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2007 Clemson Baseball Recap

July 24, 2007

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The 2007 season saw Clemson continue several records of success. The Tigers extended their streak of consecutive 39-win seasons to 22. Clemson also earned its 21st straight regional appearance and played in a super regional for the seventh time in the ninth year of the format.

Head Coach Jack Leggett also joined a distinguished club. With a 5-0 win at Maryland on March 25, he became just the 29th head coach in Division I history to reach the 1,000-win mark. He also became the second-youngest coach, at 53 years and 20 days, to reach the historic figure.

Clemson continued its tradition of playing rigorous schedules, as 34 of the Tigers’ 64 games were against teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Clemson compiled an 18-16 record against the teams in the field, including an 11-10 record away from home. The Tigers, who totaled 22 come-from-behind wins, also went 11-9 against top-25 ranked teams, including winning 10 of the last 14 games.

The pitching staff finished the season with a 3.73 team ERA. Daniel Moskos was one of the leaders of the pitching staff with six saves and 27 appearances, including 10 starts. He struck out 78 in 79.1 innings pitched and had a 3.29 ERA.

D.J. Mitchell, one of the most versatile pitchers on the staff, made seven starts on the mound to go along with 33 starts in the outfield. The sophomore righthander was 5-0 with a 3.27 ERA in 15 appearances. At the plate, he had a .208 batting average along with two home runs.

A trio of Tigers finished the season with six wins. Sophomore lefthander Ryan Hinson made 14 starts in 19 appearances and finished 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA, fifth-best in the ACC. Junior righthander David Kopp was 6-3 in a team-high 99.2 innings pitched over 18 starts and had a 3.79 ERA. Junior Alan Farina was the final Tiger with six wins, as he was 6-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 appearances. The righthander struck out 72 in 57.1 innings pitched and had an opponents’ batting average of .206.

Stephen Clyne emerged as one of the top relievers with a 5-2 record and 2.58 ERA in a team-leading 31 appearances, all out of the bullpen. Other key contributors included Matt Vaughn, who in 16 appearances was 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA. P.J. Zocchi also was 4-2 in 17 appearances, including nine starts.

Clemson returned only four starters in the field from the 2006 squad that finished 53-16 and played in the College World Series. Andy D’Alessio, Taylor Harbin, Stan Widmann, and Brad Chalk were joined by veterans Marquez Smith and Doug Hogan along with freshmen Wilson Boyd, Addison Johnson, Ben Paulsen, J.D. Burgess, and Alex Lee.

Chalk led Clemson offensively with a .366 batting average and .483 on-base percentage thanks to 32 walks and only 16 strikeouts. He had a streak of reaching base via a hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch that lasted 50 games from 2006 to 2007. Hogan also was a leader at the plate, hitting .350 with 13 homers, 15 doubles, and 46 RBIs thanks in part to a 12-for-20 performance in the NCAA Tournament.

D’Alessio again led the Tigers in power production, as he hit 17 homers with 50 RBIs and a .634 slugging percentage. Joining D’Alessio in the power department were Harbin and Smith. Smith, who was the only Tiger to start all 64 games, tied for second on the team with 13 homers, and he added 13 doubles, 56 RBIs, a .560 slugging percentage. Harbin hit 11 homers along with 19 doubles for a .510 slugging percentage and team-high 62 RBIs.

Widmann looked to have a promising year at shortstop before a neck injury forced him out after only six games. In those games, he batted .409 with six RBIs and a .682 slugging percentage. With Widmann’s injury, Burgess was thrust into action and led the team with 13 sacrifice bunts in 55 games. He also hit .340 in the last 14 games.

Johnson and Boyd provided solid play in the outfield and contributed at the plate during their freshman seasons. Boyd appeared in 62 games, batting .285 with 30 RBIs. Johnson started 58 games and hit .286 with 25 walks and 23 RBIs. He was one of the hottest Tigers in the NCAA Tournament, as he was 10-for-20 in the last six games.

