Clemson Baseball Weekly Wrapup

April 5, 2009

Clemson University Overall Season Record: 20-10 ACC Regular-Season Record: 9-6

Last Week: 2-3 Tue. L, Away vs. #1 Georgia, 6-5 Wed. L, Home vs. #1 Georgia, 4-2 Fri. W, Home vs. Duke, 7-3 Sat. L, Home vs. Duke, 10-7 Sun. W, Home vs. Duke, 10-1

Next Week Tue. Away vs. South Carolina, 7:00 PM Wed. Home vs. South Carolina, 7:00 PM Fri. Home vs. Miami (FL), 6:30 PM Sat. Home vs. Miami (FL), 6:30 PM Sun. Home vs. Miami (FL), 12:00 PM

Notes Clemson, ranked as high as #17 in the nation, went 2-3 in five games this past week, which included two close losses in a home-and-home midweek series against top-ranked Georgia and two wins in three games against Duke at home.

Georgia edged Clemson twice in a home-and-home, midweek series by a combined score of 10-7 on March 31 and April 1. The Tigers outhit Georgia .260 to .238, but they left 17 runners on base to the Bulldogs’ eight. Mike Freeman had four hits, while Jeff Schaus added three hits and three runs. The Tiger pitching staff had a 4.76 ERA and 24 strikeouts against only four walks as well.

Georgia scored four runs in the third inning and held on to defeat Clemson 6-5 at Foley Field on March 31. The Bulldogs scored four runs on six hits, four of which were infield singles, in the fourth inning and held on for the win. Schaus gave Clemson the lead in the first inning on his solo homer. The Tigers narrowed the margin to one run in the fifth inning on Kyle Parker’s two-run homer and pinch-hitter Chris Epps’ run-scoring double. Parker, who had three RBIs, hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth inning, but it was not enough. Three Tiger relievers combined to allow just two hits, one run, and one walk with eight strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched.

Georgia scored three runs in the ninth inning to rally for a 4-2 win over Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on April 1. Justin Sarratt limited the Bulldogs to just one run on three hits in the first eight innings, but Georgia used two hits and an error to score three runs in the ninth inning. Sarratt pitched 8.0 masterful innings, allowing just three hits, one run, and one walk with 12 strikeouts, the most by a Tiger since 2001, but he did not factor in the decision. He also retired 17 batters in a row after giving up a double to start the game. Freeman and Brad Miller had two hits apiece for the Tigers, who outhit Georgia 8-5. But Clemson left seven runners on base to the Bulldogs’ two.

Clemson won two of three games against Duke at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from April 3-5. The Tigers outscored Duke 24-14 and outhit the Blue Devils .349 to .314 along with totaling 14 extra-base hits. Ben Paulsen went 7-for-12 (.583) with four runs, two doubles, two homers, and eight RBIs, while Addison Johnson went 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles and three walks. The Tiger pitching staff had a 4.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts against six walks.

In game-one on April 3, Clinton McKinney pitched 4.1 strong innings in relief to lead Clemson to a 7-3 win over Duke. McKinney allowed just four hits, one unearned run, and no walks with three strikeouts to earn the win. Clemson hit three homers, including Paulsen’s two-run long ball in the fifth inning that gave the Tigers the lead for good. Jason Stolz and Parker added solo home runs later in the game for the Tigers, who had 11 hits. Johnson went 2-for-2 with two walks, while Parker and Miller added two hits apiece. Duke totaled 11 hits and had 14 batters reach base, but it left eight runners on base and Clemson turned three double plays.

In game-two on April 4, Duke scored six runs in the fourth inning and hung on for a 10-7 win over Clemson. The Blue Devils scored six runs in the fourth inning and two runs in the sixth inning to build a 9-1 lead. The Tigers chipped away with two runs apiece in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, then the Tigers had the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth inning. But Clemson fell short after leaving 12 runners on base to Duke’s six in the game. Johnson and Paulsen had three hits apiece for the Tigers, who outhit Duke 16-13, while six Tigers in all had at least two hits. Will Piwnica-Worms had two hits and three RBIs to pace Duke.

In game-three on April 5, Chris Dwyer pitched 6.0 innings to earn the win, as he allowed four hits, one run, and no walks with five strikeouts. After allowing a leadoff triple in the first inning, he retired the next 11 batters and did not allow a runner past first base during the remainder of his outing. Four Tiger pitchers combined for eight strikeouts against no walks, while four Duke pitchers combined to walk nine batters and hit two more.

During the week, the Tigers outhit their two opponents .313 to .285 and outscored them 31-24 despite having a losing record. The Tigers also had a .484 slugging percentage and .388 on-base percentage. In the five games, Clemson outhit its opponents four times and tied the other, therefore Clemson was not outhit all week. The Tigers entered the week 14-0 when outhitting their opponents, but all three losses came in games when Clemson had more hits. The pitching staff had a 4.30 ERA along with 43 strikeouts against only 10 walks.

Paulsen led the Tiger bats by going 8-for-21 (.381) with five runs, two doubles, two homers, and eight RBIs during the week. Stolz went 6-for-16 (.375) with a .500 on-base percentage, while Parker went 7-for-20 (.350) with two home runs. Johnson also went 5-for-9 (.556) with three walks and a .667 on-base percentage in his return to the lineup after missing six games due to a hamstring injury.

The Tigers sport a 20-10 overall record and 9-6 ACC mark on the season, good for first place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings. Boston College and Florida State are tied for second place in the division with a 7-6 record. Of Clemson’s 10 losses in 2009, nine have been by three runs or less.

Clemson is hitting .289 with a .436 slugging percentage and .381 on-base percentage while scoring 6.4 runs per game this season. The Tigers have also totaled 51 doubles, seven triples, 29 homers, 141 walks against 171 strikeouts, and 37 stolen bases in 49 attempts.

Paulsen is hitting a team-best .393 with nine doubles, two triples, seven homers, and 33 RBIs in 30 games. Freeman is hitting .331 with a .442 on-base percentage.

The pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA and .245 opponents’ batting average along with 257 strikeouts against 79 walks in 274.0 innings pitched. That equates to a 3.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The team is fielding at a .968 clip as well.

Sophomore lefthander Casey Harman is 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 35 strikeouts against six walks in 35.0 innings pitched over 11 appearances (four starts). In five relief appearances, McKinney is 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA and 13 strikeouts against one walk in 11.2 innings pitched. Both Tomas Cruz and Matt Vaughn have two saves apiece as well.

The Tigers will travel to Columbia to take on South Carolina in their first-ever game at Carolina Stadium on Tuesday night before hosting the Gamecocks on Wednesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Then over the weekend, Miami (FL) will visit Tigertown to take on Clemson in a three-game series.