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Tigers Travel to Raleigh to Take on State in ACC Finale

May 13, 1999

After playing 16 straight games at home (12-4 record), #19 Clemson (33-20, 12-8 ACC) will finish its regular-season schedule with a three game series at N.C. State (33-20, 9-12 ACC) on Friday (7:00), Saturday (7:00), and Sunday (4:00). The Sunday game will be broadcast on the ACC Network (Bob Rathbun & Larry Conley). The Tigers will stay in the area after the series, as the 1999 ACC Tournament will be played at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park from May 18-23.

Clemson, who leads the all-time series 78-55-1 (.586) dating back to 1921. Last season, the Tigers won two games at Tiger Field, while the third game was rained out. In 1997 in Raleigh, the Wolfpack swept the three-game series. Clemson then defeated N.C. State 11-6 (10 innings) in the ’97 ACC Tournament in an elimination game.

The Wolfpack will start freshmen in the first two games, with the third starter to be determined at a later date. Lefthander Dan D’Amato (7-1, 4.19 ERA) will start game one and 6′-5″ righthander Ryan Combs (3-0, 5.13 ERA) will start game two. The two pitchers have combined to strike out just 69 batters in 120.1 innings pitched. Clemson will start righthander Mike Paradis (6-0, 3.19 ERA) in the first game and righthander Ryan Mottl (3-5, 5.94 ERA) in game two. The Tigers’ game-three starter will also be determined at a later date.

Note: Clemson will stay in Durham (will not return to Clemson) after the N.C. State series.

Scouting The Wolfpack N.C. State, who is under the leadership of Head Coach Elliott Avent, is hitting .316 as a team and has a 4.75 team ERA. The Wolfpack is 22-8 at home and has not played at home since April 21 when they lost to Oklahoma State 4-1. N.C. State is coming off a 3-2 win over a top-25 East Carolina squad in Wilson, NC (May 8) in front of 3,867 fans. Before that, the Wolfpack’s last game was on May 1 at Duke, where the Blue Devils won both games of a doubleheader on that day. N.C. State started the season winning 17 of its first 18 games, but is 16-19 since. Eighteen of the 25 players on the post-season roster are either juniors or seniors.

Matt Postell leads the team with a .379 batting average to go along with six homers and 44 RBIs. Brian Ward has also provided punch in the Wolfpack lineup, as he is hitting .347 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs. Five other N.C. State hitters have batting averages of .322 or higher. Jason Smith, who is hitting .322, leads the team with 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts. N.C. State has stolen 72 bases in 102 attempts.

Dan D’Amato (Friday’s starter) leads the Wolfpack with seven wins in nine starts and 11 relief appearances (73.0 total innings pitched). Corey Mattison is the closer in the bullpen. He has a 2.73 ERA with five saves in 23 appearances. As a team, N.C. state is averaging only 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Tigers Take Two Of Three From Tar Heels Clemson moved a half-game ahead of North Carolina in third place in the ACC standings by winning two of three games at Tiger Field from May 9-11. In Clemson winning the series, the Tigers have won at least two games over the Tar Heels in the regular-season meetings for nine straight years. Clemson won the first two games by 20-7 and 5-4 scores. Freshman Khalil Greene led the way, going 6-for-8 with two homers and nine RBIs in the wins. Game three saw Clemson waste numerous opportunities, as North Carolina downed the Tigers 7-5.

In game one, Clemson (32-19, 11-7 ACC) walked 16 times en route to a 20-7 win over #10 North Carolina (38-11, 11-8 ACC) on May 9 at Tiger Field. The 20 runs was the highest run total allowed by the Tar Heel in ’99. The previous most was 12. Clemson scored five runs in the third and eight runs in the fourth inning. Khalil Greene and Patrick Boyd both went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBIs. Derek Borgert also went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including his second home run of the season. Brian Ellis also tied a Clemson game-record with five walks. He walked five times in his first five plate appearances, all before the end of the fifth inning. Lefty Brandt Cook (1-0) pitched 4.1 strong innings in relief of starter Mike Paradis. Cook earned his first career win, allowing three hits, one walk, and no runs. Tyrell Godwin and Clay Hooper each had three hits to lead the Tar Heels.

