Search Shop
Baseball Prepares For 2004 Season

Baseball Prepares For 2004 Season

Feb. 16, 2004

2004 Player Bios & Career Stats

By Philip Sikes Clemson Sports Information

Overview Powered by the return of a deep pitching staff and talented offensive players, Clemson hopes to make a run at another College World Series appearance in 2004. Jack Leggett, who enters his 11th year as head coach at Clemson, looks for the Tigers to be an exciting squad this spring.

“In order for us to be successful, we have to be a team that can pitch and play defense,” Leggett said. “We have to be more aggressive than we have in the past on offense. We have to put pressure on the other team to get leads early, so that our pitching can take over.”

Clemson lost several veterans to graduation after the 2003 season. Kyle Frank was a consistent centerfielder who has also moved on. Veteran catcher Steve Pyzik, steady second baseman David Slevin, and sidearm reliever Paul Harrelson have departed as well. However, the Tigers have plenty of talent to work with in 2004, and it starts with the team captains.

“The players chose three great captains this year in Patrick Hogan, Russell Triplett, and Steven Jackson,” Leggett said. “All of them are tremendously dedicated and hard-working people. They’re loyal to Clemson and loyal to our baseball program. They’re great examples both on and off the field of what Clemson baseball is all about. You can tell through the voting that they’re all respected by their teammates. All three are going to have a valuable function in the success of our baseball team this year. I couldn’t be happier with the choices our players made.”

The coaching staff remains intact from the 2003 season. Kevin O’Sullivan enters his sixth season as the Tigers’ pitching coach and second as recruiting coordinator. Tom Riginos, who is in charge of the hitters and outfielders, returns for his second season as an assistant coach. Bradley LeCroy will serve as a volunteer assistant for the second consecutive year. The group will try to lead Clemson to its 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.

Leggett feels that motivation and team chemistry will be the key this season. “The players have a great deal of motivation to get better and get back to Omaha. We have to put the team chemistry together. We have a chance to have better team chemistry than what we had last year. That should be a big factor in helping us be a strong, winning team and one to be reckoned with this spring.”

The schedule presents a tough road ahead for the 2004 team, one that Leggett is looking forward to. “I look at this as one of the toughest schedules that we can play. It will present a great challenge to this team, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Along with the always-tough ACC schedule, Clemson plays other noteworthy foes this season. The Tigers play 22 games versus teams that competed in 2003 NCAA Regionals. Included in that list is East Carolina, who Clemson will square off with twice in the inaugural Keith LeClair Invitational. LeClair, formerly the head coach at East Carolina, played under Leggett at Western Carolina. His coaching career prematurely ended due to being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Clemson, who is ranked as high as #11 in the preseason polls and picked to finish third in the ACC by the league’s coaches, also plays four games against rival South Carolina and two against SEC foe Georgia. The Tigers play host to Auburn, who defeated Clemson three out of four games last year. Clemson also faces tough series at Texas Tech and at home against Central Florida. Add on top of that mid-week contests with Furman, Elon, and Winthrop, and the 2004 schedule is one of the toughest in recent memory for Clemson.

Leggett does not want to dwell on the fact that Clemson came up short of its goals in 2003, rather he wants to use it as motivation for his team to improve this spring. “You’re always disappointed unless you win the National Championship. We were especially disappointed because we didn’t make it to Omaha. Those are the goals of this program.”

Catchers The catching position returns a wealth of experience. Brady Everett started 18 games a year ago behind the plate and hit .298 in his first season at Clemson after transferring from Edmonds (WA) Community College. He also threw out four base-runners in limited attempts.

Junior Collin Mahoney, who should also see time this year as a pitcher, returns after starting 18 games in 2004. Leggett believes Mahoney could be a great asset if he can maintain consistency at the plate.

“We have to see where his physical abilities take us, so we can figure out what’s best for his future and what’s going to be best for the baseball team,” said Leggett. “He’s going to contribute to the winning of this baseball team.”

Patrick Hogan. Also new to the Tiger program at catcher is Lou Santangelo, a transfer from Seton Hall. The junior from Colts Neck, NJ is rated as the #7 most impactive transfer in the nation in the preseason by Baseball America.

“The catching position has some pretty good experience,” Leggett believes. “We have some players coming back from last year who have improved a great deal. We also have some new catchers that I think are going to be very good for us before it’s all over this year. It’s an exciting situation.”

Infielders The Tiger offense returns five players who hit .300 or better in 2003, including three infielders. Leading the way is junior and Baseball America Preseason All-American Brad McCann, who will man third base in his second season with the Tiger program. McCann, a Second-Team All-ACC selection in 2003, had a team-high .347 batting average, 21 doubles, and 67 RBIs. He ended last season on a 20-game hitting streak. He also showed flashes of power last year with nine homers, including a walk-off shot in the three-game sweep of Georgia Tech. Freshmen John Ingram and Bryan Yates will vie for playing time behind McCann at third.

Triplett returns at shortstop for the Tigers in 2004. He will also be serving as a team captain for the second consecutive year. Triplett, who was an All-ACC selection as a utility infielder in 2002 and second-team choice in 2003 at shortstop, had a .335 batting average and started all but one game at shortstop.

