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Tigers Travel to Tallahassee to Take on Seminoles

April 8, 1999

Not that three straight weekends on the road hasn’t been grueling, but Clemson (18-14, 2-3 ACC) faces its toughest test in its fourth consecutive weekend on the road when it travels to Tallahassee to face #1 ranked Florida State. The Seminoles (34-3, 12-0 ACC) have won 20 straight games and have not lost an ACC regular season game since 1998 when Jason Harris’ homer led the Tigers over Florida State 5-4 on April 25. The Seminoles hold a 40-34-1 (.460) advantage in the series dating back to 1958. The Tigers won two of three games at Tiger Field in ’98 and the Seminoles did the same in Tallahassee in ’97. Gametimes are 7:00 on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00 on Sunday. The Saturday game will be broadcast on Sunshine Network and all three games will be broadcast by the Clemson Sports (radio) Network.

The Tigers will start righthander Ryan Mottl (2-3, 5.85 ERA) in game one, righthander Mike Paradis (3-0, 2.89 ERA) in game two, and the starter for game three will be determined at a later date. The Seminoles will start righty Jon McDonald (5-1, 3.17 ERA) in game one, righthander Nick Stocks (8-0, 2.60 ERA) in game two, and righty Blair Varnes (7-0, 1.97 ERA) on Sunday. Florida State enters the series with a team ERA of 2.68 and opponents batting average of .212.

Florida State, who is 28-1 at home, features a one-two punch in Marshall McDougall and Matt Diaz. McDougall is hitting .416 with 12 homers and 52 RBIs to go along with a 28-game hitting streak. Diaz on the other hand is hitting a robust .441 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs. Ironically, it will be the last ACC home series for the Seminoles while the Tigers have yet to play a home ACC series.

Clemson Wins Over #1 Ranked Teams Clemson enters this week with a chance to knock off a #1-ranked team in any sport for the first time since 1996. Clemson’s win over #1 ranked Alabama in the ’96 College World Series was the eighth and last time that a Clemson baseball team upset a #1-ranked team, the first since May 15, 1994 when the Tigers defeated a #1-ranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta. All eight wins over the #1 team have taken place away >from Clemson. Overall, Clemson has beaten a #1-ranked team 18 times in all sports. The baseball team has done it the most with eight times, followed by the men’s soccer team with five wins over the #1 team.

Clemson Wins Over #1-Ranked Baseball Teams Date      Site             Opponent       Score 5-21-77   Miami, FL        Miami (FL)     7-2 5-22-77   Miami, FL        Miami (FL)     10-9 5-10-86   Greenville, SC   Miami (FL)     7-4 5-11-86   Greenville, SC   Miami (FL)     9-5 5-17-93   Greenville, SC   Georgia Tech   9-8 5-13-94   Atlanta, GA      Georgia Tech   9-8 5-15-94   Atlanta, GA      Georgia Tech   7-4 6-4-96    Omaha, NE        Alabama        14-13

Makeup Games Announced Due to two rainouts (Maryland and Coastal Carolina), Clemson has scheduled makeup games against Western Carolina and Coastal Carolina. The Catamounts will travel to Tiger Field to take on Clemson on May 4 at 7:15 and Coastal Carolina will also travel to Tigertown on May 8 at 7:00. With the addition of the two games, Clemson will have a month-long 16-game homestand from April 16-May 11.

1999 Clemson Baseball Promotional Dates Date     Day   Opponent        Time      Promotion(s) Apr. 17  Sat.  Duke            7 p.m.   *Family Night Apr. 18  Sun.  Duke            2 p.m.   #Senior Citizens Special Apr. 21  Wed.  S. Carolina     7:15 pm  $Secretaries Day Special Apr. 25  Sun.  Georgia Tech    2 p.m.   +Purple Day Special/#Senior Citizens Special May 2    Sun.  Virginia (DH)   12 noon  #Senior Citizens Special May 9    Sun.  North Carolina  4 p.m.   #Senior Citizens Special 

* – bring whole family for $5 with coupon in the Journal/Tribune or The Messenger + – wear purple shirt or jacket receive $3 off adult admission # – present AARP card and receive free admission $ – secretaries/administrative assistants receive free admission when accompanied by a supervisor or employer who is paying full admission price

Catamounts and Tigers Split Home-And-Home Series Clemson and Western Carolina both won on their home turf in a home-and-home series from April 6-7. The Catamounts won the first game 9-8 in 10 innings and the Tigers won the rematch 16-11 at Tiger Field. In both games, the losing team left more runners on base (at least three more) and had more hits than the winning team.