Game two featured more of freshman Khalil Greene, as the Tigers (33-19, 12-7 ACC) squeeked out a 5-4 win over #14 North Carolina (38-12, 11-9 ACC) on May 10 at Tiger Field. Greene went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, a double, and four RBIs after a 5-RBI performance in game one. Starter Ryan Mottl (3-5) earned his first victory since Mar. 12 (George Mason) by allowing two earned runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings pitched. Chris Heck picked up his second save by pitching a scoreless ninth. The pivotal inning was the sixth, when Greene hit a two-run blast off Tar Heel starter Kyle Snyder (7-3) Snyder did, however, tie his career high with 11 strikeouts. Brian Ellis added what turned out to be the winning run when blooped a single to right-center. Tyrell Godwin led North Carolina with two hits, including an opposite-field home run.

In game three, Tyrell Godwin went 4-for-5 with a home runs, double, and two RBIs to lead North Carolina (39-12, 12-9 ACC) over Clemson 7-5 on Senior Night at Tiger Field on May 11. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the top of the third inning. Clemson (33-20, 12-8 ACC) cut the lead to one run on Derek Borgert’s three-run homer in the fifth inning. But the Tigers, who stranded 12 runners on base in the game, squandered a chance to tie the game in the ninth. Jason Harris and Borgert led off the inning with doubles, putting runners on second and third with no outs. But closer Derrick DePriest shut the door on the next three Tigers, striking out one, getting the next to foul out, and ending the game with a ground-ball out. Starter Matt Additon (5-4) suffered the loss for the Tigers. Kurt Bultmann tied the ACC record with his 82nd career double in his last regular-season game at Tiger Field.

Clemson Faring Well Against Top-Notch Competition Clemson is 9-5 against teams ranked in the top 25 by Collegiate Baseball and 8-5 against teams ranked by USA Today Baseball Weekly. The five losses came at the hands of #1 Florida State (2), #6 Miami (FL) (2), and #14 North Carolina (1). The Florida State and Miami (FL) losses were away from home as well. In six seasons under Jack Leggett, Clemson has won 70 games over top-25 foes, an average of almost 12 wins per season. And in the last 11 seasons, Clemson has won 119 games over top-25 teams. Below is a year-by-year breakdown of wins over top-25 teams.

Season  Top-25 Wins  Season     Top-25 Wins 1999    9            1993       13 1998    8            1992       12 1997    6            1991       11 1996    13           1990       5 1995    15           1989       8 1994    19           Total (Last 11 years)      119 

Tigers Land Back In Poll After being absent from the College Baseball polls for the past seven weeks, Clemson landed back in the top 25 of the Collegiate Baseball poll at #23 on April 26 thanks to four wins over ranked teams (three against #19 Georgia Tech (April 23-25) and one over #20 South Carolina (April 21)), and thanks to having won eight of its last nine games up to that point. Clemson is currently ranked 19th in this week’s Collegiate Baseball, but is not ranked in Baseball America or USA Today Baseball Weekly.

A Closer Look At The ACC Seedings Race In winning nine of its last 12 ACC games, Clemson, who is 12-8 in league play, has moved into third place in the conference standings, but just a half game ahead of fourth-place North Carolina. Wake Forest is in second place at 13-7. The Tigers can finish as the #2, #3, or #4 seed for the ’99 ACC Tournament. Clemson must win two more games than Wake Forest does against Maryland this weekend to earn the #2 seed, because Wake Forest will earn the #2 seed if the two teams tie since Wake Forest swept the three-game series earlier in the year. Therefore, if Wake Forest (13-7 ACC) wins at least two games, the Demon Deacons are assured of the #2 seed. Then, the Tigers must win at least as many games as North Carolina (assuming each team wins at least one game) to earn the #3 seed. North Carolina (12-9 ACC) is hosting fifth-place Georgia Tech (10-11 ACC) this weekend. The Yellow Jackets can still earn the #3 seed, but only if they sweep the Tar Heels and N.C. State sweeps Clemson. The Wolfpack can finish as either the #5, #6, or #7 seed depending on this weekend’s results. After losing two of three games at Florida State, the Tigers were 3-5 but has since moved into the upper-half of the conference race. Florida State is in first place (19-2) and will be the #1 seed for the ACC Tournament.

Tiger Tidbits * Clemson is 16-6 at night. * Clemson is 6-1 in its last seven games against top-25 teams and is 9-5 against top-25 ranked teams according to Collegiate Baseball. * Clemson is 6-0 in its last six games decided by one run (8-5 overall) * Clemson is 9-3 in its last 12 ACC games. * Ryan Mottl is 2-5 as a starter this season (13 starts); but his six no decisions, Clemson is 6-0.

