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Baseball to Play Host to Tennessee Tech on Tuesday & Wednesday

Baseball to Play Host to Tennessee Tech on Tuesday & Wednesday

March 11, 2003

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Clemson, ranked as high as #18, will play host to Tennessee Tech in a two-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium beginning Tuesday at 4:00 PM. The second game will take place Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The games will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live via the internet at Live stats will also be available for both games on Clemson’s website.

The Series The series will be the first meetings between the two schools. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett faced Tennessee Tech twice while at Western Carolina, defeating the Golden Eagles in both games.

The Starting Pitchers Tennessee Tech will start junior righthander Collins Hughes on Tuesday in his first outing of the season. Hughes spent the last three seasons as a member of the Mississippi State program, where he played in two of the seasons. Junior righthander Brian Driskell (0-1, 3.24 ERA) will start on Wednesday. Driskell has made three relief appearances for a total of 8.1 innings pitched this season and has allowed just one walk while striking out 10. Clemson will counter with junior righthander Steven Jackson (0-1, 6.94 ERA) on Tuesday. Freshman righthander Kris Harvey (1-0, 6.75 ERA) will take to the mound on Wednesday in his second career start. He earned the victory in his last start in a 6-2 win over College of Charleston last Wednesday.

Tennessee Tech Overview The Golden Eagles (5-5) are coming off three wins in three games at a tournament at Charleston Southern. One of the wins was an 11-5 decision against Charleston Southern, a team that Clemson defeated 6-2 on March 5 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Golden Eagles also defeated Brown in two, seven-inning games over the weekend. Tennessee Tech, who is 2-4 on opponents’ home fields, is hitting .289 with a 4.68 team ERA to go along with a .951 fielding percentage. Casey Benjamin and Carlos Martin are tied for the team lead each with a .500 batting average. Martin has five of the team’s nine homers and has driven in 14 runs in just nine games. Ryan Hay (.300) is the only other Golden Eagle hitting at least .300.

Clemson Overview Clemson (8-3) is riding a five-game winning streak and is 7-0 overall at home this season. The Tigers are hitting .284 as a team, led by Zane Green’s .367 batting average and Russell Triplett’s .361 batting average. Triplett is currently on a nine-game hitting streak and is hitting .433 (13-for-30) during the streak. The Tigers also sport a .973 fielding percentage thanks to committing no errors in the three-game Old Dominion series this past weekend.

Tigers Rally to Defeat Winthrop 5-4 Tuesday Just like a season ago, Clemson broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off hit to defeat Winthrop 5-4 Tuesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. A season ago, Russell Triplett’s hit a single to deep left center, plating David Slevin. Slevin also hit his first career homer in the game, an opposite-field shot. He also added a double. Clemson tied the score in the eighth with an RBI groundout by Brad McCann and a suicide squeeze bunt by pinch-hitter Kyle Frank. Freshman righthander Brett Murphy picked up the win in his first career outing. He pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing two hits, no runs, and no walks.

Frank Leads Tigers Past Charleston 6-2 Kris Harvey picked up the win in his first career start. He allowed one earned run on two hits in 4.0 innings. Pat Clayton, Aaron Trolia, and Paul Harrelson closed out the game by allowing only one hit and no runs in the final 5.0 innings pitched. The day marked Head Coach Jack Leggett’s 49th birthday.

Clemson Wins Goodwill Game Against Chukyo Behind a two-run homer by David Slevin added a triplet and had 10 chances in the field without committing an error. Garrick Evans added a two-run double as well. Jeff Hourigan pitched 3.0 perfect innings to earn the win, while Josh Cribb pitched the final 3.0 innings without allowing a run to earn the save. Naritoshi Imai, Eiji Tanabe, and Eisei Ito had two hits apiece for Chukyo, who outhit the Tigers 9-7. Stats from the game do not count

Tiger Pitchers Dominate Monarchs in Sweep Clemson outscored Old Dominion by a combined score of 25-3 in sweeping the Monarchs from March 7-9 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Tiger pitchers allowed only six Monarchs to reach third base all week as well. The Tigers also did not commit an error in the field in the series. Brad McCann broke out of a slump with five hits, including his first homer, and seven RBIs in the three-game set.

