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Clemson Opens NCAA Regional Against Middle Tennessee Friday

Clemson Opens NCAA Regional Against Middle Tennessee Friday

May 24, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. –Clemson (45-16), the top seed in its own regional and #4 seed nationally, plays host to #4-seed Middle Tennessee (37-21) Friday at 7:00 PM. Second-seeded Old Dominion plays #3-seed Illinois at 2:00 PM Friday. The two losers Friday will play Saturday at 11:00 AM, while the two winners Friday will play Saturday at 3:00 PM. The winner of the 11:00 AM game and the loser of the 3:00 PM game will play Saturday at 7:00 PM in an elimination game. The two remaining teams will play Sunday at 2:00 PM. If necessary, a game will be played Sunday at 7:00 PM. The winner of the regional advances to a sub-regional from June 2-4. The winner of the Clemson Regional will play the winner of the Starkville (MS) Regional at a site to be announced Monday, May 29.

A Closer Look at Middle Tennessee Middle Tennessee enters the Clemson Regional with a 37-21 overall record and #4 seed after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship. The Blue Raiders started the season 3-9, but finished strong, going 21-5 down the stretch. Middle Tennessee also enters the regional winners of seven games in a row. The Blue Raiders are 14-13 on opponents’ home fields and 3-0 at neutral sites. As a team, they are hitting .296 with a 4.47 ERA. Middle Tennessee is also 12-4 in one-run games this season.

Bryan Peck leads the Blue Raiders with a .416 batting average along with 24 doubles, 16 homers, and 79 RBIs. Josh Renick is second on the team with a .337 average along with 20 of the team’s 52 steals. Josh Pride is hitting .319 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs. Former Clemson pitcher Jeff Parsons is hitting .256 with three homers and 22 RBIs.

Parsons, a senior righthander, and Dewon Brazelton, a sophomore righthander, will start the first two games of the regional, although the order has not been determined. Parsons is 5-5 with a 4.17 ERA in 69.0 innings pitched. He also has a .233 opponent batting average, two shutouts, and 75 strikeouts. Parsons, who pitched at Clemson as a freshman in 1997, was the winning pitcher in Clemson’s win over Nevada in the Central Regional at Texas Tech. Parsons made 16 relief appearances and four starts that season for a total of 37.1 innings. He was 2-0 with a 7.71 ERA and 44 strikeouts. Parsons is the only current Blue Raider with NCAA Tournament experience. Brazelton is 7-3 with a 4.83 ERA, and has six complete games in 91.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 92 and walked just 27. Junior righthander Kevin Davis is 8-2 with five saves and a 3.38 ERA in 24 relief appearances.

The Blue Raiders and Tigers have never met on the baseball diamond. They will be making their ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1995, when they played in a regional at Fresno, CA. Ironically, their last three regional appearances have been in the state of California. In 1982, they were one win away from playing in the College World Series. Middle Tennessee is 5-16 in NCAA Tournament play in its history.

Middle Tennessee is led by 13th-year Head Coach Steve Peterson. Peterson needs just three wins to become the school’s all-time winningest coach.

A Closer Look at Old Dominion Old Dominion enters the Clemson Regional with a 33-22-1 overall record and #2 seed. After starting the season 2-9-1, the Monarchs went 31-13. They lost in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament to Virginia Commonwealth and William & Mary, therefore they received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs are 13-7-1 on opponents’ home fields and 2-5 in neutral contests. As a team, they are hitting .300 with a 4.83 ERA. They have also stolen 106 bases in 125 attempts, including six players in double digits.

Jared Musolf leads the team with a .419 batting average. Tim Hummel is second with a .403 average along with 21 doubles, eight homers, 68 RBIs, a .522 on-base percentage, and 21 stolen bases. Jason Greiner, a former Clemson squad member, has a team-best 10 homers as well.

Junior righthander Shawn Weaver will start game one for the Monarchs. He is 9-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 93.0 innings pitched. Junior righthander J.D. Jackson will start game two. He is 5-5 with a 4.72 ERA in 76.1 innings. Both pitchers suffered losses to Clemson earlier this season.

The Monarchs traveled to Clemson earlier this season for a three-game series. Clemson swept by scores of 5-0, 3-1, and 10-2 from February 18-20. The Monarchs managed just 11 hits and three runs in the three games. Patrick Boyd led the Tigers with four hits in the three games, while Michael Johnson hit two homers on February 20. The games were the first three at home for Clemson in 2000. Old Dominion will also be making its third trip to Clemson for a regional since 1994. The Monarchs played at Clemson in 1994 and 1996. Clemson won the ’94 contest 6-1, and also won in ’96 by a 5-1 score. Clemson holds a 26-5 advantage over Old Dominion dating back to 1983.

