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#7 Tigers to Host Western Carolina on Tuesday

#7 Tigers to Host Western Carolina on Tuesday

April 3, 2006

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Clemson vs. Western Carolina Clemson (20-7), ranked as high as #7 in the nation, will play host to Western Carolina (17-11) on Tuesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM. The game will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson. Live stats will also be available at for the game.

The Starting Pitchers Western Carolina will start junior righthander Tyler Johnson (2-0, 6.16 ERA) on the mound Tuesday. The Lynnwood, WA native will be making his first career start, as he has previously made 10 relief appearances for a total of 19.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 21 hits and seven walks with 15 strikeouts. The first-year Catamount attended the same junior college (Edmonds Community College) as Tiger rightfielder Travis Storrer.

The Tigers will counter with freshman righty Matt Vaughn (0-0, 4.82 ERA). The Summerville, SC native will also be making his first career start, as he has made seven relief appearances (9.1 innings pitched). He has yielded nine hits and four walks with nine strikeouts.

The Series Clemson and Western Carolina have met 56 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 47-9 lead in the series that dates back to 1974. The two teams last played in 2005 at each team’s home ballpark. In a game that started in Cullowhee on April 12 and ended at Clemson a week later due to wet field conditions at Hennon Stadium, the Tigers came out on top 7-4. After the suspended game on April 19, the two played again, as Clemson was victorious 10-1. The two teams have played at least one game every year since 1978.

The Tigers lead 35-1 in games played at Clemson, all of which have been played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson’s one loss came in the first game of the series, a 4-3 Catamount win on March 13, 1974, meaning the Tigers have won 35 straight games in the series at home.

Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Leggett was the head coach at Western Carolina from 1983-91 and won 302 games in nine seasons there. He was also 3-15 against the Tigers as the Catamount skipper.

The Catamounts Western Carolina, led by seventh-year Head Coach Todd Raleigh, enters Tuesday’s game with a 17-11 overall record and 6-3 mark in the Southern Conference. Raleigh, who was a player at Western Carolina under Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett, led his team to two wins in three games at Appalachian State last weekend. The Catamounts sport a 5-9 road record as well.

Western Carolina is hitting .317 as a team with a .422 on-base percentage thanks to 134 walks and 60 hit-by-pitches. The Catamounts have also hit 59 doubles and 39 home runs, while averaging 8.8 runs per game. The team has swiped 45 bases in 59 attempts, including 12-13 by Grey Gregory. The team is fielding at a .951 clip as well. Trey McDaniel, a transfer from South Carolina, leads the club with a .404 batting average along with nine home runs and 33 RBIs. Blake Murphy is hitting .396 with 12 doubles, seven homers, and 43 RBIs, while Steven Strausbaugh has 14 homers and 38 RBIs as well.

The Catamount pitching staff has a 5.85 ERA and .292 opponents’ batting average. Former Clemson pitcher Brock Thornburg, who never made an appearance on the mound in a Tiger uniform, has a team-best two saves.

Former Tiger infielder Bradley LeCroy (1997-00), who was a volunteer assistant coach at Clemson from 2003-05, is an assistant coach on this year’s Western Carolina squad and serves as the first-base coach.

The Tigers Clemson enters Tuesday’s game with a 20-7 overall record and 6-3 ACC mark after sweeping Miami (FL) in a three-game series in Coral Gables over the weekend by a combined score of 28-9. The Tigers are 16-2 at home and have won eight straight at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Tigers are hitting .291 as a team with a .372 on-base percentage. Tyler Colvin leads the way with a .357 batting average, six homers, 24 RBIs, and nine stolen bases.

One of the hottest hitters in the country is Andy D’Alessio, who was named a national and ACC Player-of-the-Week on Monday. He was 11-for-21 (.524) with four doubles, four homers, and 16 RBIs in five games last week, all games against teams ranked in the top 20. In the last 10 games, he has seven home runs and 26 RBIs as well to raise his season totals to a .343 batting average, 10 doubles, nine homers, and 37 RBIs.

The pitching staff has a 2.89 ERA and .236 opponents’ batting average after allowing just four earned runs in the series at Miami. Both lefty Daniel Moskos and righty Steve Richard have four saves. Clemson is fielding at a .967 clip as well.

Worth Noting * Clemson is hitting .421 in the fifth inning, but just .200 in the sixth inning this season.

Polls Clemson moved up a spot to #7 in the Baseball America poll on Monday after a 4-1 week. The Tigers also climbed to #8 in the Collegiate Baseball and #7 in the Sports Weekly poll.

The Tigers’ #1 ranking by Baseball America on February 6, which Clemson held on to for a total of four weeks, was their first since May 13, 2002, when Clemson was ranked #1 in all three major polls. It was the earliest #1 ranking for the Clemson program in history, as the earliest #1 ranking prior to that was on March 20, 2000, when Collegiate Baseball had the Tigers #1. The Tigers have been ranked #1 for 19 weeks by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack Leggett’s 13th season at Clemson.