Paulsen held down the DH spot for a majority of the season, as he hit .258 with five homers and 20 RBIs. Lee proved to be a reliable bat off the bench, hitting .288 in 37 games. Like Johnson, he had many clutch hits down the stretch.

Following the season, Smith was named First-Team All-ACC, the lone first-team selection for the Tigers. Moskos, Chalk, and Harbin all made the second team. Moskos, Vaughn, and Lee were also All-ACC Academic selections.

The Tigers had a school-record 11 players taken in the Major League Draft, tied for second-most in the nation. Seven Tigers were taken within the first eight rounds, including Moskos with the #4 overall pick of the draft by the Pirates. It tied for the second-highest draft pick in school history in any sport.

For the second consecutive season, the Tigers found themselves ranked #1 by Baseball America before they even played a game. Clemson started the year hosting George Mason. The Tigers won the season-opener 14-0 and dropped game-two 5-1. Clemson rebounded with a come-from-behind 5-4 victory to win the series.

The following week, the Tigers welcomed High Point and Pacific to Doug Kingsmore Stadium and responded with four wins in four games. The Tigers defeated High Point 11-3 in a fog-shortened, six-inning game and swept Pacific with three come-from-behind wins.

The Tigers split their next four games, all against in-state opponents. After defeating Winthrop 6-4, Clemson was swept by #4 South Carolina in a weekend home-and-home series by scores of 12-0 and 3-2. Clemson rebounded by defeating Coastal Carolina 4-0 in a preview of a regional matchup.

Clemson wrapped up non-conference, weekend play against Memphis. Clemson took two of three games from Memphis, including a four-hitter in the series-clinching 7-2 win. Following a three-hit shutout of Georgia Southern, Clemson headed into ACC play with an 11-4 record.

The Tigers swept Duke at home by a combined score of 22-12. Harbin’s three-run homer paced the Tigers to a 6-4 opening victory. After a 7-2 win in game-two, Clemson capped off the sweep with a 9-6 victory in which every Tiger starter scored a run. Vaughn also picked up his first career victory.

Clemson traveled to Cullowhee, NC for a midweek game and lost 6-3 to Western Carolina. Mitchell hit his first career home run and Clyne had his consecutive-scoreless-inning streak come to an end at 31.1 innings. Clemson continued on the road to Maryland, where the Terrapins took two of three from the Tigers even though Clemson outscored Maryland by a combined score of 9-8 in the series.

The Tigers’ offense exploded the next two games, picking up victories over Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina. In the 14-2 win over Gardner-Webb, Paulsen went 5-for-5 with a homer and six RBIs. The following night against the Catamounts, the potent offense continued, as 10 Tigers had a hit and 12 scored at least one run in the 15-6 win.

Miami (FL) took two of the three games from the Tigers during a weekend series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. After Clemson built a 3-0 lead, the Hurricanes responded with 10 unanswered runs to take the opener. The loss snapped Clemson’s 21-game home ACC winning streak and seven-game winning streak over the Hurricanes. The following night, three Tiger pitchers combined to three-hit Miami in Clemson’s 4-1 victory. Miami took the series with a rain-soaked 7-6 win in game-three.

Clemson then took on Georgia in the annual midweek, home-and-home series. In Athens, the Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 4-2 behind Farina’s 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. The following night at Clemson, the teams combined to score 21 runs and used 13 pitchers. The Tigers were down by five runs on two separate occasions, but they rallied each time. Johnson drove in Mitchell with a walkoff double to win the game 11-10 . Clemson swept the regular-season series with Georgia for the first time since 2004.

Clemson continued its winning ways in Blacksburg, as it swept Virginia Tech. In game-one, Smith hit a two-run homer deep into the night to lead Clemson to a 6-3 win in a game that started on April 6 and ended the next day due to snow. After Kopp pitched 7.0 innings to lead Clemson to an 8-5 victory in game-two, the Tigers swept the series with a 5-2 win on Hogan’s three-run homer to left field in the 10th inning.

