April 29, 2002
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Clemson Remains Atop All Three Polls Clemson remains atop all three baseball polls this week after a 4-1 week last week, including a win at #5 South Carolina and two wins in three games against #3 Wake Forest. It is the sixth straight week being ranked #1 by at least one poll and fifth straight week being ranked #1 by all three polls.
Leggett Gets Win #100 vs. Top-25 Teams In his ninth season at Clemson, Leggett has 102 wins over teams ranked in the top 25. He picked up win #100 against top-25 teams at #5 South Carolina on April 24 in Clemson’s 4-1 win. Only two times in his eight previous seasons has he had a losing record against teams in the top 25. He also sports a .509 winning percentage against teams ranked in the top 10.
Clemson 10-3 vs. Top-25 Teams in 2002 With his team’s sweep of #25 Auburn, three wins in four games over #4 South Carolina, two wins in three tries at #13 North Carolilna, and two wins in three games against #3 Wake Forest, Clemson is 10-3 against top-25 teams this season. The Tigers are also 5-1 against teames ranked in the top five.
Leggett Nearing 800 Career Wins Head Coach Jack Leggett, in his ninth season as Clemson’s skipper, reached the 400-win mark as Clemson’s head coach in the Tigers’ 6-2 win over Coastal Carolina on March 27. He is 418-161 (.722) at Clemson and has 795 career victories in his 23rd year as a collegiate head coach, which includes nine seasons at Western Carolina and five seasons at Vermont.
Leggett Against the SEC In nine seasons under Head Coach Jack Leggett, Clemson has had tremendous success against the Southeastern Conference. Leggett’s record against the SEC as the Tigers’ skipper is 50-22, including 20 wins against top-25 teams. Leggett has at least a .500 record against all eight SEC schools he has faced while at Clemson. He has a better winning percentage against SEC teams (.694) than ACC teams (.682) as well. Below is a list of Leggett’s record at Clemson against each of the eight SEC member schools he has faced.
Tigers Tough at Home in ACC Play The ACC, regarded year in and year out as one of the top-three baseball conferences in the country, has some great home-field advantages, like at Florida State. But few can argue that there is a tougher place to play than at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. And under Head Coach Jack Leggett, 34 ACC teams have played a three-game series at Clemson, with 33 of them going away with losing at least two of three games. The only series the Tigers did not come out on top was against N.C. State in 1996. The Tigers also split a rain-shortened series in 1997 against Georgia Tech.
Aiming for 17th Straight 40-Win Season It appears on every baseball sheet produced by the Clemson Media Relations office, but it is still worth noting over and over. That is Clemson’s 16-straight 40-win seasons. And with two more wins, Clemson will have its 17th straight 40-win season.
Tigers Take Series From #3 Deacons Thanks to more great pitching, #1 Clemson won two of three games from #3 Wake Forest from April 26-28. Tiger pitchers limited Wake Forest to a .191 batting average and seven total runs on the weekend, just a week after it scored 52 runs and hit 13 homers against Maryland. The Tigers also limited the Demon Deacons to just two hits in 22 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Khalil Greene led the Tigers with seven hits in 10 at-bats along with four steals in the series. A total of 12,488 fans came out to see two of the top three teams in the nation during the weekend.
Wake Forest won game one 4-2 thanks to a three-run eighth inning, capped by Jeff Ruziecki’s two-run, go-ahead homer. The loss spoiled the effort of Steve Reba, who allowed just one run on two hits in 7.0 innings. Clemson left 15 runners on base and was 1-for-15 with men in scoring position.
The Tigers responded with a 5-3 win in game two. B.J. LaMura picked up his fifth win, while Clemson’s three-run fourth inning sparked the Tigers to the win. Patrick Hogan picked up his third save of the season, while Seth Miller led the Tigers with two hits.
