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Baseball Notes: 03/26/02

Baseball Notes: 03/26/02

March 26, 2002

Game Notes in PDF Format

Clemson vs. Coastal Carolina Number-one ranked Clemson (18-1) will face Coastal Carolina (16-8) Tuesday at 7:15 PM in the first of two games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game two will start at 3:00 PM Wednesday.

Righthander Matt Henrie (4-0) will start Tuesday for the Tigers. Henrie has a 2.03 ERA and has walked just six batters in 31.0 innings pitched this season. In his last three starts, Henrie is 3-0 and has allowed just one earned run in 20.1 innings pitched for a 0.44 ERA. Lefthander Justin Sturge is slated to start for the Chanticleers. Sturge enters the contest with a 5-1 record and 0.98 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched. He is allowing opposing batters to hit a meager .185.

Wednesday’s starter for the Tigers will be B.J. LaMura, who will be making his first career start. LaMura has appeared in four games and 10.0 innings. The junior righty has allowed just one run on three hits while striking out nine. The Chanticleers have yet to decide on a starter for game two.

Clemson and Coastal Carolina have faced two common opponents in 2002, South Carolina and Purdue. Clemson defeated the Gamecocks twice in two games, while the Chanticleers fell to South Carolina 11-2. Clemson also swept Purdue, while Coastal Carolina took two of three games during the Boilermakers southern road trip.

The Chanticleers are coming off a three-game series with Kent. The Golden Flashes took two of three games in Conway. Coastal Carolina is hitting .286 as a team and is led at the plate by catcher Randy McGarvey, who is hitting .368 with two homers and 12 RBIs. Outfielder Ryan McGraw is hitting .353 and already had 22 steals in 23 attempts. As a team, Coastal Carolina had stolen 66 bases in 73 attempts in 24 games. Third-baseman Adam Keim is the Chanticleers’ leading power hitter, belting six homers and driving in 24 runs to go along with a .327 batting average.

Clemson Garners #1 Ranking in Two Polls Thanks to its best start since 1995, Clemson (18-1) has earned a #1 ranking by Collegiate Baseball and ESPN/Baseball Weekly. It is the first #1 ranking in baseball since the March 27, 2000 Collegiate Baseball poll that had the Tigers ranked #1. The last time the coaches’ poll ranked the Tigers #1 was midway through the 1995 season, when Clemson finished 54-14 and made an appearance in the College World Series after starting the season with a 25-1 record.

“It’s a compliment to how hard our players and assistant coaches have been working,” states Head Coach Jack Leggett. “There’s a lot of responsibility being ranked #1 in the country. We have to go out and practice hard every day and be ready every time we come out on the field. I think the ranking will be a good motivator for us. We still have to take one game at a time. We can’t let guard down if we want to stay #1.”

The #1 ranking marks the ninth time a Tiger team has been ranked #1 by one of the three baseball polls. The 1977 team was ranked #1 for a two-week, one-poll span in March by Collegiate Baseball, when it opened the season 26-0. In 1994, Collegiate Baseball ranked the Tigers #1 for four consecutive weeks late in the season, while the coaches’ poll had the Tigers #1 for three weeks, and Baseball America for two weeks. Clemson was ranked #1 by all three polls in the March 27, 1995 poll and was last ranked #1 by Collegiate Baseball for two straight weeks in mid-2000. Clemson is ranked #2 in this week’s Baseball America poll, trailing only Stanford.

Tigers Sweep Maine Behind outstanding pitching, Clemson swept Jack Leggett’s alma mater of Maine from March 21-23 by a combined score of 29-3. Tiger pitchers did not allow an earned run in the series, as all three Black Bear runs were unearned.

Clemson took game one by an 8-0 score. Matt Henrie pitched 7.0 scoreless innings to earn his fourth win. Game two featured more of the same, as Steven Jackson pitched 6.0 innings, allowing no runs, no walks, and just two hits in Clemson’s 13-0 victory. The Tigers had to rally in game three to down Maine 8-3, as Steve Reba picked up win #6.

Greene Named National Player-ofthe Week Khalil Greene was named a Louisville Slugger National Player-of-the-Week by Collegiate Baseball and the ACC Player-of-the-Week on March 18 after batting 16-for-22 (.727) with six home runs and 17 RBIs in Clemson’s five games the previous week. The awards were the first for Greene, as he joined Jeff Baker and Michael Johnson as Tigers who have been named ACC Player-of-the-Week in 2002.

The senior was also named an All-American Athlete for 2002 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association for his athletic, academic, and personal achievements as well as his leadership and community involvement. Greene led all fielders in the Omaha Challenge, Clemson’s offseason strength and conditioning competition.

