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No. 5 Clemson Baseball Battles Georgia Tech This Weekend

No. 5 Clemson Baseball Battles Georgia Tech This Weekend

April 27, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. —Fifth-ranked Clemson (36-10, 11-4 ACC) plays at #5 Georgia Tech (35-10, 14-4 ACC) this weekend in a battle of two of the top teams in the ACC. Game times are 7:00 Friday, 1:00 Saturday, and 1:00 Sunday. The latter two games will be aired on Fox Sports Net South.

Two seasons ago in Atlanta, Georgia Tech swept the Tigers in three games. The Yellow Jackets also downed Clemson in the ACC Tournament that year. Last season, Clemson swept three games over the Yellow Jackets at Clemson. Clemson leads the all-time series 79-76-3 dating back to 1902.

The Yellow Jackets, who were 10-6 after 16 games, are 25-4 since. They have nine and 15-game winning streaks over that span. Florida State handed them two losses last weekend. Georgia Tech defeated Georgia 7-3 in its only game since. Clemson is coming off a 13-4 win over Western Carolina on April 26 in Asheville, NC. Clemson also swept Duke in Durham last weekend.

Clemson will turn to freshman righthander and Atlanta-area native Jarrod Schmidt (7-0, 2.29 ERA) in game one. Schmidt, who has the ACC’s best ERA, has earned a victory in each of his last seven outings, the last six of which have been starts. In 63.0 innings, he has allowed 58 hits and 27 walks along with a .249 opponent batting average. Senior righthander Ryan Mottl (7-2, 2.88 ERA) will start game two. Mottl has a .229 opponent batting average and 3.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season. Senior righthander Scott Berney (7-4, 2.57 ERA) will start on Sunday. Berney has not won since March 24, when he won in his seventh straight outing to start the season against The Citadel. He has gone his last five starts without a win. Nick Glaser is the Tiger leader out of the bullpen. The junior righthander has a 1.84 ERA and 11 saves, second most in a season in Clemson history. The Tigers sport a 3.26 team ERA and .245 opponent batting average.

The Tiger bats have come to life in the last six games. Clemson is hitting .381 in the last six games, led by Casey Stone’s 14 hits over that stretch. Clemson is up to .298 after being at .282 before the stretch. Jeff Baker leads the team with a .350 batting average along with 44 RBIs. Stone has raised his average to .325 and has a team-high 18 steals. Ryan Riley has also climbed over the .300 mark. He is hitting .303 with an ACC-best six triples as the everyday second baseman. The Tigers are 24-1 this season when totaling 10 hits or more in a game this season. Clemson also leads the ACC with a .972 fielding percentage, including a .978 mark in ACC games.

Georgia Tech, led by seventh-year Head Coach Danny Hall, will start junior lefthander Cory Vance (8-2, 3.04 ERA) on the mound on Friday. In 10 starts, Vance has allowed just 55 hits, 28 walks, and a .212 opponent batting average while striking out 85 in 71.0 innings. Sophomore righthander Rhett Parrott (6-2, 3.17 ERA) will start game two. He has allowed 47 hits and 23 walks, and has 47 strikeouts in 54.0 innings. Sophomore righthander Steve Kelly (6-2, 4.23 ERA) will start game three. Kelly has 66 strikeouts in 61.2 innings this season. Closer Jeff Watchko has four saves and a .215 opponent batting average along with 44 strikeouts against 14 walks in 41.1 innings pitched. Georgia Tech has a 3.78 team ERA and .238 opponent batting average.

Hitting-wise, Georgia Tech has two players who have among the highest batting averages in the country. Sophomore third baseman Mark Teixeira is hitting .452 with 15 doubles, 13 homers, 77 runs scored, 55 RBIs, and a .560 on-base percentage this season. Sophomore second baseman Richard Lewis is hitting .451 with 13 doubles and 44 RBIs. Jason Basil has 20 doubles, six homers, and 42 RBIs as well. Freshman Tyler Parker, a teammate of Tigers Jarrod Schmidt and Chad Bendinelli at Lassiter High in ’99, is hitting .240 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs. The Yellow Jackets are hitting .339 as a team with 52 stolen bases and a ..965 fielding percentage.

Lassiter High, Marietta Connection Clemson has two players from the state of Georgia, freshmen Jarrod Schmidt and Chad Bendinelli, both of which are from Marietta and attended Lassiter High School. In fact, Schmidt and Bendinelli grew up next door to each other in Marietta for almost their entire lives. They helped Lassiter High to the state championship as a senior. The two teamed with Georgia Tech freshman Tyler Parker as well in 1999. Yellow Jacket junior Brad Stockton also attended Lassiter High. Lassiter High sent 13 players to college baseball programs in the four years prior to this school year.