Tigers Up Win Streak Over Hurricanes to Seven Clemson swept #11 Miami (FL) in Coral Gables from March 31 to April 2 by a combined score of 28-9. And since the Tigers won all four meetings a year ago, Clemson improved to 7-0 against the Hurricanes since they joined the ACC prior to the 2005 season. In those seven games, Clemson has outscored Miami 67-19. Two of Miami’s first 14 ACC regular-season series were against Clemson, and only twice was Miami swept in three games. Both times were at the hands of the Tigers.

Harbin Keeps on Doubling, Fielding Sophomore second-baseman Taylor Harbin is hitting .315 with nine doubles in 22 games this season. In less than two full seasons, he already has 37 career doubles thanks to totaling 28 as a freshman in 2005. He has also committed just one error and has a .990 fielding percentage this season. For his career, he has committed just 10 errors for a .978 fielding percentage, a stellar mark for a middle infielder.

D’Alessio Coming of Age Since Clemson’s gut-wrenching sweep at the hands of Virginia from March 17-19, junior first-baseman Andy D’Alessio (Naples, FL) has come of age. In those 10 games, he is 17-for-42 (.405) with four doubles, seven homers, and 26 RBIs. Thanks to his surge, he is hitting .343 with 10 doubles, nine homers, and 37 RBIs on the season.

Like last year, D’Alessio struggled early in the season, but this year he is coming of age much earlier than last. He is also errorless in the field in 270 chances this season.

D’Alessio National & ACC Player-of-the-Week Junior first-baseman Andy D’Alessio was one of five players tabbed as National Players-of-the-Week by Collegiate Baseball on April 3. He was named ACC Player-of-the-Week as well for his efforts in five games from March 28 to April 2. In two games against #19 Georgia and three at #11 Miami (FL), he was 11-for-21 (.524) with seven runs scored, four doubles, four home runs, 16 RBIs, and a 1.286 slugging percentage, helping the Tigers to a 4-1 record. He had at least three RBIs and one extra-base hit in each of the five games. He has seven homers and 26 RBIs in the last 10 games to raise his season totals to nine homers, 37 RBIs, and a .343 batting average.

Casanova Shines in Hometown Senior catcher Adrian Casanova (Miami, FL) knew he would get at least one chance to play in front of a hometown crowd when he decided to transfer from Florida International prior to the 2005 season. That one opportunity came at #11 Miami from March 31 to April 2 at Mark Light Field. He did not disappoint, as Clemson swept the Hurricanes, thanks in part to the effort of the Tiger backstop.

On March 31, he hit a key two-run homer to help the Tigers to an 8-6 win. Then in the series-finale on April 2, he was 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and four RBIs in Clemson’s 14-1 victory. Casanova, who entered the series with just one homer and eight RBIs on the season, hit two long balls with six RBIs during the series in front of dozens of family and friends.

D’Alessio Leads Tigers to Sweep at Miami (FL) Clemson swept #11 Miami (FL) in Coral Gables by a combined score of 28-9 in three games from March 31 to April 2. The Tigers won by scores of 8-6, 6-2, and 14-1. Clemson, ranked #9 in the nation, out-hit Miami .304 to .211 and allowed just four earned runs (1.33 ERA) all weekend. The Tigers also had 14 extra-base hits to Miami’s four and held the Hurricanes to just 2-for-18 (.111) with runners in scoring position. Andy D’Alessio provided the big bat of the weekend, as he was 6-for-12 with three doubles, two homers, and nine RBIs in the series. Playing in his hometown, Adrian Casanova added two home runs and six RBIs as well.

In game one, Clemson outlasted the Hurricanes 8-6 on March 31. Casanova and Daniel Moskos pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to record the save.

In game two, the Tigers overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Hurricanes 6-2 on April 1. D’Alessio hit two homers with three RBIs, as Clemson out-hit Miami 10-6. Brad Chalk hit a game-tying, two-out single in the fifth inning, then Harbin followed with a double that scored Chalk to give Clemson the lead for good. D’Alessio hit an opposite-field, two-run homer to cap a three-run eighth inning. Jason Berken allowed four hits and two unearned runs with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched to earn the win, while Moskos struck out Yonder Alonso with the bases loaded in the ninth to pick up the save.

In game three, Clemson exploded for eight runs in the first inning on its way to a 14-1 win and series sweep of Miami on April 2. Casanova’s three-run homer capped the big first inning, then the Tigers scored five runs in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach. Six different Tigers had two hits apiece, as Clemson totaled 15 hits and batted around in an inning twice on the afternoon. Stephen Faris allowed just three hits, one unearned run, and no walks with four strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched to earn the win. Three other relievers combined to hold Miami to six hits in the game.