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Baseball Rides Hot Streak to Atlanta to Face Yellow Jackets

Baseball Rides Hot Streak to Atlanta to Face Yellow Jackets

April 13, 2006

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Clemson (26-8, 9-3 ACC), ranked as high as #5 in the country, will travel to Atlanta to take on #10 Georgia Tech (26-8, 8-7 ACC) in a three-game series at Russ Chandler Stadium this weekend. Game times are 7:00 PM (Friday), 1:00 (Saturday), and 1:00 (Sunday). The Saturday and Sunday games will be televised live by FSN South. The Saturday game is also designated as a Regional Sports Network telecast. All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will be available at for all three games as well.

The Series Clemson and Georgia Tech have met 183 times on the diamond, with the series split at 90-90-3 dating back to the 1902 season. After the Tigers had won the last five games in the series prior to 2004, Georgia Tech won all four meetings in 2004, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta and a 11-7 win in 13 innings in the ACC Tournament at Salem, VA, and two of the three games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in 2005. Therefore, Georgia Tech has won six of the last seven meetings.

The Yellow Jackets hold a 64-38-2 lead over the Tigers all-time in games played at Georgia Tech. Clemson has not won a series at Georgia Tech since 1996. The Tigers hold a 38-31 advantage in games played in the ACC regular season.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 24-20 against the Yellow Jackets as Clemson’s head coach, including a 6-12 record at Russ Chandler Stadium. Leggett is also 20-17 when playing a top-25 Georgia Tech team and 15-12 when playing a top-10 Yellow Jacket team while at Clemson. He was 3-5 against Georgia Tech as Western Carolina’s head coach, meaning he is 27-25 against the Yellow Jackets in his career.

The Starting Pitchers In game one, Georgia Tech will start 6’5″ junior righthander Blake Wood (6-3, 4.47 ERA) on the mound. The Suwanee, GA native has made nine starts for a total of 52.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 61 hits and 22 walks with 47 strikeouts on the season.

The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Josh Cribb (6-0, 1.98 ERA) on Friday. The Lake View, SC native has made seven starts and one relief appearance for a total of 41.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 28 hits (.196 opponents’ batting average) and 11 walks with 40 strikeouts. In game two, the Yellow Jackets will send out 6’5″ junior righty Jared Hyatt (2-0, 3.38 ERA) on the mound. The Marietta, GA native has made one start and nine relief appearances (26.2 innings pitched). He has yielded 20 hits (.204 opponents’ batting average) and 16 walks with 34 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Jason Berken (4-2, 1.69 ERA) on Saturday. The De Pere, WI native has made eight starts for a total of 42.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 39 hits and 19 walks with 41 strikeouts.

In game three, Georgia Tech will start 6’8″ freshman lefthander David Duncan (3-1, 5.60 ERA) on the mound. The New Richmond, OH native has made seven starts and five relief appearances for a total of 35.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 42 hits and 14 walks with 26 strikeouts. Clemson will counter with junior righthander Stephen Faris (4-0, 1.75 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native had made eight starts for a total of 51.1 innings pitched. He has a .198 opponents’ batting average, allowing 36 hits and nine walks with 43 strikeouts.

The Yellow Jackets Georgia Tech, led by 13th-year Head Coach Danny Hall, enters the weekend series with a 26-8 overall record and 8-7 ACC mark after defeating #25 Georgia 8-2 on Wednesday and winning two of three games at Virginia Tech last weekend. The Yellow Jackets also sport an 18-3 home record.

Georgia Tech is averaging 8.8 runs per game thanks to hitting .316 with a .417 on-base percentage. The team has 184 walks and 36 hit-by-pitches, and has 38 home runs. The Yellow Jackets have also swiped 34 bases in 42 attempts and have a .966 fielding percentage.

Danny Payne is hitting a team-best .368 with 12 doubles, seven homers, 33 RBIs, a .462 on-base percentage, and 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Wes Hodges is second with a .353 batting average along with seven homers and 36 RBIs. Whit Robbins (.339) and Matt Wieters (.326) are also having solid seasons at the plate.

The pitching staff has a 4.41 ERA and .277 opponents’ batting average. It has also struck out 253 against 133 walks in 299.2 innings pitched. Tim Gustafson has a team-high four saves with a 3.45 ERA in 13 appearances (two starts). All three starters on the mound this weekend stand 6’5″ or taller as well.

The Tigers Clemson enters the weekend series with a 26-8 overall record and 9-3 ACC mark after winning two midweek games. The Tigers defeated Western Carolina 8-3 in Cullowhee on Tuesday, then beat #7 South Carolina 10-5 at home on Wednesday. Clemson is also coming off a three-game sweep of Maryland at Doug Kingsmore Stadium last weekend. The team brings a 6-5 road record, including a five-game winning streak, and a 12-3 record against top-25 ranked teams into the series at Georgia Tech.

Clemson is hitting .295 with a .371 on-base percentage and 49 stolen bases in 60 attempts. The team has also hit 72 doubles and 33 home runs, but has been good playing “small ball” with its 29 sacrifice bunts. The team is fielding at a .967 clip as well.