Old Dominion, led by sixth-year Head Coach Tony Guzzo, is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance overall and first since 1996. Old Dominion has a 1,214 wins in school history dating back to 1931. Guzzo has 642 career wins over 22 seasons and 211 wins at Old Dominion.

A Closer Look at Illinois Illinois enters the Clemson Regional with a 40-21 record overall and #3 seed. The Fighting Illini defeated Penn State for the Big Ten Tournament title. Illinois has played 40 of its 61 games away from home, and has a 17-11 record on opponents’ home fields and 7-5 record in neutral contests. As a team, the Fighting Illini is hitting .321 and has a 4.30 ERA. Illinois’ highest scoring output came against Saint Joseph’s on May 8, a 32-0 win thanks to 39 hits. The Fighting Illini also topped #5 national seed Houston twice in three games earlier this season at Houston.

Illinois likes to move runners along, as it has 53 sacrifice bunts. The team also is fielding at an excellent .968 clip. Opponents have had trouble stealing bases, as 26 of 54 potential base-stealers have been thrown out. The pitching staff, which is holding opponents to a .263 batting average, has 19 complete games. The staff has only allowed 35 homers and 9.0 hits per nine innings.

Andy Schutzenhofer leads Illinois with a .380 batting average along with seven homers and 63 RBIs. Luke Simmons is hitting .354 with seven homers and 41 RBIs. Chris Basak is hitting .333 with a team-best 21 steals. All but one Illinois player is hitting .300 or better.

Junior righthander Jason Anderson is the leader of the Illinois pitching staff. In 18 starts, he has a 13-3 record and 3.30 ERA along with nine complete games, a .238 opponent batting average, 86 strikeouts, and just four homers allowed in 125.1 innings pitched. No other Illinois pitcher has more than 66.2 innings pitched. Andy Dickinson has an 8-2 record and 4.01 ERA in seven starts and 14 relief appearances. Righthanded closer Matt Vorwald has made 29 relief appearances and has a 6-2 record along with a 2.68 ERA, eight saves, and 37 strikeouts in 47.0 innings pitched.

Clemson and Illinois have met just two times, both games coming at Clemson in 1986. Clemson won both games by scores of 9-2 and 6-5. Clemson has not played at Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament since 1975, when Clemson lost to Penn State 5-4 in Ypsilanti, MI.

Illinois has 2,076 wins in school history, ranking 12th in the nation. Head Coach Itch Jones has 1,096 career wins in his 34th year as a head coach. He is in his 10th season at Illinois and has a 330-243 record at Illinois. Illinois is making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 1998, when it won three games in the South I Regional at Gainesville, FL

Clemson To Be Host Site for Regional For the fifth time in seven seasons under Head Coach Jack Leggett, the Tigers will host a regional from May 26-28 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium (5,000). Clemson hosted last in 1998 and also hosted from 1994-96. The host selection means Clemson will participate the NCAA Tournament for the 14th straight season. Of the 16 regional sites, only South Carolina and Florida State had better regular-season records. Clemson has played 11 of the teams in the field of 64. In 26 games, the Tigers are 14-12 against the field. The 16 host sites and the teams in each regional are listed below.

Location #1 Seed #2 Seed #3 Seed #4 Seed
Columbia, SC 1South Carolina Wake Forest Seton Hall Liberty
Lafayette, LA East Carolina Louisiana-Lafayette McNeese State Marist
Minneapolis, MN Nebraska Minnesota Wichita State Butler
Palo Alto, CA 8Stanford Alabama Nevada Fresno State
Houston, TX 5Houston Rice Texas Tech Princeton
Waco, TX Baylor Florida San Jose State Southwest Texas State
Starkville, MS Mississippi State Tulane Notre Dame South Alabama
Clemson, SC 4CLEMSON Old Dominion Illinois Middle Tennessee
Baton Rouge, LA 2Louisiana State New Orleans Louisiana-Monroe Jackson State
Oklahoma City, OK^ UCLA Oklahoma Oral Roberts Delaware
Upper Montclair, NJ^ Rutgers North Carolina Penn State Army
Tempe, AZ 7Arizona State Texas Creighton Miami (OH)
Tallahassee, FL 6Florida State Central Florida Evansville Bethune-Cookman
Coral Gables, FL Miami (FL) Florida Atlantic Florida International Wagner
Fullerton, CA Southern California Cal. State-Fullerton Loyola Marymount Virginia Tech
Atlanta, GA 3Georgia Tech Auburn Stetson Georgia Southern