Game three saw freshman lefty Tyler Lumsden pitch 7.1 shutout innings, allowing just four hits and four walks while striking out seven, as Clemson downed the Demon Deacons 4-0 to take the series. It was Lumsden’s first career start and the first start by a Tiger lefty in 61 games. Matt Henrie pitched the final 1.2 innings to close out the game. Greene led the Tigers with three hits, while Kyle Frank, Russell Triplett, and David Slevin pitched in with three hits apiece. Clemson turned four double plays in the game as well.
Four Tigers Among Top 50 Prospects Four current Tigers are listed among Baseball America’s top 50 college prospects for the 2002 Major League Draft. The players are Jeff Baker (#3), Khalil Greene (#33), Jarrod Schmidt (#40), and Michael Johnson (#42).
“Clemson’s status as the #1 team in the country is buoyed by the amount of pro talent scouts see on the team,” says John Manuel of Baseball America. “Jeff Baker, Khalil Greene, Jarrod Schmidt, and Michael Johnson all project as players who could be selected, if healthy, within the first three-to-five rounds come June 4. Clemson alone has a good chance of having more draft picks in the first few rounds then the entire SEC combined.”
“In addition, their command and solid breaking pitches will enable pitchers Steve Reba, one of the better senior drafts available, and Matt Henrie to be drafted solidly as well.”
Tigers-a-Plenty in NCAA Stats Clemson is among the NCAA leaders in several team categories, as well as several Tiger individuals. Stats are for games through Sunday, April 21.
Tigers Way Out in Front in Latest RPI Index The only rating system the NCAA uses to determine selections and seedings is the RPI, or the Ratings Percentage Index. Although the NCAA does not release its official RPI, Boyd Nation has come up with an RPI index that is all but the same as the official RPI. He uses numbers from previous seasons to verify his formulas.
In his April 23 release, Nation’s RPI index has Clemson #1 by a wide margin. Clemson’s .686 rating is well ahead of #2 Wake Forest, who stands at .666. The ACC, which has five teams in the RPI’s top 10, is the top-ranked conference according to Nation’s RPI index as well. The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and are for games through April 21
Winning Streaks Stopped at 13 Thirteen has been a common number for the Tigers this season. Clemson has had just three winning streaks, two of which lasted 13 games. It is only the second time in history that the Tigers have had two winning streaks of at least 13 games in the same season. The 1988 team had a 21-game winning streak in mid-season and a 15-game winning streak early in the season. Clemson’s 13-game winning streaks are tied for the eighth-longest in school history.
Multi-Homer Games A current Tiger has hit at least two home runs in a game 21 times, including 10 times by Jeff Baker. Baker has already hit at least two long balls on three occasions this season. Twenty-one of Baker’s 50 career homers have come during multi-homer games. Seven times in 2002 a Tiger has gone deep twice as well.
Return of the Long Ball Clemson has continued to launch the long ball in 2002 after a big 2001 season. The Tigers have 69 home runs in 44 games this season, averaging 1.57 per game. That has helped Clemson to a .543 slugging percentage, slightly behind the school record of .571, set in 1991. Three different Tigers have also reached double digits in homers already this season, Jeff Baker (16), Michael Johnson (16), and Khalil Greene (13), combining for 45 as a trio.
The 1991 team set a school record with 111 home runs in 70 games. The 1997 team launched 95 home runs in 64 games as well. After hitting only 37 long balls in 2000, the proliferation of home runs returned to Clemson in 2001. The Tigers smashed 85 home runs last season in 63 games, more than double the output of 2000. Fifteen of the 37 homers in 2000 came at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, while Clemson more than tripled the total and hit 54 out of Kingsmore Stadium in 2001. The fences to the stadium were moved in 10 feet prior to the start of 2001 to help counter the brisk winds that usually blow straight in from centerfield.
Back-to-Back Jacks Four times in 2002 Clemson players have hit back-to-back home runs. Jarrod Schmidt have done the deed twice this year. The Tigers also went back-to-back twice in one game against Maryland on March 30.
