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Baseball to Take On #1 South Carolina Tonight at 7:00 PM

Baseball to Take On #1 South Carolina Tonight at 7:00 PM

April 5, 2006

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Clemson (20-8), ranked as high as #7 in the nation, will travel to Columbia to take on #1 South Carolina (26-3) Wednesday at Sarge Frye Field in the third of four matchups between the two rivals this season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM. The game will be televised live by CSS and broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at

The Starting Pitchers South Carolina will start freshman lefthander Will Atwood (2-0, 1.38 ERA) on the mound Wednesday. The Piedmont, SC native and graduate of Greenville High School has made one start and five relief appearances for a total of 13.0 innings pitched. He has allowed eight hits (.178 opponents’ batting average) and three walks with eight strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter another freshman lefty in Ryan Hinson (1-0, 1.86 ERA) on Wednesday. The Rock Hill, SC native will be making his first career start, as he has previously made six relief appearances. In 9.2 innings pitched, he has allowed six hits and five walks with 12 strikeouts.

The Series Clemson and South Carolina have met 273 times on the diamond, with Clemson holding a 160-111-2 lead in the series dating back to 1899. South Carolina is Clemson’s most-played rival in history.

On March 4, South Carolina defeated the Tigers 6-2 at Sarge Frye Field behind the relief pitching of righthander Andrew Cruse, who tossed 5.2 scoreless innings of three-hit ball with seven strikeouts. A day later, Clemson was victorious 6-4 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium behind three hits by Taylor Harbin and two RBIs by Marquez Smith.

The two teams have split the four-game season series each of the last two seasons. The Gamecocks hold a 70-64-2 lead over Clemson all-time in games played in Columbia. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 25-20 against South Carolina as Clemson’s head coach, including a 13-9 record in games played in Columbia. It will also be the second time he has led Clemson against a top-ranked Gamecock squad, as South Carolina won that game.

The Gamecocks South Carolina, led by 10th-year Head Coach Ray Tanner, enters Wednesday’s game with a 26-3 overall record and 8-1 SEC mark after sweeping #15 Louisiana State in Baton Rouge over the weekend. The Gamecocks are ranked as high as #1 in the country (by Collegiate Baseball) and have a 21-1 home record, including winning 20 in a row at Sarge Frye Field. They have also won nine games in a row overall, hitting .344 during the streak.

South Carolina has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 56-7 in the first two innings this season 240-79 overall. The team is 10-0 in night games and 23-0 when scoring at least five runs. The Gamecocks are also 23-0 when leading after six innings, 25-0 when leading after seven innings, and 25-0 when leading after eight innings. They are 17-0 when committing no errors and 23-0 when out-hitting their opponents as well.

Offensively, the team is hitting .315 with a .408 on-base percentage, 36 home runs, and 136 walks against only 136 strikeouts. The team has swiped 15 base in 24 attempts and has 25 sacrifice bunts as well. Neil Giesler has a team-best .452 batting average along with three homers and 27 RBIs. Robbie Grinestaff has nine home runs and 39 RBIs, both team-highs. Michael Campbell is riding a 10-game hitting streak as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.56 ERA and .197 opponents’ batting average. Shawn Valdes-Fauli has a team-high three saves. The Gamecocks have one of the nation’s best defenses, as they have gone six straight games without committing an error. Overall, they sport a remarkable .985 fielding percentage, committing just 16 errors in 29 games, and have turned 31 double plays. No player has more than five errors.

The Tigers Clemson enters Wednesday’s game with a 20-8 overall record and 6-3 ACC mark after falling at home to Western Carolina 8-6 on Tuesday. It was the Tigers’ first home loss to the Catamounts since 1974, breaking the 35-game home win streak in the series over Western Carolina. The Tigers are also 4-5 on the road, including winning each of their last three away games (all at #11 Miami (FL) this past weekend).

The Tigers, who are 10-3 against top-25 ranked teams, are hitting .290 with a .371 on-base percentage. Tyler Colvin is batting .353 with nine doubles, six homers, 25 RBIs, and nine stolen bases. Andy D’Alessio is hitting .336 with 10 doubles, nine homers, and 39 RBIs, including seven homers and 28 RBIs in the last 11 games. Sophomore Brad Chalk has 10 sacrifice bunts this season, giving 25 for his career. That figure is tied with Casey Stone (1998-01) for the most career sacrifice bunts by a Tiger in history.

The pitching staff has a 3.00 ERA and .230 opponents’ batting average. Both lefty Daniel Moskos and righty Steve Richard have four saves. Clemson is fielding at a .965 clip as well.

Catamounts Score Early to Down Tigers 8-6 on Tuesday Western Carolina scored six runs in the second inning and held on to defeat #7 Clemson 8-6 on April 4. The win was the Catamounts’ first at Doug Kingsmore Stadium since 1974, breaking the Tigers’ 35-game winning streak in the series at home. Clemson committed a costly error on a potential double-play ball in the second inning, and the Catamounts took advantage by putting their first eight batters on base in the frame. Clemson scored four runs in the seventh, but could not overcome Greg Holland’s final 2.1 perfect innings. Marquez Smith had three hits, including two doubles, while Andy D’Alessio drove in two runs and Travis Storrer hit a solo homer.