March 7, 2003
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Clemson, ranked as high as #18, will play host to Old Dominion this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game one Friday will start at 4:00 PM. Game two Saturday will begin at 2:00 PM, while the series finale Sunday will start at 1:00 PM. The games on Friday and Sunday will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live via the internet at www.clemsontigers.com. Live stats will also be available for all three games on Clemson’s website.
Clemson holds a 27-6 lead in the series dating back to 1983. The two teams most recently met in 2001, a two-game series at Old Dominion, and in 2000, a three-game set at Clemson. The two teams split games at Old Dominion in 2001, while the Tigers swept the Monarchs in 2000. Prior to Old Dominion’s 10-8 win in the second game in 2001, Clemson had won 19 straight games in the series dating back to 1989.
Several Tigers have seen action against the Monarchs in their careers, including Russell Triplett, who is 4-for-8 in two starts. As a freshman in Clemson’s 11-1 win in 2001, he tied a Clemson record with three doubles. He also scored three runs in the game. Steve Pyzik is also 4-for-7 (.571) in four career games against the Monarchs. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 14-1 at Clemson and was 1-0 while at Western Carolina against Old Dominion in his career. He had won his first 14 games against the Monarchs until the 2001 setback.
Old Dominion will start sophomore righthander Justin Verlander (2-1, 1.82 ERA) in game one. Verlander is regarded as a top prospect and can throw in the mid-90s. His final pitch of a game at a tournament in Charleston last month was clocked at 96 mph. He threw over 100 pitches in that contest. Freshman righthander Ricky Shefka (1-2, 6.43 ERA) will start in game two, while sophomore righty James Burok (0-1, 10.12 ERA) will start game three. The Old Dominion pitching staff sports a 4.71 ERA.
Sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden (2-0, 0.68 ERA) will face off against Verlander in game one Friday. Lumsden is coming off an ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week performance against #6 South Carolina. The Virginia native also defeated #16 Auburn in his first start. Freshman righthander Jason Berken (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first career start in game two. He has yet to allow a run in 3.2 relief innings pitched over three games this season. Sophomore righthander Jeff Hahn (1-2, 6.75 ERA), another Virginia native, will start game three. Clemson has a 3.97 team ERA.
Old Dominion (5-5) is hitting .266 as a team and is led by Brandon Le Noir, who is hitting .387 with two of the team’s three homers and nine RBIs. Brent Sollenberger is hitting .353 with three doubles as well. The Monarchs have an outstanding .971 team fielding percentage, committing just 11 errors in 10 games. Earlier this season, Old Dominion downed a Tim Corbin-coached Vanderbilt squad by a 2-0 score. Corbin served as an Tiger assistant for nine seasons (1994-02). The #14 Gamecocks defeated Old Dominion 10-3 on February 15, then Tennessee won 5-4 the next day. The Monarchs defeated Duke 10-8 at Durham, NC on February 25 and defeated #12 Richmond 4-3 in 10 innings Tuesday.
Clemson is coming off back-to-back midweek wins over Winthrop (5-4) and College of Charleston (6-2) as well as an exhibition victory over Chukyo University of Japan (6-2). Thanks to Kyle Frank’s two-homer performance against the Cougars, he is tied for the team lead in homers (3) and leads the team in RBIs (10), double the next closest Tiger. Triplett leads the squad in batting average (.385) and is 9-for-17 (.529) in his last five games. Clemson is hitting .268 as a team and has a .963 team fielding percentage.
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