Big Innings Twice in the span of four games Clemson scored double-digits in runs in a single inning. The first came against Coastal Carolina on March 26, when the Tigers scored 12 runs in the fifth inning on its way to a 19-1 win. It tied for the most runs in a fifth inning in Clemson history and sixth-most in a single inning regardless of inning. Clemson plated 12 runs on 10 hits and after the first batter of the inning struck out. Ten batters in a row reached base after the first out. Five of the 10 hits were doubles, including two by Steve Pyzik. Clemson sent 16 batters to the plate in the inning.
Four days later, Clemson scored 10 runs in the first inning against Maryland on its way to a 16-7 win. The 10 runs tied for the third most in a first inning by a Clemson team. The uprising was highlighted by back-to-back homers by Kyle Frank and Khalil Greene. Frank, Greene, and Jeff Baker all had two hits apiece in the inning, which saw the Tigers send 14 batters to the plate.
Against Furman on April 23, Clemson’s lead hung by a string at 8-7 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Then with two outs, the Tigers plated 10 runs in the inning to pad their 18-7 win. Jeff Baker’s 50th career homer highlighted the uprising. The 10-run eighth inning tied for the third-highest eighth-inning total in Tiger history. Nine hits led to the 10 runs.
Trio Challenging Records Clemson has one of the most feared lineups in the country, especially in the heart of the order. Jeff Baker, and Michael Johnson, the number-three-four-five hitters in the order, have combined for 45 home runs and 160 RBIs over the first 44 games of the season.
Even though the Tigers are just 79 percent through the regular season with postseason games to come, it is apparent this trio could be the most productive heart of the order in Clemson history. The Clemson record for home runs in a season by three players combined is 57, set last year when Baker had 23, Johnson had 18, and Jarrod Schmidt added 16. The RBI mark for three players combined on the same team is 236. In 1991, Eric Macrina knocked in 84 runs, while Jim Crowley had 77, and Michael Spiers added 75.
This year’s trio is ahead of the per game pace of the threesomes that hold the existing records in both categories. The trio is averaging 1.02 home runs per game so far this year, ahead of the 0.91 per game pace by Baker, Johnson, and Schmidt last year. The 2002 trio average is 3.64 RBIs per game, ahead of the 3.37 per game by Macrina, Crowley, and Spiers in 1991.
Infield Among Nation’s Best It’s no secret why Clemson has a chance to set a school record for batting average…the veteran infield of junior Jeff Baker (3B), senior David Slevin (2B), and junior Michael Johnson (1B). But it’s difficult for any infield to stack up to Clemson’s in terms of defense. Baker (.933), Greene (.964), Slevin (.964), and Johnson (.989) all have very good fielding percentages, which is why Clemson’s .973 fielding percentage in 2002 is ahead of the school record of .969 set in 2000. Greene continues to make the spectacular play at short, while Baker and Slevin have been steady.
B-U-L-L-P-E-N That is how you spell relief, at least against Duke in three games from April 19-21. In the three games, four Tiger relievers combined to pitch 9.1 innings, allowing no runs and just three hits while picking up three saves. All three games saw Duke have opportunities to tie and even take the lead from the Tigers, but every time the bullpen closed the door. Patrick Hogan, Thomas Boozer, and Tyler Lumsden all pitched “lights-out”, including Boozer pitching 3.2 hitless and scoreless innings on April 20 to preserve Clemson’s win. Ironically, Clemson’s closer, Paul Harrelson, did not even pitch against Duke.
In the last nine games, the Tiger bullpen has pitched 26.2 innings, allowing only seven earned runs for a 2.36 ERA while a Tiger has picked up a save in six of the seven wins over the stretch.