Clemson has had much success in getting quality players from the Marietta area in recent years. Shane Monahan attended Wheeler High and was an All-American at Clemson. Kris Benson attended Sprayberry High and was the national player-of-the-year and #1 overall draft pick in 1996.

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 will have x-rays taken on Monday to determine the severity of the fracture. He is out indefinitely.

* Henr’ Stanley left the Western Carolina game on April 26 early in the game due to a sore hand. His status for the Georgia Tech series is questionable.

* Jeff Baker sat out the Western Carolina game on April 26 with a sore hand. It was the first time Baker missed a start in 2000. His status for the Georgia Tech series is questionable.

Clemson Slugs Western Carolina 13-4 in Asheville Wednesday Fifth-ranked Clemson pounded out 17 hits on its’ way to a 13-4 win over Western Carolina on April 26 at Asheville’s McCormick Field. Clemson scored three runs in the first and two more in the third on a Mike Calitri home run to make the score 5-0. Clemson added three runs each in the seventh and ninth. Casey Stone’s led the Tigers with three hits and four RBIs. Bradley LeCroy added three hits, including two doubles, and four runs scored. Three other Tigers had two-hit games. Ryan Childs picked up his fourth win as he went 6.0 innings, allowing five hits and one earned run. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. The Tigers swept the Catamounts in their two-game series with the win.

Clemson Tied With Florida State for Second Place in ACC Clemson’s 11-4 ACC record is tied for second place along with Florida State. Georgia Tech is atop the league with a 14-4 record. Wake Forest is fourth at 13-8. Two of the top teams in the ACC will battle this weekend in Atlanta when #5 Clemson takes on the #5 Yellow Jackets beginning Friday at 7:00. Florida State took two of three games against Georgia Tech this past weekend, while Clemson won all three games at Duke. Clemson will then play host to Florida State the next weekend, therefore the Tigers will play the top two schools in the ACC in the next two weekends.

Clemson in ACC Statistics Clemson’s 3.26 ERA is second in the ACC behind Florida State’s 3.14 team ERA. Freshman Jarrod Schmidt leads the conference with a 2.29 ERA while Wake Forest’s Scott Siemon is second at 2.41. Scott Berney is third at 2.57 and Ryan Mottl is sixth with a 2.88 ERA. The Tigers lead the ACC in triples with 21. Ryan Riley six triples is tied for the league lead with Adam Greenberg of North Carolina. But Riley has played 12 less games than Greenberg, therefore leads the ACC in triples per game at 0.18. Clemson is second in the ACC in stolen bases with 81. Casey Stone’s is fourth with 18 and Patrick Boyd is sixth with 14 individually. Clemson’s .972 fielding percentage is the best in the ACC. The Tigers committed just one error in the three games at Duke this past weekend. Schmidt, Mottl, and Berney each have seven wins apiece, tying for fifth best in the league. Nick Glaser 11 saves is atop the ACC as well.

Noteworthy * Clemson is 5-1 in its last six games thanks to hitting .381 over that stretch. Clemson has 94 hits and has scored 66 runs in the six games.

* Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett picked up win #700 at Duke on April 23.

* Ryan Mottl won his 30th career game at Duke on April 23.

* Clemson is 24-1 when it totals 10 hits or more in a game.

* Nick Glaser 11 saves is second most in a season in Tiger history. The record is 14 held by Scott Winchester (1995).

* Clemson has one of the nation’s best fielding percentages of .972.

* Freshman righthander Jarrod Schmidt has earned a win in each of his last seven outings, the last six of which have been starts. He is 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA on the season.

* Tiger pitchers are holding opponents to a .186 batting average with two outs and .164 average with the bases loaded.

* Clemson is 4-2 in one-run games and 7-1 in two-run games this year.

* Mike Calitri is 5-for-5 with the bases loaded and has 25 RBIs in only 63 at bats.

Defense Performance on Record Pace Clemson’s .972 fielding percentage is well ahead of the team single-season record of .967 (set in 1976). The team has committed just 52 errors in 46 games. Clemson also has committed just 13 errors in 15 ACC games for a .978 fielding percentage. Among some of the outstanding individual percentages overall include second baseman Ryan Riley .987 mark (two errors) and Khalil Greene’s .944 mark (seven errors).

Tigers Hitting Their Stride in the Last Six Games In the last six games, the last five of which have been away from home, Clemson is hitting .381 to raise its team batting average to ..298. Clemson is averaging 15.7 hits per game and 11.0 runs per game during the 5-1 stretch. Clemson entered the stretch hitting just .282. Clemson’s lowest team batting average in the 1990s was .293 in 1994, when Clemson led the nation with 57 wins. Below is a look at how some of the Tiger hitters have come on of late.