When he went deep in his last at-bat on against South Alabama, Greene tied a school record, homering in five straight games, a feat accomplished only by Matthew LeCroy (1996) and Michael Johnson (2001). Greene also recently had a 14-game hitting streak. He leads the team in hits (41), doubles (12) and RBIs (33) while leading the team and the ACC in batting average (.532) and slugging percentage (1.000).

Greene Closing in on RBI Record Khalil Greene assured himself a spot in the Clemson batting record books last season when he set new standards for being hit by a pitch in an inning (2), game (3), season (21) and career (47). But the senior is making a name for himself in many other categories of the Clemson record book this season.

He doubled three times in an 11-10 victory over South Carolina, tying a Clemson record. It was the third time he accomplished the feat. Greene is near the top of many career categories, and is currently tied for the most career RBIs in Clemson history, with 218. He is nearing the top of many other categories, including third in doubles (74), fourth in hits (310), fourth in at-bats (861), fifth in total bases (495), tied for 6th in runs scored (199), eighth in games played (220), and 10th in home runs (33). The outstanding defensive player also set a new Clemson mark last season for fielding percentage by a shortstop. His .965 fielding percentage broke Bill Spiers record. He has a very respectable .941 fielding percentage in 2002.

Category        Leader               Greene RankRBIs            Jim McCollom (218)      T-1st (218)Doubles         Kurt Bultmann (82)      3rd (74)Hits            Shane Monahan (337)     4th (310)At-Bats         Bert Heffernan (993)    4th (861)Total Bases     Shane Monahan (535)     5th (495)Runs Scored     Bert Heffernan (285)    T-6th (199)Games           Bert Heffernan (259)    8th (220)Home Runs       Matthew LeCroy (53)     10th  (33)

Baker Moves Up Career Home Run List Third-baseman Jeff Baker moved into 6th place on Clemson’s all-time career home run list with two home runs in the season opener against Purdue and is moving up the charts. After his two-homer performance against UNC Asheville, the junior now has 39 career home runs and is within reach of Matthew LeCroy’s school record of 53 home runs.

Clemson Career Home Run ListPlayer          Years   HRs Matthew LeCroy  (1995-96-97)    53Jim McCollom    (1982-83-84-85) 52Eric Macrina    (1988-89-90-91) 51Jim Crowley     (1988-89-90-91) 43Kurt Bultmann   (1996-97-98-99) 43Jeff Baker      (2000-present)  39

Middle of the Lineup Going Deep Often The 3-4-5 batters (Khalil Greene, Jeff Baker, Michael Johnson) of the Clemson lineup have packed a punch so far this season. They have combined for 24 home runs, with many of them coming in the same game. Jeff Baker broke out of a slump to blast two home runs against UNC Asheville on March 19. Khalil Greene hit two solo home runs against South Alabama on March 16 as a part of his six-homer week. Michael Johnson homered twice against College of Charleston on March 6, which gave him six home runs in the Tigers’ first six games. When Johnson smashed a three-run homer against UNC Asheville, it was his 30th career home run, joining him with Greene and Baker as the only active Tigers with at least 30 career home runs.

The feat of one player homering twice in a game was a somewhat frequent occurrence for the Tigers in 2001, and the trend is continuing in 2002. When Baker went deep twice against UNC Asheville, it was the ninth time in his career that he hit two homers in the same game. He leads Clemson in that category. Clemson had 10 multi-home run games last season, the most in school history.

Multi HR Games in 2002Player  Multi HR Games  Opponent(s) Jeff Baker      2       Auburn, 2/22, UNC Asheville, 3/19Michael Johnson 2       South Carolina, 3/3, College of Charleston, 3/6Khalil Greene   1       South Alabama, 3/16

Multi HR Games in 2001 Player Multi HR Games Jeff Baker 5 Michael Johnson 3 Jarrod Schmidt 2

Multi HR Games in a Season by Individual Player Multi HR Games Year Jeff Baker 5 2001 Matthew LeCroy 4 1997 Eric Macrina 3 1991 Michael Johnson 3 2001 19 tied at 2 including current Tigers: Jarrod Schmidt 2 2001 Jeff Baker 2 2000

Return of the Long Ball Clemson has continued to launch the long ball in 2002 after a big 2001 season. Entering the Coastal Carolina series, the Tigers have 39 home runs in 19 games. If the pace contnues, the team will finish with approximately 115 home runs at the end of the 56-game regular season. That would be the best team home run figure in Clemson history.

The 1991 team set a school record with 111 home runs in 70 games. The 1997 team launched 95 home runs in 64 games as well. After hitting only 37 long balls in 2000, the proliferation of home runs returned to Clemson in 2001. The Tigers smashed 85 home runs last season in 63 games, more than double the output of 2000. Fifteen of the 37 homers in 2000 came at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, while Clemson more than tripled the total and hit 54 out of Kingsmore Stadium in 2001. The fences to the stadium were moved in 10 feet prior to the start of 2001 to help counter the brisk win that usually blows straight in from centerfield.