Hurlers Coming Through in the Clutch At Duke from April 19-21, Tiger pitchers allowed only two hits in 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position, which directly led to Clemson allowing just four earned runs in the three games. Then in three games against #3 Wake Forest, Tiger pitchers limited the Demon Deacons to just two hits in 22-at bats with men in scoring position, meaning in the last six ACC games, opponents are just 4-for-54 (.074) with men in scoring position. That has been the trend all year for Tiger pitchers, as they have allowed a .221 batting average in that situation. Also, they have allowed a .224 batting average with two outs.
Tiger batters have been coming through in the clutch with a .319 team batting average with men in scoring position. Roberto Valiente leads the team in that situation with a .636 (7-for-11) batting average, while Khalil Greene is hitting .518 as well.
Single-Game Batting Average Record Falls When Clemson defeated Georgia Southern 20-8 on March 12, the offense pounded out 23 hits in only 44 at-bats for a batting average of .522, a new school record. The previous standard was set 20 years ago when the Tigers won 22-10 at Auburn on May 8, 1982. On that day, Clemson batted 29-for-56 (.518).
Greene-er Pastures Still Ahead Khalil Greene has set the Clemson career record for RBIs, hits, and total bases, but he has no plans to stop there. The Key West, FL native is within reach of many more Tiger records, including doubles, at-bats, and games played. He is also well in range of the ACC records for hits, doubles, and RBIs. He holds a dubious record as well. He set school standards for most times being hit by a pitch in an inning, game, season, and career.
Ironman Khalil Greene has played in every game (245) since becoming a Tiger in 1999, and has started all but one of those games. That one non-start came in the third game of the season his freshman season against Kansas State, meaning he has started 242 games in a row.
The 245 games played ranks fourth in the Clemson career charts. The Tiger record is 259 set by Bert Heffernan from 1985-88. His ability to avoid injury can be attributed to his dedicated weight-room habits and pre-game stretch routine.
Greene’s .365 Career Average Ninth Best Khalil Greene was a starter in the Tiger lineup from day one as a freshman, and he has placed himself in the top 10 in the Clemson record books in career batting average three years later. His .365 average ranks ninth best, trailing only the likes of Tim Teufel, Rusty Adkins, Billy McMillon, Shane Monahan, and Denny Walling. Walling leads the batting average charts with a .421 career average, despite playing only one season in Tigertown.
Greene Laying the Leather Perhaps Khalil Greene proudest accomplishment is his outstanding career fielding percentage of .940, including a school record percentage (.965) last season for a shortstop. He has a .964 mark this year and make spectacular play after spectacular play. His ability to make the difficult play look routine has not gone unnoticed.
Khalil Greene Named Midseason POTY Senior shortstop Khalil Greene was named National Midseason Player-of-the-Year by Baseball America on April 11. Greene hit .452 with 10 homers, 43 RBIs, and an outstanding .963 fielding percentage through 31 games.
Head Coach Jack Leggett was named the National Midseason Coach-of-the-Year by Baseball America. He led the Tigers to a 28-3 record through 31 games. Michael Johnson was named the top junior first baseman and Steve Reba was one of four senior starting pitchers cited as well. Johnson hit .398 with 13 homers and 38 RBIs through 31 games. Reba was 8-0 with a 3.25 ERA.
Johnson Supplying PowerMichael Johnson has come a long way since his red-shirt year of 1999. The junior has 16 homers in 44 games after hitting 18 in 2001. His 37 career homers is eighth best in the Clemson record book. He hit two homers against Western Carolina on April 16 for his seventh career multi-homer game. He has also hit four homers in three games against South Carolina this season. The Preseason First-Team All-American has shown power to all fields, as he has hit home runs over every part of the outfield fence, making him very difficult to pitch to. He also is hitting for average (.365) and has surprising speed. Johnson has seven steals this year after swiping 11 in 11 attempts a season ago.
Coming out of high school, Johnson was a standout shortstop and pitcher, but had a hard time adjusting to the speed of college pitching as a batter. He has patiently waited behind the likes of All-ACC first-baseman Jason Harris and Mike Calitri for his turn to shine. And he has done just that. Against Miami (FL) in the Super Regional last season, he rocketed a home run over the centerfield batters’ eye. He was the only player to do that on the eventual national champion’s field in 2001, including Hurricane players.