The Tigers continued to play well on the road in the ACC, as they took two of three games from Wake Forest. In the series, the Clemson pitching staff combined for 30 strikeouts against only four walks. Boyd, Chalk, and Paulsen each had five hits apiece to lead the Tigers in the series. Moskos, making just his second career start, pitched 6.0 strong innings to help lead the Tigers to a 6-2 series-opening win. After dropping a 6-5 decision in game-two, Clemson escaped with a 5-4 win in game-three to claim the series. The game was called in the bottom of the ninth due to inclement weather.

Clemson then headed to Columbia to take on #4 South Carolina in game-three of the season series. Behind four solo homers, the Gamecocks defeated the Tigers 4-2 to clinch the season series. D’Alessio was responsible for both Tiger runs, as he had an RBI groundout and solo home run.

Clemson returned home for an 11-game homestand that started with the Tigers hosting #6 Virginia. The series proved to be a pitching battle, as the teams combined to score only 14 runs. The Tiger pitching staff had a 1.33 ERA in the series, allowing only four earned runs in 27.0 innings pitched. After dropping game-one 5-3 and game-two 3-0, the Tigers took game-three of the series with a 2-1 victory. Hinson, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, pitched 6.1 scoreless innings of one-hit ball lead the Tigers to the win.

The Tigers then dropped a 13-12 slugfest to Elon. Hogan led the Tigers with a grand slam and solo homer. The following night, Clemson welcomed #5 South Carolina to town for the final game of the season series. The Tigers pounded the Gamecocks 14-5, as all 10 Tigers who played in the field scored at least one run and nine had at least one hit. Boyd went 2-for-4 and received the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson’s MVP in the series.

The following weekend saw the Tigers welcome #19 Georgia Tech to Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers claimed game-one with a come-from-behind 3-2 win in 11 innings. Hogan hit a walkoff homer to lift the Tigers to victory after they trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Riding momentum from the previous game, the Tigers defeated the Yellow Jackets again in game-two by a score of 10-3. D’Alessio went 4-for-4 with two solo homers to pace the Tigers. Clemson scored in seven of the eight innings in which it batted. The Tigers dropped the final game, as Georgia Tech won 6-3.

After a break for final exams, the Tigers welcomed Boston College in the first-ever meetings between the teams at Clemson. D’Alessio helped get the Tigers off to a good start in the series with a leadoff home run in the eighth inning to lead the Tigers to a 4-3 victory. Following a back-and-forth battle in game-two that saw the Tigers on the short end of an 8-6 decision, Smith led Clemson to a series victory in a 7-6 come-from-behind win. In the contest, Smith hit a two-run homer early in the game and blasted a grand slam in the seventh inning to put Clemson ahead for good. He was 3-for-4 with two homers, a double, and six RBIs in the game.

Clemson then played back-to-back games against Southern Conference teams Wofford and Furman. The Wofford game, held at Greenville’s West End Field, was an offensive explosion for the Tigers. They totaled 15 hits, including five home runs, and nine walks. D’Alessio led the Tiger attack with two home runs, while Harbin, Hogan, and Paulsen each added solo long balls. The following night, Clemson hosted Furman and fell by a score of 6-3.

Clemson then ventured to Tallahassee to take on #2 Florida State. After Florida State trounced the Tigers 11-1 in the opening game, Clemson responded with a 7-6 come-from-behind win in game-two. The Tigers fell behind 6-1, but the offense began battling back. Farina held the Seminole bats at bay, pitching 4.1 scoreless innings of relief. The Tigers’ comeback was completed by a three-run ninth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Harbin. The loss was the Seminoles’ first of the year when leading at any time past the third inning.