Clemson 37-13 Against SEC Teams Under Leggett In six 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 37-13 (.740), including 15 wins against top-25 teams. Leggett also has at least a .500 record against all six SEC schools he has faced while at Clemson. Since getting blown out 38-16 at South Carolina in 1997, the Tigers have won eight straight games against SEC foes. Below is a list of Leggett’s record at Clemson against each of the six SEC member schools he has faced:

SEC  Leggett's Record                            Winning Opponent        at Clemson  Percentage Alabama         2-0         1.000 Auburn          1-1         .500 Georgia         9-3         .750 Kentucky        3-0         1.000 South Carolina  13-6        .684 Tennessee       9-3         .750 Totals          37-13       .740 

Bultmann Sets Tiger Doubles Record, Nearing ACC Best Senior second baseman Kurt Bultmann gets the most out of his 5′-8″ frame. He showed he belonged when he hit .471 in the College World Series as a freshman after hitting just .243 in the first 41 games of his career. Then he hit a school record 31 doubles and 48 extra base hits as a sophomore. Now he has risen to the top of the Tiger career doubles list and is climbing the home run list as well. The Seminole, FL native hit his 78th career double against South Carolina on April 21 to set the record, surpassing Gary Burnham (1994-97). It was a memorable night for Bultmann, who also hit a home run, had a ninth-inning single with two outs, and scored the winning run in Clemson’s thrilling 5-4 win over the rival Gamecocks. He also has hit 40 career home runs, fifth best. His 82 doubles is also tied with the ACC record held by Yellow Jacket Jason Varitek (1991-94). Bultmann, who has 204 career RBIs and has scored 225 runs, became just the third player in Clemson history and 10th in ACC history to score 200 runs and drive in 200 runs. He reached that milestone when he drove in four runs against Winthrop on May 7, 1999. He also hit two homers, a double, totaled four hits, and scored three runs against the Eagles. He also needs just nine hits to become just the sixth player in ACC history and first in Clemson history to join the 300-hit, 200-run, and 200-RBI club. He is already just the fifth Tiger to score 200 career runs. The pressure he has endured has not effected Bultmann of late, as he is 30-for-77 (.390) in the last 20 games. Bultmann is also coming through with the bases loaded (5-for-7).

He had one of his best games against #24 Washington on Feb. 25 when he was 3-for-5 with two homers (grand slam and three-run) and eight RBIs. He also has shown why Baseball America listed him as the best defensive second baseman in the ACC. Bultmann went 29 consecutive games (dating back to last season) without committing an error (127 chances) before his streak ended on Feb. 26 at UNLV. He also had a streak of not committing an error in 15 games in March to early April of ’99 and a 14-game errorless streak from April 7 to the first game of a doubleheader on May 1. Bultmann has seen his fielding percentage rise to .971 (only seven errors) in ’99 after fielding at a .979 clip (five errors) in ’98. He is a career .393 hitter (22-for-56) in NCAA Tournament play as well. All this for a player who was all but resigned to attending junior college out of high school. Below is a list where Bultmann ranks in the all-time Tiger doubles list:

Clemson Career DOUBLE Leaders Rk.     Name (Years)                    Doubles 1.      Kurt Bultmann (1996-present)    82 2.      Gary Burnham (1994-97)          77 3.      Bert Heffernan (1985-88)        63 4.      Chuck Baldwin (1984-87)         62 5.      Shane Monahan (1993-95)         60 

Bultmann has returned to his form of ’97 as he is hitting .356 with a .465 on base percentage, 23 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 65 runs scored, 62 RBIs, and five stolen bases in 52 games this season.

Freshman Khalil Greene Coming On Of Late Although freshman third baseman Khalil (pronounced kuh-LEEL) Greene, a native of Key West, FL, saw his batting average drop significantly in the middle of the season, he has come on of late, raising his batting average to .336 with six homers and 51 RBIs in 53 games. He is also second on the team with 22 multi-hit games. In his last 14 games, he is 24-for-59 (.429) with two homers and 19 RBIs.

Greene shined in the UNLV/Coors Desert Classic from Feb. 25-28, hitting .458 with two homers (one of which was an inside-the-park homer) and five RBIs in five games. He also hit two homers in the first game of a doubleheader against George Mason on Mar. 13. He had an 11-game hit streak earlier this season as well, the longest by a Tiger in ’99. He had back-to-back stellar games against #10 North Carolina from May 9-10. In both games, he went 3-for-4. In the first game, he had a career-high five RBIs, including a home run. In the second game, he hit a home run and had four RBIs. In the three game series against the Tar Heels, he was 8-for-12.