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Tigers Host UNLV This Weekend

Tigers Host UNLV This Weekend

March 2, 2000

CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson (9-1) hosts UNLV on Friday (3:00), Saturday (2:00), and Sunday (1:00) in a matchup of the ACC and newly-formed Mountain West Conference. UNLV enters the series with a 5-13 overall record. UNLV will be making its first ever trip to Clemson. The Rebels have already played the likes of UCLA and Cal. State-Fullerton, both ranked in the top 10 at one point in the early going.

Clemson played in the UNLV Desert Classic in 1991, 1994, 1997, and 1999. Clemson defeated UNLV 14-3 in ’91 and 11-6 in ’94. UNLV has won the last two in the series, downing Clemson 4-3 in ’97 and 12-11 in 10 innings in ’99. The ’99 contest saw the Tigers score nine runs in the fifth inning, only to have UNLV tie the game and send it into extra innings. Clemson took a two-run lead in the top of the 10th, but UNLV tied the game in the bottom of the 10th on Ryan Hamill’s third homer of the game. UNLV plated another run in the frame to defeat Clemson 12-11.

UNLV, led by Head Coach Rod Soesbe, will start sophomore righthander Joe Maruffi (2-1, 6.86 ERA) in game one, senior righthander Justin Fairbanks (0-1, 3.86 ERA) in game two. Game three starter has not been determined. The Rebels have a 6.65 tem ERA and a .318 opponent batting average. UNLV is led at the plate by senior outfielder Nate Kaup, who has a .388 batting average along with seven doubles, two homers, and 13 RBIs. First baseman Tony DeMarco is hitting .342 with three homers and 24 RBIs. The Rebels are hitting .305 as a team and averaging 6.0 runs per game.

The #8 Tigers will start senior righthander Scott Berney (3-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound in game one. He has thrown 22.0 innings this season without allowing a run. Ryan Mottl (3-0, 0.56 ERA) will start game two, and Jarrod Schmidt (0-0, 1.74 ERA) will start game three. Mottl needs just six strikeouts to become the sixth Tiger in history to reach the 300-strikeout mark. Also, Jack Leggett needs three victories to reach 300 wins at Clemson in just over six seasons. Clemson has won seven straight games after falling to #23 Central Florida 5-0 on Jan. 30 at the ACC Disney Blast.

Poll Climbing Clemson moved up in all three polls released Feb. 28, including a #8 ranking by Collegiate Baseball, a one-spot jump from last week. Four ACC teams are ranked among the top eight teams according to Collegiate Baseball, including Florida State at #1, North Carolina at #3, and Georgia Tech at #6. The Tigers are ranked #12 by USA Today Baseball Weekly and #15 by Baseball America. Florida State is ranked #1 in all three polls.

Tigers Escape Late Inning Chanticleer Comeback with 4-3 Win Khalil Greene’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie as #8 Clemson downed Coastal Carolina 4-3 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Mar. 1. Tiger starter Steve Reba pitched 5.0 hitless and scoreless innings, but did not factor in the decision. Matt Additon picked up the win and Nick Glaser notched his fifth save of the year by pitching a perfect ninth inning. Coastal Carolina tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch and walk along with an RBI groundout by pinch-hitter Tony Stokes. Patrick Boyd had the game’s only two-hit performance, going 2-for-2.

Leggett, Mottl Approaching 300 Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett needs just four wins to reach the 300-win mark at Clemson in just his seventh season. He has a 297-116 (.719) record in Tigertown and a 674-403 (.626) overall record in his 21st season.

Senior righthander Ryan Mottl is also approaching 300, 300 strikeouts that is. He has 294 strikeouts in just over three seasons at Clemson. Only five other Tigers in history have totaled 300 career strikeouts.

Clemson Career Strikeout Leaders

Rk. Player Year(s) Strikeouts
1. Brian Barnes 1986-89 513
2. Rusty Gerhardt 1969-72 382
3. Kris Benson 1994-96 356
4. Billy Koch 1994-96 338
5. Billy O’Dell 1952-54 300
6. RYAN MOTTL 1997-present 294
7. Jason Dawsey 1993-95 276
8. Ken Vining 1994-96 258
9. Andy Taulbee 1992-94 235

Freshman Michael Johnson Leading Team in Hitting Red-shirt freshman Michael Johnson did not start the season as a starter, and in fact did not see his first official at bat until the third game of the season. But he has quickly emerged as a solid offensive and defensive player at first base. Johnson leads the Tigers with his .421 batting average and has hit the only two homers by a Tiger this season. Both long balls came in Clemson’s 10-2 win against Old Dominion on Feb. 20. Johnson has five runs scored and six RBIs in only 19 at bats. He has also not committed an error at first bases in 46 chances. First base was a question mark entering the season due to the loss of All-ACC performer Jason Harris.

Boyd Battling Back Junior centerfielder Patrick Boyd started the season by going 1-for-17 the first four games. But in the last six games, he is 9-for-18 with six RBIs and seven runs scored to up his batting average to .286. It wasn’t the first time Boyd started off slowly. As a freshman in ’98, he started 3-for-25 before ending the season with a .344 batting average. Boyd also leads the team with six stolen bases. He stole 20 bases in 25 attempts a season ago.

Pitching Vastly Improved Over 1999 The Clemson pitching staff struggled in 1999 with its team ERA of 5.82. But already this season, there is a noticeable difference in every area thanks to the leadership of veteran Tigers in Scott Berney and Ryan Mottl. Below is a comparison of the team’s stats through from 1999 and 2000.

Category 1999 2000
ERA 5.82 1.60
Hits per 9 IP 10.6 5.5
Homers Allowed Per Game 0.9 0.1
Walks per 9 IP 4.7 3.2
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 1.7 2.4
Opp. Batting Average .299 .175

Berney, Mottl, & Co. Stepping Up on the Mound Clemson has a 1.60 team ERA thanks to many different Tigers stepping up. Senior transfer Scott Berney, who is 3-0 and has not allowed a run and just one walk in 22.0 innings, and others have brought a contagious attitude of aggressiveness and competitiveness to Kevin O’Sullivan’s pitching staff.

Along with Berney, Ryan Mottl has seemed to find himself again. He is 3-0 with an 0.56 ERA in 16.0 innings. He now has 294 career strikeouts and needs just six to become only the sixth Tiger in history to reach the 300 strikeout mark. Clemson has appeared to find a closer as well in junior college transfer Nick Glaser. In six shut-downs, he he has allowed no runs while strking out n11 in 6.2 innings and has five saves.

Sophomore righty Steve Reba has allowed one hit and no runs in 10.0 innings. Senior righty Matt Additon has also been flawless, allowing no runs and no hits in 4.1 innings in four relief appearances. As a whole, the Tiger pitching staff in 90.0 innings has allowed just 55 hits, 16 earned runs, one homer, 32 walks, and has thrown just two wild pitches while striking out 78.

Clemson Offers Promotional Ticket Discounts to Fans This year, Clemson offers special promotional considerations to select fans. Clemson offers a Businessperson Special on all weekday day games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, where any fan who presents his/her business card will receive free admission. All Sunday home games are Senior Citizens’ Day, where any fan who presents his/her AARP card will receive free admission. Also on Sundays, all youngsters are invited on the field during the national anthem to stand next to their favorite Clemson player. Ticket prices for home games are $5 for adults and $2 for students. Clemson students who present their student ID will receive free admission.