (.555) all-time record in the tournament, including a 37-27 (.578) record during the 14-year run. Jack Leggett has a 21-13 (.618) record in NCAA Tourney play as the Tiger Head Coach as well. Leggett was 4-10 in the tourney at Western Carolina in five years (1985-89), therefore is 25-23 (.521) in his career in 11 NCAA Tournaments.
Clemson, who is hosting for the first time in the new regional format, has hosted six times previously, with the last coming in 1998. Clemson went 1-2 in that regional and fell to eventual National Champion Southern California. The Tigers also hosted in 1980 (3-0), 1981 (0-2), 1994 (2-2), 1995 (4-0), and 1996 (4-0). Therefore, Clemson has a 16-6 (.727) record in tournament play as the host school. Clemson advanced to the College World Series in three of the previous six host seasons (1980, 1995, 1996). Clemson has played in the College World Series eight times in its history.
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