March 28, 2000
CLEMSON, S.C. – Top-ranked Clemson, who has not played a game outside of Clemson since Jan. 30, will play at Georgia Wednesday night. The game will start at 7:00 PM at Foley Field (3,291) in Athens. Georgia is 12-2 at home this season. Clemson (23-3) is coming off a 23-game homestand, where it went 21-2. The Clemson Sports Network will broadcast the game live.
The Tigers, who are 38-13 against SEC teams and 9-3 against Georgia under Head Coach Jack Leggett, will start senior righthander Ryan Mottl (5-0, 1.19 ERA) in a rare mid-week start. Mottl has not started since Mar. 18. He has 28 career wins, one short of Kris Benson’s 29, who is in third place in Clemson history. Mottl also has allowed just one hit in 37 at bats with two outs this season.
Georgia (16-10) will counter with sophomore righthander Bill Sharpton (2-1, 6.31 ERA). Sharpton has made four starts and two relief appearances in 2000. In 25.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 27 hits, 15 walks, and a .262 opponent batting average while striking out 21. Georgia has a 5.76 team ERA and .272 opponent batting average. Skip Browning, who played three seasons at Clemson, has a 2-0 record and 4.12 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Bulldogs.
Georgia is coached by first-year Head Coach Ron Polk. Polk has a 1,059-496 career record in his 27th season as a college baseball head coach. The Bulldogs are led at the plate by sophomore shortstop Jeff Keppinger, who is hitting .444 with 11 doubles and 25 RBIs. He has also committed just two errors at the toughest defensive position on the field. Junior Andy Neufeld is hitting .348 with five homers and 27 RBIs, while senior outfielder Brian Rainwater is hitting .343 with 11 doubles, five homers, and 25 RBIs. Georgia has stolen 21 bases in 31 attempts and has a .324 team batting average. The Bulldogs also have an outstanding fielding percentage of .970. In Georgia’s last action on the diamond, it lost all three games at Auburn.
Clemson shortstop Jeff Baker leads Clemson with a .373 batting average. He is currently riding a six-game multi-hit streak. Second baseman Ryan Riley has the longest current Tiger hitting streak, seven games.
Georgia leads the all-time series 105-86-2 dating back to 1896. Only South Carolina has played the Tigers more times than Georgia. Clemson won both meetings in 1999. Clemson downed Georgia 17-5 at Clemson on March 23 and 7-6 at Athens on March 30. Clemson has won four consecutive games in the series.
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