Baker Moving Up Career Home Run List Third-baseman Jeff Baker moved into fourth place on Clemson’s all-time career home run list with three home runs against Winthrop on April 3 and is moving up the charts. His three homers tied a Clemson record and was the most in a game by a Tiger since 1993 (Shane Monahan). Baker’s 50 career home runs is within reach of Matthew LeCroy’s school record of 53 home runs. LeCroy set the record in just three seasons (1995-97).
Baker’s Walk-Off Homer Clemson junior third-baseman Jeff Baker socked a walk-off ninth-inning home run to defeat Winthrop on April 3 at Kingsmore Stadium. It was the first ninth-inning, game ending home run for the Tigers since May 6, 1997 when Eric DeMoura hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to defeat North Carolina, 5-4.
Baker’s home run was the fourth walk-off home run for the Tigers under Jack Leggett (since 1994) and the 17th game-ending hit since Leggett has been head coach. Sixteen of the 17 game-ending hits have taken place at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The only exception was a game-ending single by Kurt Bultmann against N.C. State in the 1999 ACC Tournament in Durham, NC.
Baker has had many clutch hits in his three-year career, but the home run against Winthrop was his first walk-off hit. Four different active Tigers now have game-ending hits in their careers. Khalil Greene has two, one against Coastal Carolina in 2001 and one against South Carolina earlier this year. Steve Pyzik are also current players in the walk-off hit club.
Baker’s home run in the ninth to beat Winthrop was also his third home run of the game. Baker became the 10th Clemson player in history to hit three home runs in a game, the first since April 11, 1993 when Shane Monahan hit three home runs at N.C. State. It was the first time any Clemson player had ever hit three home runs in a game at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The last time a Clemson player hit three home runs in a game on the Clemson campus was on April 14, 1964, when Jack McCall hit three against Georgia Tech.
Frank & Henrie No, it’s not a law firm, but the way outfielder Kyle Frank and righthander Matt Henrie have taken time off to improve themselves and become All-Star candidates, anything is possible. Both followed similar paths, as each red-shirted in their second seasons at Clemson (in 2000) after playing spot roles as true freshmen in 1999. Frank hit just .255 in 46 games in ’99, while Henrie saw action in only five relief appearances, posting a 13.50 ERA. So after a year of hard work and self-improvement, the two came on in 2001. Frank became an everyday outfielder and Henrie firmly planted himself as a weekend starter. And in 2002, both have continued their upward improvement with stellar seasons to date.
Frank is hitting .367 with 15 doubles, three homers, and 30 RBIs. Frank, who has a second-degree black belt in karate, has started at every outfield position.
Henrie has a 2.03 ERA and 9-1 record. He has allowed just 64 hits and 16 walks while striking out 54 in 71.0 innings pitched. Over his last nine starts, he is 8-1 and has allowed only 10 earned runs in 58.2 innings pitched for a 1.53 ERA. Henrie got the win at #13 North Carolina on April 13 when he pitched a career-long 8.1 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs. He also picked up the win at #5 South Carolina on April 24 when he allowed just one run on six hits in 7.0 innings pitched.
Henrie’s Consistency Junior righty Matt Henrie leads the ACC in ERA, and has done so in a quiet fashion. He has yet to throw a complete game or to win any national accolades, but his consistency has been key to Clemson’s #1 ranking. In his 11 starts this year, only once has he allowed more than two earned runs, that coming against #4 South Carolina on March 3 when he allowed five earned runs. But since then, he has been a machine, with a 1.53 ERA in his last nine starts.