In the deciding game of the series, D’Alessio led the Clemson offense, going 3-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs in an 11-6 victory. Mitchell, making his first career weekend start, pitched 6.0 effective innings to earn the win. The victory gave the Tigers their first series victory in Tallahassee since 1993. Clemson also handed Florida State its only series loss of the season at home.

The Tigers returned to Doug Kingsmore Stadium for their final home game of the season against College of Charleston. Behind a 10-run fourth inning, Clemson won 19-7 to improve its record to 18-0 all-time against the Cougars. Every Tiger starter scored at least one run and the leadoff batter reached base in all eight innings in which Clemson batted. With the win, the Tigers finished the season 25-11 at home.

Clemson took to the road for its final regular-season series in Raleigh to face N.C. State. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Tigers rebounded to win the series-finale 6-3 behind Hogan along with strong pitching performances from Hinson and Zocchi. Hogan went 3-for-5 with a homer, double, and three RBIs. Hinson pitched 2.0 innings of one-hit ball in relief to earn the win and Zocchi picked up the save with 2.1 shutout innings. With the victory, the Tigers finished in second place in the ACC Atlantic Division and earned the #4 seed for the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (FL).

In game-one in Jacksonville, Clemson defeated Miami 5-4 on Lee’s walkoff suicide squeeze bunt in the 13th inning. Farina pitched 3.2 innings of one-hit ball to earn the win. The following day, Wake Forest defeated Clemson 3-2 on a walkoff single. In the Tigers’ third game, Kopp pitched his first career complete game and led the Tigers to a 5-1 victory over #3 Florida State. Kopp allowed six hits, one unearned run, and struck out seven to earn All-ACC Tournament honors. With the win, the Tigers handed Bryan Henry his first loss in 15 decisions in 2007, and Clemson defeated the Seminoles three times in four meetings, all in the state of Florida. However, Clemson did not advance to the championship game due to the tiebreaker in the new round-robin format.

Clemson headed to Coastal Federal Field to play in the Myrtle Beach (SC) Regional during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Clemson, seeded #2, took on Saint John’s in the opening game of the regional. Chalk hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth to cap Clemson’s 3-2 come-from-behind win. Moskos pitched a career-high 8.0 effective innings, allowing only one run on seven hits. With the win, the Tigers advanced to meet host Coastal Carolina in the winners’ bracket. Clemson won 11-8 behind D’Alessio’s 3-for-4 day that included two doubles, a homer, and four RBIs. Boyd, Harbin, and Hogan each joined D’Alessio with three hits apiece to lead the Tigers’ 16-hit attack.

Clemson then pounded out 20 hits in the championship game of the regional and defeated Coastal Carolina 15-3. Four different Tigers, including Smith, Chalk, D’Alessio, and Harbin, had at least three hits for the second game in a row. Mitchell pitched 5.0 innings to earn the win. D’Alessio was named regional MVP after going 6-for-12 with three doubles, two homers, six RBIs, and six runs scored. Joining D’Alessio on the all-tournament team were Chalk, Harbin, Hogan, and Smith. With the win, the Tigers advanced to the Starkville (MS) Super Regional.

In the opener in Starkville, Clemson lost game-one 8-6 after Mississippi State rallied back from a 5-2 deficit. D’Alessio hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning for his 59th career home run, tying the Clemson career record. Harbin and Hogan also added solo blasts in the contest.

The following day, the Bulldogs advanced to Omaha with an 8-5 win in front of a super-regional record 13,715 fans. Smith and Hogan led the Tiger attack with three hits apiece. In the series, Hogan was 5-for-7 (.714) with two homers and three RBIs, while he also ended the season on a 15-game hitting streak. Johnson (3-for-5) and Smith (4-for-7) were among the other leading Tiger hitters.

Clemson finished the season with a 41-23 record and was ranked #15 by Baseball America, #12 by Collegiate Baseball, and #13 by Sports Weekly.

For the fourth year in a row, Clemson set a home attendance record. The Tigers averaged 4,810 fans in 34 home dates.