Player First 40 Games Last 6 Games Current Avg. *Inc.
Casey Stone’s 41-for-142 (.289) 14-for-27 (.519) .325 36
Ryan Riley 21-for-83 (.253) 12-for-26 (.462) .303 50
Bradley LeCroy^ 12-for-55 (.218) 6-for-14 (.429) .261 43
Patrick Boyd 36-for-145 (.248) 11-for-26 (.423) .275 27
Khalil Greene’s 49-for-147 (.333) 11-for-27 (.407) .345 12
TEAM 374-for-1326 (.282) 94-for-247 (.381) .298 16

* – increase in points on batting average, ^ – played in only five of the games

Mottl Picks Up Win #30, Passes Kris Benson

Senior righthander Ryan Mottl passed Kris Benson with his 30th career victory when he beat Duke on April 23. He allowed three runs and six hits in 7.0 innings. He upped his record to 7-2 in 2000 with the win. He won 10 games as a freshman, nine as a sophomore, and four as a junior.

Mottl also has 331 career strikeouts, placing him in fifth place in that category in the Clemson recordbook. Mottl also has a 2.88 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance in 2000. He has a 3.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2000 as well.

Ryan Mottl in Clemson Career Record Lists

Rk Category Stat Rk Next Stat
2. Starts 61 1. Brian Barnes 65
2. Batters Faced 1,675 1. Brian Barnes 2,052
3. Wins 30 2. Rusty Gerhardt 34
3. Innings Pitched 376.0 2. Rusty Gerhardt 384.1
5. Strikeouts 331 4. Billy Koch 338

Schmidt Having Stellar Freshman Season on the Mound Freshman Jarrod Schmidt came to Clemson with accolades such as First-Team All-American and Georgia Gatorade Player-of-the-Year out of Lassiter High School in Marietta, GA. And early on in 2000, he started at first base and outfield. But when the Tigers got into the rigorous college baseball schedule, Schmidt added another position to his repetoire…pitcher. Schmidt, who was “Mr. Do It All” at Lassiter, has done the same at Clemson. Unlike many schools, very few times in recent years has a pitcher played in the field and vice versa. But Schmidt is bucking that tradition as he has solidified himself as a weekend starter in Clemson’s rotation.

Schmidt has earned the win in each of his last seven outings, including a complete game at #8 North Carolina on April 1, the only by a Tiger in 2000. Schmidt allowed no earned runs and seven hits at Chapel Hill. Overall, Schmidt is 7-0 with an ACC-best 2.29 ERA as a weekend starter. Schmidt throws in the high 80s to lower 90s. Schmidt is also hitting .221 with four homers and 21 RBIs at the plate.

Jack Leggett foresees a bright future for Schmidt, and not just on the mound. Schmidt has shown the ability to play catcher along with first base and outfield. Schmidt can also hit for power, and with more consistency, could find a spot in the middle of the Tiger lineup in the future. Expect to see Schmidt in the next few years…all over the field.

Stone Thriving as Tiger Leadoff Hitter Junior outfielder Casey Stone’s (Abbeville, SC) has cemented his role as the Tiger leadoff hitter of late thanks to his consistent hitting of late. He has batted in the leadoff spot 21 times this season, including in each of the last 15 games. In those 15 games, he is hitting 25-for-66 (.379). Stone has upped his batting average to ..325, third-best on the team. He has a .508 on-base percentage when leading off an inning overall and has been an excellent “table-setter” for Jack Leggett. He even hits lefties well with his .417 batting average against Southpaws. Stone, who stands 5-6 and weighs 155 pounds, is a hard-nosed aggressive player in the mold of Jack Leggett himself. Stone has nine doubles, three triples, and 18 stolen bases as well. He also has nine sacrifice bunts this season, which is tied for the most in a season by a Tiger. He already holds the career record in that category with 20.

Ellis on Johnny Bench Watch List Fifth-year senior catcher Brian Ellis (Columbia, SC) is one of 40 players on the Johnny Bench National Collegiate Catcher-of-the-Year Watch List announced by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission on April 20. The award will be given for the first time in 2000 is selected by a panel of sportswriters, sportscasters, Division I coaches, and scouts. The list will be narrowed down to 10 semi-finalists on May 15. Ellis is one of five ACC catchers on the list. The Tiger co-captain is hitting .316 this season along with 10 doubles, 11 stolen bases, a .447 on-base percentage, and just one error.

Clemson Looking to Keep Streaks Alive in 2000 Clemson has participated in 13 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and has won at least 40 games for 14 straight seasons. Both marks rank in the top-five in the country currently. Clemson is tied for fourth in consecutive tournament appearances, trailing only Miami (FL) (27), Florida State (22), and Oklahoma State (19). Wichita State also a 13-year run in the tournament. As far as consecutive 40-win seasons, Clemson is fourth in the country with its 14-year streak. The Tigers trail only Florida State (22), Wichita State (22), and Oklahoma State (20) in that area. Notre Dame and Louisiana State are tied for fifth with 11 straight 40-win seasons.