Tyler Colvin is hitting a team-best .359 with a .443 on-base percentage, 13 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 31 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases. Andy D’Alessio is riding a 12-game hitting streak and has totaled 40 RBIs in the last 17 games. Overall in 2006, D’Alessio is hitting .351 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs, and 51 RBIs.

The pitching staff has a 2.86 ERA and .241 opponents’ batting average. Lefty Daniel Moskos has a team-high five saves and a 1.26 ERA in 16 relief appearances.

Relief pitcher and senior righthander Drew Fiorenza is a native of Atlanta and is the lone Georgia native making the trip with the Tiger team to Georgia Tech this weekend. He played at Woodward Academy up until his senior year of high school.

Colvin-D’Alessio a 4-5 Punch Juniors Tyler Colvin and Andy D’Alessio have combined to provide much of the offense this year for the Tigers. Colvin, the cleanup batter, and D’Alessio, the five-hole hitter, are the team’s top-two hitters in terms of batting average, doubles, home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage. They have combined for 24 doubles, 18 homers, and 82 RBIs. That equates to 33 percent of the team’s doubles, 55 percent of the team’s home runs, and 41 percent of the team’s RBIs.

Widmann Quietly Having Good Year at Plate Sophomore shortstop Stan Widmann (Hurst, TX) is quietly having a solid season at the plate. Like last year, he has come on during the second half of the regular season. He is hitting .319 overall, third-best on the team, along with eight steals in eight attempts. But he has been especially good in the last 18 games, where he is 24-for-62 (.387). He only has five doubles, one triple, no homers, and 10 RBIs, a reason for his quiet success, but has a .402 on-base percentage, a key stat to set the table for the top of the batting order. The #8 batter in the lineup has been instrumental in the Tigers winning 15 of their last 17 games.

Moskos Receives Bob Bradley Award Sophomore lefthander Daniel Moskos won the 2006 Bob Bradley Award for being the Tiger MVP of the four-game series with South Carolina, as Clemson won the regular-season series 3-1. He became the first hurler to win the award in the sixth year of its existence. In two relief appearances against the top-10 Gamecocks, he pitched 8.0 innings, allowing just two hits and one run.

Tigers in the Majors in 2006 Clemson had three former players in the Major Leagues when the 2006 season began in early April. All three were All-Americans at Clemson, including two who were the consensus college player-of-the-year their final seasons. Two have also switched teams since the end of last year.

Khalil Greene is in his third season as the regular shortstop of the San Diego Padres. Greene batted .250 in 121 games last season with a career-high 15 home runs and a career-high 70 RBIs. The home run total was a franchise record for a shortstop. Greene got the 2006 season off to a great start with a home run on opening Day.

Greene led Clemson to the College World Series in 2002 and a school-record-best third-place finish when he was the consensus national player-of-the-year. He was a unanimous All-American and ACC Player-of-the-Year, as he led the nation in hits, runs scored, total bases, and doubles. He batted an incredible .470 for the season with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs.

Kris Benson opened the 2006 season in the starting rotation with the Baltimore Orioles. It is his third Major League club since he broke into the Majors in 1999 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The #1 draft choice of the entire college draft by Pittsburgh in 1996, Benson had a 10-8 record with the New York Mets last year when he had a 4.13 ERA. He also had a career-high 12 victories in 2004.

Benson was the national player-of-the-year in 1996, the first Tiger baseball player in history to win a national player-of-the-year award, and the second Clemson athlete in any sport to win national player-of-the-year honors. Benson had a 14-2 record as a junior in 1996, and had a 2.02 ERA and an incredible 204/27 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Matthew LeCroy is the third former Tiger in the Major Leagues this year. The native of nearby Belton, SC is in his seventh year in the Major Leagues, including his first year with the Washington Nationals. He spent his first six years with the Minnesota Twins and hit 58 home runs, including a season-high 17 home runs in 2003 and 2005. His 58 career home runs are third in the Major Leagues among all former Tigers.

LeCroy teamed with Benson to help the Tigers to a fourth-place finish in the College World Series in 1996. He was Clemson’s first ever rookie-of-the-year in baseball in 1995 when he hit 15 home runs to set a Tiger record for a freshman. LeCroy hit 53 home runs in his career, third on Clemson’s career list. His 208 RBIs are currently seventh on the Tiger career list as well.

Tigers Top Gamecocks 10-5 to Win Season Series Every Tiger starter had at least one hit to lead #5 Clemson to a 10-5 win over #7 South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on April 12. With the victory, the Tigers took the season series 3-1. Clemson took a 8-1 lead in the fourth inning and never looked back. Tyler Colvin two-run triple in the fourth inning were two of Clemson’s 12 hits in the game, including five for extra-base hits. Adrian Casanova added a solo homer, while Brad Chalk reached base four times. David Kopp earned the win by pitching 6.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits. Neither team committed an error as well.