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Clemson vs. South Carolina Preview

Clemson vs. South Carolina Preview

April 17, 2007

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Clemson vs. South Carolina Clemson (25-10), ranked as high as #13 in the nation, will travel to Columbia to take on #4 South Carolina (29-8) on Wednesday at Sarge Frye Field in the third of four scheduled matchups between the two rivals during the regular season. First pitch for Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 7:06 PM. The game will be televised live by CSS. The game will also be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will be available on Clemson’s athletic website at as well. The two teams will play again on April 25 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Series Clemson and South Carolina have met 277 times on the diamond, with Clemson holding a 162-113-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1899 season. South Carolina is Clemson’s most-played rival in history.

Earlier this season in March, the Gamecocks won both games of a weekend series by scores of 12-0 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and 3-2 in Columbia.

Last season, Clemson won three of four meetings with the Gamecocks, including each of the last three games. South Carolina won the first game by a score of 6-2 in Columbia, then Clemson won 6-4 the following day in Tigertown. Then in April, Clemson won by scores of 3-2 (at Columbia) and 10-5 (at Clemson).

The two teams split the four-game season series in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons. The Gamecocks hold a 71-65-2 lead over Clemson all-time in games played at South Carolina. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 27-22 against South Carolina as Clemson’s head coach, including a 14-10 record in games played at South Carolina. The Tigers are 13-14 against a top-10 Gamecock club under Leggett as well.

The Starting Pitchers South Carolina will start sophomore righty Mike Cisco (2-2, 5.44 ERA) on the mound Wednesday. The Mount Pleasant, SC native has made eight starts and one relief appearance for a total of 46.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 53 hits (.290 opponents’ batting average) and eight walks with 35 strikeouts.

The Tigers have yet to determine their starting pitcher.

The Gamecocks South Carolina, led by 11th-year Head Coach Ray Tanner, enters Wednesday’s game against Clemson with a 29-8 overall record and 9-6 SEC mark after winning two of three games against Auburn at home this past weekend and defeating Wofford 8-0 on Tuesday. The Gamecocks, who are 17-4 at home, are ranked as high as #4 in the country.

South Carolina has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 318-135 this season. Six of its eight losses have been by one run. Offensively, the team is hitting .318 with a .408 on-base percentage, 63 home runs, and 182 walks. The team has swiped 39 bases in 45 attempts and has 29 sacrifice bunts. The Gamecocks are 27-0 when they total at least as many hits as their opponents and 2-8 when they get outhit. One of those two wins was against Clemson on March 4 when the Tigers outhit the Gamecocks 8-7.

Trent Kline is hitting .353 with 12 doubles, five homers, and 28 RBIs. James Darnell is batting .359 with 12 long balls and 42 RBIs along with a current 11-game hitting streak. Justin Smoak, who is riding an 18-game hitting streak, has totaled 11 homers and 42 RBIs to go along with his .340 batting average.

The pitching staff has a 3.01 ERA and .224 opponents’ batting average. The team has allowed just 131 walks with 360 strikeouts. Junior righty Wynn Pelzer has a 2.28 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen.

The Gamecocks have one of the nation’s best defenses, as they have committed just 32 errors in 37 games, good for a .977 fielding percentage.

The Tigers Clemson enters the game at South Carolina with a 25-10 overall record and 10-5 ACC mark after winning two of three games at Wake Forest over the weekend. The Tigers, who are 7-5 on the road this season, also bring a #13 national ranking into Wednesday’s game.

The team is hitting .289 with a .372 on-base percentage. Brad Chalk is hitting a team-best .416 with a .537 on-base percentage. Doug Hogan is hitting .325 with five homers and 20 RBIs. Taylor Harbin leads the squad with 31 RBIs and 13 doubles. Marquez Smith, the lone Tiger to start all 35 games in 2007, is hitting .309 with a team-high six homers and 28 RBIs as well.

The pitching staff has a 3.35 ERA and .248 opponents’ batting average. It has combined to strike out 300 against 97 walks. Daniel Moskos has a team-high six saves, while Stephen Clyne has an 0.37 ERA and .182 opponents’ batting average along with two saves in 17 relief appearances. The team is fielding at a .971 clip as well.

Worth Noting * Clemson is 16-0 when its opponents commit two or more errors.

Polls Clemson stayed at the #14 spot in the Baseball America poll and jumped to #13 in the Collegiate Baseball poll on Monday after going 2-1 in three games last week. Clemson also stayed at #15 in the Sports Weekly poll.

The Tigers’ #1 ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball on February 12 was their first since February 27, 2006, when Clemson was ranked #1 by those same two polls. The Tigers have been ranked #1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack Leggett’s 14th season at Clemson.

Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio Among Tigers’ Best Clemson has a solid 3.35 ERA through 35 games this season. But the Tigers have been especially good at striking out the opposition without giving them “free passes.” The staff has combined for 300 strikeouts against only 97 walks, good for a 3.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That is the second-best mark in school history, trailing only the 3.16 figure that the 1996 staff had, which includes future Major Leaguers Kris Benson, Billy Koch, Ken Vining, and Matt White. The 2007 staff’s 8.67 strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched mark is also the best figure since the 1996 staff’s mark of 9.69.

Tigers Take Two of Three at Wake Forest Clemson, ranked #14 in the nation, won two of three games at Wake Forest from April 13-15, as the Tigers won the first and last games of the series. Clemson did not commit an error in the series, while Tiger pitchers combined for 30 strikeouts against only four walks. Brad Chalk was 5-for-6, Wilson Boyd was 5-for-9, and Ben Paulsen was 5-for-10 to lead the Tigers, who outhit Wake Forest .291 to .277 in the series.

In game-one, Taylor Harbin added two hits and three RBIs. Addison Johnson went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored as well. The Tigers’ three-run sixth inning proved to be the difference. Clemson did not commit an error and held Wake Forest to 1-for-13 with runners on base.

In game-two, Brett Linnenkohl’s walkoff single in the ninth inning gave Wake Forest a 6-5 win over Clemson at Hooks Stadium on April 14. The loss snapped the Tigers’ 17-game winning streak in the series. Tyler Smith walked to lead off the ninth, went to second on a balk, and scored two batters later on Linnenkohl’s single over the head of Johnson in left field. After the Demon Deacons scored three runs in the fifth inning after the first two batters of frame were retired, Clemson scored four runs in the sixth on two-run doubles by both Doug Hogan and Mitchell. But Evan Ocheltree’s solo homer in the bottom of the sixth tied the score. Mitchell and Chalk led Clemson with two hits apiece, while Linnenkohl had three of Wake Forest’s 10 hits.

In game-three, Clemson escaped with a 5-4 win at Wake Forest on April 15. The Demon Deacons scored two runs in the ninth and had the potential tying run on second base with one out before the game was eventually called due to heavy rain. The two teams waited 90 minutes until the game was finally called, and there was also a 69-minute weather delay at the end of the fourth inning. Andy D’Alessio went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs as well.