^ – off-campus site, national seeds are listed as superscripts

Clemson’s NCAA Tournament History Clemson (45-16) enters this year’s NCAA Tournament with more wins already than its totaled since 1996, when Clemson finished 51-17. The Tigers have participated in 26 NCAA Tournaments overall and 14 in a row (both numbers include the 2000 season). In each of the 13 previous tournaments, Clemson has won at least one game. Only Miami (FL), Florida State, and Oklahoma State have longer current streaks. Clemson’s 26 appearances also ranks seventh in the nation, while the 14-year run ranks tied for sixth all-time in NCAA history. Clemson has a 64-53 (.547) all-time record in the tournament, including a 35-27 (.565) record during the 13-year run. Jack Leggett has a 19-13 (.594) record in NCAA Tourney play as the Tiger Head Coach as well. Leggett was 4-10 in the NCAA Tournament at Western Carolina in five seasons (1985-89), therefore is 23-23 (.500) in his career in 11 NCAA Tournaments.

Clemson, who is hosting for the first time in the new regional format, has hosted six times previously, with the last coming in 1998. Clemson went 1-2 in that regional and fell to eventual National Champion Southern California. The Tigers also hosted in 1980 (3-0), 1981 (0-2), 1994 (2-2), 1995 (4-0), and 1996 (4-0). Therefore, Clemson has a 14-6 (.700) record in tournament play as the host school. Clemson advanced to the College World Series in three of the six host seasons (1980, 1995, 1996).

Last season, Clemson lost in the opening round of the Fayetteville (AR) Sub-Regional to Southwest Missouri State by a 23-5 score. But in the next two days, Clemson won four games, including two over Southwest Missouri State to advance to the Super Regional at College Station (TX), hosted by Texas A&M. After getting blitzed in the first game 20-3, Clemson won game two 10-3 and led in game three 4-3 entering the top of the ninth inning, but two solo homers off Tiger star closer Chris Heck ended the Tiger season.

Individual Perfomers in the NCAA Tournament Khalil Greene is a career .519 hitter in the NCAA Tournament, along with six doubles, 10 RBIs, and a .583 on-base percentage in eight career games. Patrick Boyd is a career .489 hitter along with five doubles, two homers, 10 RBIs, 4-4 on stolen bases, and a .537 on-base percentage in 11 games. Bradley LeCroy has also stepped up his game in the postseason, hitting .333 with seven RBIs in nine NCAA Tournament games. Ryan Mottl has made four career starts and one relief appearance in three separate NCAA Tournaments. He has a 1-1 record and 5.48 ERA in 23.0 total innings pitched. Mike Proto has made one start and four relief appearances for a total of 13.1 innings pitched. He has a 1-0 record, .208 opponent batting average, and a 4.73 ERA. He pitched superbly in Clemson’s clinching win in the Fayetteville (AR) Regional a season ago.

Three ACC Teams Among National Seeds Five of the nine ACC teams have been selected to play in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Three of the five are in the top six in the country according to the tournament selection committee. Georgia Tech is the #3 national seed, Clemson is the #4 national seed, and Florida State is the #6 national seed. All three of those teams are hosting regionals this weekend. Wake Forest and North Carolina have earned #2 seeds in their respective regionals. Wake Forest will play in the Columbia (SC) Regional at South Carolina. North Carolina will play in the Upper Montclair (NJ) Regional hosted by Rutgers.

NCAA Regional Tickets Available The Clemson ticket office is accepting reservations for tournament passes to the 2000 NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament. Each reserve seat tournament pass is $50 and can be purchased through the ticket office between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM at the Clemson Ticket office at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Single session general admission tickets will be available at $8 for adults and $6 for students high school age and under. Students who attend one of the four participating schools will be admitted for $6 with valid student identification.

The NCAA announced sites Monday, May 15, and Clemson was one of 16 chosen. The four-team regional format will feature six or seven games, to be held May 26-28. Reserved tickets can be picked up at the ticket office between May 23-25 between 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Tickets that have not been picked up by May 26 will be available 90 minutes prior to the first game at the third base gate at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. No tickets will be mailed. For more information, call 1-800 CLEMSON or 864-656-2118.

Doug Kingsmore Stadium’s official capacity is 5,000, but over 6,000 fans packed the stadium for the South Carolina game earlier this season. The Clemson single-game attendance record is 6,223 against North Carolina on April 1, 1995. The record crowd for a regional at Clemson is 5,879 against Auburn on May 28, 1994.