In game one, Zane Green’s added a team-high three hits.

In game two, freshman Jason Berken picked up the win in his first career start, allowing one run and one walk on three hits while striking out six in Clemson’s 5-1 win. Freshman Herman Demmink went 3-for-3 after entering the game 1-for-11 on the young season. McCann drove in two more runs on the afternoon as well. Ryan Hub came off the bench and added his first career homer in the eighth inning to cap off the scoring.

In game three, Clemson’s bats warmed up with the weather in an 18-2 victory to sweep the series. It was a season high for both runs and hits for the Tigers. Clemson scored in every inning in which it batted except the first frame. Three Tigers hit homers, including McCann’s first as a Tiger. He had three more RBIs and Kyle Frank went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Jeff Hahn pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just three hits, one run, and one walk while striking out five to earn the victory against his home-state team.

Tigers Ranked #4 in Latest RPI

The only rating system the NCAA uses to determine selections and seedings is the RPI, or the Ratings Percentage Index. Although the NCAA does not release its official RPI, Boyd Nation has come up with an RPI index that is all but the same as the official RPI. He uses numbers from previous seasons to verify his formulas.

In his March 10 release, Nation’s RPI index has Clemson #4, depsite the Tigers only being ranked as high as #18 in the polls. Clemson can thank a brutal non-conference schedule for its high RPI ranking, which already includes three games against Auburn (#2) and two games against rival South Carolina (#24). The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and are for games through March 9.

Boyd Nation's Unofficial RPI By Team        Rk      Team    W-L     Rating        1.      Illinois        3-1     .714        2.      Auburn  15-4    .684        3.      Cal. State-Fullerton    16-3    .668        4.      Clemson 8-3     .657        5.      Georgia Tech    13-0    .657        6.      Rice    15-1    .640        7.      Arizona State   28-1    .640        8.      Minnesota       5-5     .638        9.      Penn State      1-3     .637        10.     Stanford        14-7    .636

Boyd Nation’s Unofficial RPI By Conference Rk Conference W-L Rating 1. Big XII 115-45 .567 2. Southeastern 130-47 .564 3. Atlantic Coast 91-36 .562 4. Big Ten 35-34 .560 5. Pacific 10 104-72 .559

Reaching Third Base? Against #6 South Carolina on March 1, Clemson pitchers did not allow a baserunner to reach third base during the entire game in the Tigers’ 8-0 victory. And against Charleston Southern the game before, only one baserunner reached third base in Clemson’s 5-0 rain-shortened win (71/2 innings). That one runner reached third base in the first inning. Then at #6 South Carolina on March 2, the Gamecocks went the first three innings without reaching third, meaning that Tiger opponents went 19 consecutive innings without passing second base.

Then against Old Dominion from March 7-9, Tiger pitchers allowed just six baserunners the entire series to reach third base, three of which scored. Tyler Lumsden did not allow a baserunner past second base in his three-hit shutout on March 7, as he extended that personal streak to 16.1 innings.

Getting Started Clemson has had success early this season in getting on the scoreboard in first innings of games. The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead over #6 South Carolina in the first inning on March 1 and never looked back en route to an 8-0 win. Clemson has outscored its opponents 12-0 in first innings of games this season.

Fielding at a Record Rate After setting the school record for fielding percentage (.971) a year ago, Clemson has continued its outstanding defensive prowess with a .973 fielding percentage in 2003. The Tigers have committed just 12 errors in the 11 games. That includes no errors in the three-game series against Old Dominion from March 7-9.

Pitchers Dominating at Home In seven home games this season, the Tiger pitchers have combined for a 1.02 team ERA to lead Clemson to a 7-0 record. In 62.0 innings pitched, Clemson has allowed just seven earned runs, 13 walks, and 32 hits while striking out 56. The pitchers have combined to hold opponents to a .152 batting average and only four extra base hits, all of which have been doubles. Tyler Lumsden leads the way with 16.1 shutout innings, allowing just seven hits and two walks while striking out 18. He has also not even allowed a baserunner to reach third base at home.