Jay-Rod Swinging a Big Stick Jarrod Schmidt is playing everyday in right field this year, as he has started 38 games. Baseball America touted Jarrod (nicknamed “Jay-Rod”) as a 2002 Preseason Second-Team All-American as an outfielder. He is living up to his potential at the plate, as he is hitting .312 with seven homers and 32 RBIs. He has even used his strong arm in the field, as he threw out a Maryland runner trying to score on a fly ball on March 31, helping preserve Clemson’s 7-2 win. He also threw out a Winthrop runner attempting to tag-up from second base on April 3. It proved vital in Clemson’s 6-4 win over the Eagles. Schmidt missed five games from April 16-21. He was attending services for the death of his grandfather.
Schmidt Posting W’s When junior Jarrod Schmidt (Marietta, GA) picked up his second win of the season against South Carolina on March 3, he improved his career record to 18-3 on the mound, good enough for an .857 winning percentage. The mark ties him for fourth with Bill Parmer (1965-67), who also had an 18-3 record. Schmidt is playing every day in right field this season; unlike in his first two seasons, when he was a weekend starter. Schmidt wants to focus more on his hitting and fielding aspects, but is still a valuable reliever and starter. His fastball tops out around 90 miles per hour. The righthander was 9-0 as a freshman and 7-3 last season as a starter to go along with his 2-0 record in 2002.
Freshmen Hitters Playing Key Roles Freshmen Jeff Hourigan and Collin Mahoney have stepped right in to the Tiger program and provided power to the Tiger lineup. Mahoney has hit six homers in just 69 at bats, while Hourigan has six homers and 21 RBIs. Three of Mahoney’s six homers were memorable, towering home runs that each travelled more than 450 feet. He also hit the go-ahead, two-run shot in the eighth inning against Georgia on April 10 in Clemson’s 6-5 win.
Hourigan is the everyday designated hitter and recently has been starting in left field, as he is hitting .278. Like Jarrod Schmidt, he is also a stopper out of the bullpen. He has allowed just six runs and 14 hits in 18.0 innings pitched. Hourigan has also struck out 23 while walking just four. He came in with the bases loaded and one out with Clemson leading #13 North Carolina 4-2 and got Sean Farrell to ground into a game-ending double play. He has been clocked in the low 90s on the radar gun to go along with his nasty breaking pitch.
Reba Sports a 29-8 Career Record Senior Steve Reba returned for his senior season, much to the delight of Tiger faithful. Now he is poised to move up the Clemson career win ranks thanks to his 9-1 record in 2002. He has a 29-8 career record. His 29 career wins is tied for fourth-most in Tiger history. He is tied with Kris Benson, who had 29 wins from 1994-96. Brian Barnes (1986-89) holds the Tiger record with 44 career wins.
Reba 13-0 in His Last 16 Starts Dating back to last season, Steve Reba has won 13 starts in a row (with three no decisions). He has not lost as a starter since April 29, 2001, when North Carolina handed him a loss. His only loss of 2002 came in a relief role against #7 South Carolina, even though he did not allow an earned run in the contest.
A Family Affair Steve Reba, a Fort Wayne, IN native, has quite a following at Clemson Baseball games. His father, Mike, is a bond salesman by trade, but spends the baseball season in Clemson following his son’s team. He has missed just one of his son’s team’s games since Steve was eight years old. That one game was when Steve’s sister graduated college at Brown during the 2000 Clemson Regional. Mike can be seen all around campus taking his daily walk. Steve’s mother also has been a regular at Clemson games. No matter if Clemson is playing in Las Vegas, Miami, College Station, or Omaha, you can count on the Reba’s being there.
LaMura Finding His Rhythm Junior righty B.J. LaMura has professional talent; and he is living up to his abilities this season. He has allowed just 28 hits while striking out 38 in 39.2 innings pitched this season. He also has a 5-1 record and 2.72 ERA. Opponents are hitting a slim .196 against the Ronkonkoma, NY native. He picked up his first career win in his first career start on March 27 against Coastal Carolina and earned another win against East Tennessee State on April 2. He allowed just one run and two hits in 6.0 innings pitched against the Buccaneers. He has since moved into Clemson’s weekend rotation. In his first career weekend start on April 7 against N.C. State, he earned the win in 6.1 innings pitched. In his biggest outing of the season, he allowed just two runs on two hits in 5.0 innings pitched against #3 Wake Forest on April 27 to get the win in Clemson’s 5-3 victory. LaMura has been clocked in the low 90s on the radar gun this season.