Tiger Bats Come Alive in ACC Tournament Clemson’s second-place finish in the ACC Tournament was due in a huge way to the Tiger bats. Clemson hit .343 in the five games along with hitting 12 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. Clemson also slugged at a .558 clip and had a .426 on-base percentage. Individually, Khalil Greene led the Tigers with a .500 (11-for-22) batting average along with two doubles, a triple, homer, seven runs scored, and six RBIs. Patrick Boyd hit .450 (9-for-20) with eight runs scored, two doubles, a triple, homer, and eight RBIs as well. Casey Stone added nine hits (.375 batting average), while Mike Calitri and Jeff Baker each hit two homers. Baker drove in nine runs as well despite being hampered by a nagging calf injury.

Injury Update * Michael Johnson broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in the first inning against Western Carolina on April 26. He is listed as doubtful for the Clemson Regional.

* Jeff Baker had to DH the last four ACC Tournament games due to a contused calf. He is listed as questionable to play at shortstop in the Clemson Regional.

Noteworthy * Khalil Greene is 35-for-71 (.493) with 23 RBIs in his last 17 games. He is hitting a team-best .376 overall and has a current 19-game hitting streak. He is also hitting a team-best .465 with runners in scoring position.

* Casey Stone is 28-for-his-last-54 (.519) over the last 13 games. He is also 54-for-131 (.412) since becoming the everyday leadoff hitter 30 games ago.

* After starting the season 1-for-28, Justin Singleton is 25-for-69 (.362) since.

* Ryan Riley is hitting .300 overall, but is hitting .409 with two outs and .424 with runners in scoring position.

* Jeff Baker in the ACC Tournament, did not commit an error in 26 chances. He also hit .313 in the five games.

* Nick Glaser’s 14 saves is tied for the most in a season in Tiger history. He shares the record of 14 with Scott Winchester (1995).

* Scott Berney started the season by not allowing a run in his first 32.2 innings pitched, which is a Clemson record.

* Clemson is 7-3 in one-run games and 8-3 in two-run games this year.

* Clemson is 32-2 when it totals 10 hits or more in a game. The two losses came at #1 South Carolina in 12 innings and against #3 Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament. Both scores were 9-8.

* Clemson is 32-5 at home this season. The school record for home wins is 34, set in 1996.

* Clemson has played 17 of its last 20 games away from home. The Tigers have had just three home games since April 18.

* Clemson is averaging 2,520 fans in its 34 home dates.

Tiger Streaks Rank Third Best in the Country Clemson has won at least 40 games for 15 straight seasons. The Tigers reached that mark against #4 Florida State on May 8, a 7-4 Tiger win. Clemson will also participate in its 14th straight NCAA Tournament this weekend. Both marks rank in the top-three in the country currently. Clemson is tied for third in the nation in consecutive tournament appearances, trailing only Miami (FL) (28) and Florida State (23). Wichita State also a 14-year run in the tournament. As far as consecutive 40-win seasons, Clemson is third in the country with its 15-year streak. The Tigers trail only Florida State (23) and Wichita State (23) in that area.

Tigers Finish in Second Place in Final ACC Standings Clemson’s 17-7 conference record was good for second place in the conference. The Tigers finished one game behind first place Georgia Tech, who was 18-6 in league play. Florida State finished third at 15-9 and Wake Forest fourth at 14-10. North Carolina finished fifth at 12-12, while N.C. State and Virginia were tied for sixth at 10-14. Maryland and Duke rounded out the conference standings. The Tigers have finished in the top three in the standings for 28 of the last 30 seasons. Since 1957, the season before Bill Wilhelm’s first of 36 seasons at Clemson, the Tigers have not finished worse than fifth in the ACC.

ACC Overall

Team W-L Pct GB W-L-T Pct
1. Georgia Tech^ 18-6 .750 —- 47-14 .770
2. CLEMSON 17-7 .708 1.0 45-16 .738
3. Florida State 15-9 .625 3.0 45-15 .750
4. Wake Forest 14-10 .583 4.0 39-18-1 .681
5. North Carolina 12-12 .500 6.0 44-15 .746
6. N.C. State 10-14 .417 8.0 30-28 .517
Virginia 10-14 .417 8.0 26-31-1 .457
8. Maryland 7-17 .297 11.0 24-33 .421
9. Duke 5-19 .208 13.0 17-41 .302

^ – ACC Tournament champion, Note: Records entering NCAA Tournament