Freshman Hurlers Playing Significant Role With the loss of veterans Steve Reba and Matt Henrie a season ago, Clemson recruited some outstanding pitchers in 2003. Six true freshmen or red-shirt freshmen have already seen action and more could see action as the season continues. Below is a chart of the Tiger freshmen pitchers and their statistics.

     #       Player  ERA     W-L     G-S     IP      H       BB      SO      40      Brett Murphy    0.00    1-0     2-0     3.2     2       0       0       48      Josh Cribb      0.00    0-0     1-0     1.0     0       0       0       18      Jason Berken    1.00    1-0     4-1     9.0     5       5       10      50      Pat Clayton     1.80    0-0     3-0     5.0     2       1       7       44      Robert Rohrbaugh        2.70    0-0     4-0     3.1     3       0       2       35      Kris Harvey*    6.75    1-0     3-1     8.0     8       6       4               Totals  2.70    3-0     17-2    30.0    20      12      23* - has one save

Frank Finding Rare Airv Fifth-year senior and co-captain Kyle Frank hit two homers and drove in four runs against College of Charleston on March 6 to propel Clemson to a 6-2 win. He also hit a two-run homer at #6 South Carolina on March 6, giving him three homers on the young season. In 169 games entering this season, Frank had five career long balls. He also has three of the team’s 12 homers and has a team-best 14 RBIs in 11 games.

After hitting the homer against the Gamecocks, he did not start against Winthrop on March 4. The Wolfeboro, NH native started 70 of the Tigers’ 71 games a season ago. But he came off the bench that game with a successful suicide squeeze bunt that tied the score 4-4. Clemson went on to win 5-4. The next game was hit two-homer performance. Frank also has a streak of 95 games without committing an error.

Triplett’s Bat Comes Alive Junior shortstop Russell Triplett’s, a 2002 Second-Team All-ACC utility player, is hitting .361. After starting the season 1-for-9 in his first three games, he has come alive at the plate in the last eight games. He is 12-for-27 (.444) with nine runs scored and five RBIs. He hit the walk-off single against Winthrop in the Tigers’ 5-4 win on March 4 and is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak.

McCann Heating Up First-year sophomore third-baseman Brad McCann (Duluth, GA) suffered through a 1-for-22 slump prior to the Old Dominion series from March 7-9. But he quickly turned things around against the Monarchs, going 5-for 11 (.455) with a homer and seven RBIs. He has 11 RBIs on the season, second-most on the team behind Kyle Frank 14. His hitting has been key due to the fact that he hits behind All-American Michael Johnson in the lineup. He also has been outstanding in the field, committing just one error with a .971 fielding percentage.

Lumsden Leading Tiger Pitching Staff Sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden has started three games this season for a total of 22.1 innings pitched. In those three outings, one at #16 Auburn, one against #6 South Carolina, and one against Old Dominion, he has allowed just one earned run and three walks while striking out 21. He has won all three games and has only allowed one extra base hit. He pitched his first complete game of his career against Old Dominion on March 7, a three-hit shutout. He did not allow a baserunner to reach third base in the entire game, extending that personal streak to 16.1 innings over his last two starts.

Baseball America ranks Lumsden as the #19 sophomore prospect in the nation, an accolade well-deserved considering his 90+ mph fastball and sharp-breaking curveball. Lumsden also has other unique abilities on and off the diamond. He can throw a baseball right-handed 80 mph. He was also a standout basketball player at Cave Springs High School in Roanoke, VA, where he averaged over 20 points per game as a senior. However, he was not the leading scorer on that team, as Duke star freshman J.J. Redick led the team in scoring with over 28 points per game.

Lumsden Earns Conference Honors Again Clemson sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden (Roanoke, VA) was named ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week for the second-straight week for his performance against Old Dominion Friday in the Tigers’ 2-0 win. He shared the conference honor with Florida State reliever Daniel Hodges. Lumsden allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out seven in his first complete game as a Tiger. He also did not allow a baserunner past second base the entire game for the second-straight game, improving that personal streak to 16.1 innings pitched. He improved his record to 3-0, as he has allowed just one earned run and three walks while striking out 21 batters in 22.1 innings pitched this year. Lumsden also defeated #16 Auburn and #6 South Carolina earlier in the season.