Pitchers Showing Control After some hurlers had trouble gaining command of their pitches early in the season, the Clemson pitching staff is beginning to find its control. In the last five games, Clemson pitchers have combined for just four walks, while striking out 42. That has directly related to Clemson allowing just five earned runs during the five-game span.

Johnson Named ACC Player-of-the-Week Clemson first baseman Michael Johnson was named ACC Player-of-the-Week for March 4. The honor was the first for Johnson, who was named MVP of the Clemson Regional in 2001. The Georgetown, SC native batted 6-for-11 (.545) with seven RBIs in three Tiger victories over the weekend.

Johnson began the weekend by going 2-for-4 with an RBI against College of Charleston. He hit the game-winning home run in Clemson’s 9-7 victory over South Carolina on Saturday and then blasted two more home runs and a double on Sunday as the Tigers defeated the Gamecocks 11-10 in 10 innings. He was the second Tiger to be named Player-of-the-Week by the ACC in 2002. Jeff Baker shared the honors Feb. 25.

Team Breaks Single Game Batting Average Record When Clemson defeated Georgia Southern 20-8 on March 12, the offense pounded out 23 hits in only 44 at-bats for a batting average of .522, a new school record. The previous standard was set 20 years ago when the Tigers won 22-10 at Auburn on May 8, 1982. On that day, Clemson batted 29-for-56 (.518).

Clemson 5-0 vs. Ranked Teams With his team’s sweep of #25 Auburn and two wins over #4 South Carolina this season, Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett now has 97 wins over top-25 teams since taking the helm in 1994. Clemson’s wins over South Carolina were Leggett’s 25th and 26th over a team ranked in the top-five in one of the three major polls. His last top-five victory prior to Saturday was a 7-4 win at #4 South Carolina on March 4, 2001. Clemson defeated second-ranked Florida State three straight games from May 6-8, 2000, the last instance of consecutive victories over a top-five team before the South Carolina weekend in 2002.

Schmidt Now Fourth in Clemson Career Winning Percentage When junior Jarrod Schmidt picked up his second win of the season against South Carolina, he improved his career record to 18-3 on the mound, good enough for an .857 winning percentage. The mark ties him for fourth with Bill Parmer (1965-67), who also had an 18-3 record.

Baker Named ACC Co-Player of the Week Jeff Baker was named ACC Co-Player-of-the-Week on Feb. 25. The junior helped the Tigers to a three-game sweep of #25 Auburn by batting 5-for-10 with eight RBIs, including a single, two doubles, a triple, and a home run.

The Woodbridge, VA, native hit 3-for-5 with seven RBIs with runners in scoring position, including a three-run double in the eighth inning to lead Clemson to a 6-5 comeback victory over Auburn on Sunday. With two home runs in the season opener, Baker moved into sixth place on the school’s all-time career list with 36 career homers. Baker shared the honors with N.C. State’s Tim Coffield, who batted 8-for-13 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in three games against Coppin State.

Clemson Ranked Second in Preseason Expectations are always high for the baseball players and coaches at Clemson, but never have the expectations from the media been as high. Clemson was tabbed as the second best team in the preseason by Baseball America, the highest preseason prediction ever for the Clemson baseball program. Other preseason polls picked the Tigers among the nation’s elite. Baseball Weekly ranked Clemson fifth while Collegiate Baseball placed the Tigers sixth.

Clemson Picked to Win ACC The Atlantic Coast Conference’s nine head coaches selected Clemson as the top pick to win the conference championship in 2002 with five first place votes and 77 points.

The Tigers return seven position players and three starting pitchers from their 2001 squad which finished second in the ACC regular season standings and compiled an overall record of 41-22.

In the voting, Florida State finished a close second with 74 points and four first place votes after finishing the 2001 season as the regular-season champion. ACC Tournament Champion Wake Forest finished in third place, tallying 57 points. The Demon Deacons finished last season with a 44-18 overall record. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets filled the fourth place slot with 56 points, while North Carolina placed fifth in the balloting with 45 points. The Tar Heels were followed by N.C. State, who finished with 33 points, and then Duke with 29 points. Virginia was selected to finish eighth with 24 points and Maryland ninth with nine points.

2002 ACC Coaches Preseason Predicted Order of Finish        School                  Points          2001 Record/Finish        1. CLEMSON (5)          77              41-22, 17-7 ACC        2. Florida State (4)    74              47-19, 20-4 ACC        3. Wake Forest          57              44-18, 16-8 ACC        4. Georgia Tech         56              41-20, 13-11 ACC        5. North Carolina       45              31-26, 9-15 ACC        6. N.C. State           33              32-29, 9-15 ACC        7. Duke                 29              23-33, 10-13 ACC        8. Virginia             24              25-31, 9-15 ACC        9. Maryland             9               17-37, 4-19 ACC

Four Tigers Named Preseason All-Americans Steve Reba, and Jarrod Schmidt were all named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association 2002 preseason All-America teams.