LaMura Outstanding in Classroom B.J. LaMura has a career 3.82 GPA in the classroom to go with his outstanding numbers on the field. He has made just four “B’s” in his five semesters at Clemson. He made a perfect 4.0 in the fall, 2001 semester. The Sports Marketing major is a member of the Golden Key Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. LaMura is also a member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
Hawk Eyeing Closing Role Junior Paul Harrelson, known to his teammates as “Hawk”, has supplanted himself as Clemson’s closer in 2002. He picked up saves in his first five appearances and has seven in 2002. On the season, he has allowed just 17 hits and three walks while striking out 21 in 21.1 innings pitched. His eight saves is among the national leaders in that category as well. That amount also is tied for sixth most in a season in Clemson history.
The sub-mariner is quite noticeable off the field, with his “boat” of a car, which is a red 1973 Cadillac Fleetwood.
Lumsden a Freshman No More Freshman lefty Tyler Lumsden was called upon to make his first-career start against #3 Wake Forest in the rubber matchup of a three-game series on April 28. Coming in to the game, he had more walks than innings pitched and had struggled to find his control on the mound. But he grew up in a hurry that one Sunday afternoon, tossing 7.1 shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out seven to earn his first career win. Lumsden started because Matt Henrie threw over 100 pitches four days earlier at #5 South Carolina in Clemson’s 4-1 win.
On the season, the Roanoke, VA native has a 3.75 ERA along with two saves and a .132 opponents’ batting average. He has also allowed just one extra-base hit (a double) in 24.0 innings pitched this season.
Seeing Red Six of the 35 players on this season’s roster are red-shirting. Freshmen Josh Cribb (RHP), Jess Easterling (INF), Daniel Pritchard (INF), and Adam Walker (RHP) are red-shirting along with sophomores Ryan Klosterman (INF) and Gene Pierce (C).
Birthdays Several Tigers will be celebrating birthdays while the college baseball season is ongoing.
Head Coach Jack LeggettJack Leggett enters his ninth season at Clemson with a record of 380-155 (.710). Clemson has made the NCAA Tournament and won at least 40 games in all of his seasons at the helm. Since his arrival at Tigertown in 1994, Clemson has been the fifth-winningest program in the country.
Leggett came to Clemson from Western Carolina and was honored by his former school in October. He was inducted into the Western Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding leadership and his many accomplishments. He finished his nine-year Catamount career with a 302-226 (.572) record. Leggett led Western to an unprecedented five consecutive Southern Conference Championships and five straight NCAA tournament bids from 1985-89. Perhaps his most impressive statistic is the 100 percent graduation rate for all who played for him four seasons.
Clemson Ranked Second in Preseason Expectations are always high for the baseball players and coaches at Clemson, but never have the expectations from the media been as high. Clemson was tabbed as the second best team in the preseason by Baseball America, the highest preseason prediction ever for the Clemson baseball program. Other preseason polls picked the Tigers among the nation’s elite. Baseball Weekly ranked Clemson fifth while Collegiate Baseball placed the Tigers sixth.
Clemson Picked to Win ACC The Atlantic Coast Conference’s nine head coaches selected Clemson as the top pick to win the conference championship in 2002 with five first place votes and 77 points.
The Tigers return seven position players and three starting pitchers from their 2001 squad which finished second in the ACC regular season standings and compiled an overall record of 41-22.