“He’s a solid, steady player who does his job,” Leggett says of Triplett. “He doesn’t have a lot of flash, but he does what is expected of him. He’s one of those players who will have a major impact on the success of this baseball team.”

The leading candidates at second base are Herman Demmink, who started 30 games last season, mostly as a designated hitter, and Travis Storrer, a junior college transfer from who is a talented left-handed hitter.

Demmink hit .330 last year (including .457 in limited ACC action) and showed tremendous consistency at the plate. His batting average in ACC games would have led the league if he had just 14 more at bats. Others who are competing for middle infield spots include Daniel Pritchard, Tanner Leggett (son of Coach Tyler Winningham.

Replacing former All-American Kris Harvey) will likely compete for the starting job. Andy D’Alessio is a left-handed power hitter who will see plenty of action at first. D’Alessio is rated as the fifth-best freshman in the country by Baseball America. Also in the mix is freshman Tyler Colvin.

Outfielders The leading candidate to replace Kyle Frank in centerfield is Garrick Evans, a streak hitter who began his career as a middle infielder. Evans hit .311 in 29 starts last season. The coaches are looking to use his speed and range in the outfield.

“He’s really coming a long way since moving from the infield to the outfield,” Leggett said. “He’s worked hard on defense. He’s got great range in the outfield. If he continues to work on his fundamentals and mechanics, I think he’ll develop into a real good outfielder for us.”

Evans hit safely in nine of his final 10 games in 2003, including two games of a Wake Forest sweep in which he was 6-for-8 and garnered ACC Player-of-the-Week honors. Returning in the outfield are seniors Ryan Hub and Zane Green. Hub started 34 games in 2003 and showed some power, with five home runs and 24 RBIs. Hub, a native of Sumter, SC, showed good range from his left-field spot.

Green, an integral part of the 2002 team that finished #3 in the country, hit .326 last season while only committing one error in the outfield. He will begin the 2004 season as the everyday starter in right field.

“He could be a very exciting offensive player for us,” Leggett said. “He’s one of our steadiest and most aggressive outfielders. He means a lot to this baseball team.”

Four newcomers will compete for a spot in the outfield. Justin Barefoot is a freshman who impressed coaches in the fall. Jesse Ferguson, a sophomore junior college transfer, is a valuable left-handed hitter. Tony Sipp is a promising junior transfer who will see playing time in the outfield and as a lefthanded pitcher. C.J. Gaddis, a quarterback on the Tiger football team, was a 20th-round draft pick last summer and is another young player who can earn immediate playing time in the outfield.

Pitchers Junior lefthander Tyler Lumsden, who was 8-2 last season, returns with the potential for a breakout year. He had a 3.77 ERA and a team-high 72 strikeouts in 2003. Lumsden began the year 8-0, as teams struggled to make contact with his outstanding breaking ball. He twice earned ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors last season.

Hogan, who was selected as a captain for the second year in a row, returns with the ability to fill a number of roles. Hogan has starting experience and has the ability to relieve as well. He had a 4.30 ERA last season in 17 appearances, six of which were starts. Hogan is perhaps Clemson’s most intense competitor on the mound.

“Patrick is just that guy you want with the ball in his hand and the game on the line,” Leggett said. “He’s such a great leader. Whatever it takes, he’s willing to do for this baseball team because he’s so unselfish.”

Jackson, a senior captain, was 7-3 last season in 13 starts. The majority of his starts came at the end of a three-game series against quality ACC competition. Jackson, a Summerville, SC native, boasts a career 15-5 record with the Tigers.

A pair of sophomore pitchers will be instrumental in the Tigers’ success this season. Jason Berken had an outstanding summer and fall according to Leggett. He started eight games, compiled a 4-2 record, and had a 3.19 ERA in 2003. The coaching staff believes Berken will be a big-game starter for the Tigers this year.

“When you give him the ball, you know you’re going to be in the game,” Leggett said. “He’s probably the guy that is at the top of the list as far as our starters are concerned for the season.”

Lefthander Robert Rohrbaugh, a freshman All-American, appeared as a reliever in 26 games last year and boasted a team-best 3.03 ERA. He pitched in tight situations, as well as set-up for closers.

Jeff Hahn also has the ability to pitch in different situations. He started seven games in 2003, but looked more comfortable in long relief. Hahn had a 1.95 ERA in 13 relief appearances, compared to a 5.04 ERA in those seven starts.

Leggett also looks for big things out of Harvey, a sophomore righthander. He posted a 4-1 record as a freshman. His father, Bryan Harvey, pitched in the Major Leagues for nine years.

Sophomores Josh Cribb and Adam Walker return to give the pitching staff quality depth. Cribb had a 3.96 ERA in 13 appearances, and boasted a 19-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Walker pitched just 9.0 innings as a freshman in 2003, but struck out 11 batters in that limited action.

Also vying for time on the mound this season are newcomers Aaron Eubanks, Stephen Faris, Chris Howard, Sipp, and P.J. Zocchi.