Johnson and Baker were selected to the first team, Reba was a second-team selection, and Schmidt garnered third-team honors. Baker and Schmidt were also named to Baseball America’s 2002 Preseason All-America teams. Baker was a first-team selection, while Schmidt garnered second-team honors.

Scouting directors of major league clubs voted on the Baseball America preseason teams and made their selections based on performance, talent, and major league potential.

Tigers Eyeing Return to Omaha Jack Leggett’s program will be looking to repeat some of its own recent history in 2002 with a return to the College World Series. After losing in the Super Regional to Texas A&M in 1999, the 2000 team came back strong and advanced to Omaha. Now, the 2002 Tigers hope to advance past last year’s Super Regional loss to eventual national champion Miami (FL) and make Clemson’s 10th appearance in the College World Series.

Omaha is literally on the minds of the players everyday. All of their hats have the word “Omaha” stitched inside the paw on the back of their caps. As a part of their warmups for practice, the players jog to the outfield and touch the banner signifying Clemson’s last CWS appearance in 2000. On their way in and out of the clubhouse from the dugout, players touch a home plate that hangs on the wall. The plate is a memento from one of the Tigers’ CWS appearances in the 1990s that Head Coach Jack Leggett had dug up from Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. The 2002 team is hoping to add its own memorabilia to the Clemson baseball tradition.

Captains Named for 2002 Season Outfielder Khalil Greene, first-baseman Steve Reba were named team captains for the 2002 season, Head Coach Jack Leggett announced.

“After looking at the voting, the team decided we have a lot of capable leaders, but this group stands out,” Leggett said. “I think they will be outstanding leaders that will help guide this team to where it plans to be at the end of the year. All four are good examples of what this program is about in all different ways.”

Head Coach Jack Leggett Jack Leggett enters his ninth season at Clemson with a record of 380-155 (.710). Clemson has made the NCAA Tournament and won at least 40 games in all of his season at the helm. Since his arrival at Tiger Town in 1994, Clemson has been the fifth winningest program in the country.

Leggett came to Clemson from Western Carolina and was honored by his former school in October. He was inducted into the Western Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and his many accomplishments. He finished his nine-year Catamount career with a 302-226 (.572) record. Leggett led Western to an unprecedented five consecutive Southern Conference Championships and five straight NCAA tournament bids from 1985-89. Perhaps his most impressive statistic is the 100 percent graduation rate for all who played for him four seasons.

Recruiting Class Ranked Seventh by Collegiate Baseball The Clemson baseball recruiting class that enrolled in school in August, 2001 was ranked seventh in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Clemson had the highest-ranked class in the ACC. Only two other ACC schools were ranked in the top 30. Florida State was ranked ninth and Georgia Tech was ranked 14th.

“I’m extremely excited about the potential of this class,” said ninth-year head coach Jack Leggett. “Our staff has done a good job at getting these guys to come to Clemson, now it is up to them to go out there and perform. So far, I’m encouraged by what I see from this group.”

The class consists of 11 newcomers, nine freshmen and two junior college transfers, and features five players who were drafted in June’s MLB amateur draft. Tyler Lumsden was a fifth-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins. He is joined by other draftees David Slevin (11th, Rockies), Garrick Evans (23rd, Blue Jays), and Collin Mahoney (48th, Angels).

“Every year that (Associate Head Coach) Tim Corbin has been at Clemson, his hard work has paid off,” Leggett said. “Together with (Assistant Head Coach) Kevin O’Sullivan, they have been able to identify talent that has found success here. The three of us work well together in the recruiting process.”

Clemson One of Six Teams Never to Miss Super Regional Round Clemson’s 8-2 victory over Seton Hall last June marked the third consecutive year that Clemson advanced to at least the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament, which expanded from a 48- to 64-team field prior to the 1999 season. The expansion created the Super Regional Round, which pits the winners of 16 sub-regionals with the victors there advancing to the College World Series.

The Tigers won the Fayetteville, AR Regional in 1999 to advance to the Super Regional at Texas A&M, while in 2000 the Tigers won the Clemson Regional and advanced to host Mississippi State in the Super Regional.

Clemson is one of just six schools to appear in all three Super Regional rounds. The Tigers are joined by Florida State, LSU, Miami (FL), Southern California, and Stanford to make a Super Regional every year.

Clemson in the NCAA Tournament Clemson made its 27th appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 2001, the seventh-best total in the nation. It marked the 15th consecutive selection for the tournament, which is the third longest active streak. The Tigers are 73-57 all-time in the NCAA tournament, with nine appearances in the College World Series.