In the voting, Florida State finished a close second with 74 points and four first place votes after finishing the 2001 season as the regular-season champion. ACC Tournament Champion Wake Forest finished in third place, tallying 57 points. The Demon Deacons finished last season with a 44-18 overall record. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets filled the fourth place slot with 56 points, while North Carolina placed fifth in the balloting with 45 points. The Tar Heels were followed by N.C. State, who finished with 33 points, and then Duke with 29 points. Virginia was selected to finish eighth with 24 points and Maryland ninth with nine points.
Captains Named for 2002 Season Outfielder Kyle Frank, third-baseman Khalil Greene, first-baseman Steve Reba were named team captains for the 2002 season, Head Coach Jack Leggett announced.
“After looking at the voting, the team decided we have a lot of capable leaders, but this group stands out,” Leggett said. “I think they will be outstanding leaders that will help guide this team to where it plans to be at the end of the year. All four are good examples of what this program is about in all different ways.”
Recruiting Class Ranked Seventh The Clemson baseball recruiting class that enrolled in school in August, 2001 was ranked seventh in the nation by Collegiate Baseball. Clemson had the highest-ranked class in the ACC. Only two other ACC schools were ranked in the top 30. Florida State was ranked ninth and Georgia Tech was ranked 14th.
“I’m extremely excited about the potential of this class,” said ninth-year head coach Jack Leggett. “Our staff has done a good job at getting these guys to come to Clemson, now it is up to them to go out there and perform. So far, I’m encouraged by what I see from this group.”
The class consists of 11 newcomers, nine freshmen and two junior college transfers, and features five players who were drafted in June’s MLB amateur draft. Tyler Lumsden was a fifth-round draft pick by the Florida Marlins. He is joined by other draftees David Slevin (11th, Rockies), Garrick Evans (23rd, Blue Jays), and Collin Mahoney (48th, Angels).
“Every year that (Associate Head Coach) Tim Corbin has been at Clemson, his hard work has paid off,” Leggett said. “Together with (Assistant Head Coach) Kevin O’Sullivan, they have been able to identify talent that has found success here. The three of us work well together in the recruiting process.”
Tigers Looking to Return to OmahaJack Leggett’s program will be looking to repeat some of its own recent history in 2002 with a return to the College World Series. After losing in the Super Regional to Texas A&M in 1999, the 2000 team came back strong and advanced to Omaha. Now, the 2002 Tigers hope to advance past last year’s Super Regional loss to eventual national champion Miami (FL) and make Clemson’s 10th appearance in the College World Series.
Omaha is literally on the minds of the players everyday. All of their hats have the word “Omaha” stitched inside the paw on the back of their caps. As a part of their warmups for practice, the players jog to the outfield and touch the banner signifying Clemson’s last CWS appearance in 2000. On their way in and out of the clubhouse from the dugout, players touch a home plate that hangs on the wall. The plate is a memento from one of the Tigers’ CWS appearances in the 1990s that Head Coach Jack Leggett had dug up from Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. The 2002 team is hoping to add its own memorabilia to the Clemson baseball tradition.
Super Job Reaching Super Regionals Clemson’s 8-2 victory over Seton Hall last June marked the third consecutive year that Clemson advanced to at least the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament, which expanded from a 48- to 64-team field prior to the 1999 season. The expansion created the Super Regional Round, which pits the winners of 16 sub-regionals with the victors there advancing to the College World Series.
The Tigers won the Fayetteville, AR Regional in 1999 to advance to the Super Regional at Texas A&M, while in 2000 the Tigers won the Clemson Regional and advanced to host Mississippi State in the Super Regional.
Clemson is one of just six schools to appear in all three Super Regional rounds. The Tigers are joined by Florida State, LSU, Miami (FL), Southern California, and Stanford to make a Super Regional every year.
Clemson in the NCAA Tournament Clemson made its 27th appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament in 2001, the seventh-best total in the nation. It marked the 15th consecutive selection for the tournament, which is the third longest active streak. The Tigers are 73-57 all-time in the NCAA tournament, with nine appearances in the College World Series.
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