Clemson pounded out 16 hits, including at least one hit in innings two through 10, but committed six errors and fell short to Western Carolina 9-8 in 10 innings at Cullowhee, NC on April 6. The Tigers, who left 12 runners on base, trailed 7-2 but rallied with four runs in the sixth and one in the ninth to tie the game for the second time. But Charles Thomas won the game with a single up the middle in the 10th inning after Brian Adams (3-4) retired the first two batters. Six Tigers had multi-hit games, including Kyle Frank who had a career-high four hits and four RBIs in his first start in six games. Clemson had its chances, having the bases loaded with one out in the ninth (scored just one run) and runners on first and second with no outs in the 10th (and did not score).

In the second game, which was on April 7 at Tiger Field, Clemson scored 11 runs in the third inning and survived a pesky Catamount attack for a 16-11 win. The Tigers scored the 11 runs thanks to four hits, four walks, and three hit-batsmen. Jason Harris led the Tigers going 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Austin Smithwick had a career-day, going 5-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs. Starter Thomas Boozer (5-3) picked up the win despite allowing 10 hits and six runs in 5.0 innings.

Tigers On Road A Lot Lately, Facing Stiff Competition The Tigers are in the middle of a 21 game stretch in which 16 of the games are away from home. The Tigers lost two games at East Carolina, who is currently ranked #21 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball poll, and three games at Wake Forest, who has been ranked in or near the top 25 all season. Clemson faced #6 Miami (FL) in Fort Mill, SC in neutral contests from April 2-4. Clemson’s last of four straight weekends on the road will be against Florida State, who has been ranked #1 almost all of ’99 and has won 20 straight games. The Tigers final road game of the stretch is at arch-rival South Carolina, who has also been ranked many times this season. Therefore of the 16 games, 12 are against teams that have been ranked so far in 1999. After the South Carolina game, the Tigers will have played just 16 games at home compared to 20 games away from the friendly confines of Tiger Field.

The Tigers will come home for a 16-game homestand after the South Carolina game, including four straight home weekends against ACC teams after playing their first three ACC series on the road. Clemson is 12-3 at home and 6-10 away from home in ’99.

Tigers Falling Short In Close Games The Tiger baseball team is having trouble winning close games just like other 1998-99 sports’ teams. The football Tigers were 0-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less and the men’s basketball team was 2-6 in games decided by five points or less. The baseball team is 2-5 in one-run games, including 0-2 in extra inning games. One reason for this is that the Tigers have outscored their opponents by 238-152 in the first six innings, but have been outscored 77-74 after the sixth inning, including 20-11 in the ninth inning and beyond. Clemson lost its three games in the UNLV/Coors Desert Classic by a combined four runs. The Tigers’ average margin of defeat is 3.4 runs while their average margin of victory is 7.2 runs. Ten of the 14 losses have been by three runs or less and 12 of the 14 have been by five runs or less.

Pitching In The Clutch One area Jack Leggett would like to see improvement in is getting batters out with runners in scoring position. Tiger pitchers are allowing opponents to hit .338 with runners in scoring position. On the other hand, Clemson pitchers have been more effective with two outs, holding opponents to a .270 average. Mike Paradis leads the way with an opponent batting average of .192 with two outs. Despite the team ERA of 6.04, Tiger pitchers have a respectable strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.8-to-1.

Bultmann Nearing Tiger, ACC Doubles Record 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 is rising to the top of the Tiger career doubles and home run lists. The Seminole, FL native has 75 career doubles, good for second place, and 35 career home runs, tied for fifth best. The 75 doubles is also approching the ACC record of 82 held by Yellow Jacket Jason Varitek (1991-94). 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. Bultmann has seen his fielding percentage rise to .958 in ’99 after fielding at a .979 clip 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.   Gary Burnham (1994-97)          77 2.   Kurt Bultmann (1996-present)    75 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 .344 with 16 doubles, a triple, four homers, 41 RBIs, and four stolen bases in 31 games in ’99. Ironically, the righthanded hitter is hitting better than twice as good against righthanders as he is lefthanders (.409 vs. ..200) this season.

Borgert Drives In Nine RBIs In One Game Entering the second game of a doubleheader against George Mason on Mar. 13, fifth-year senior catcher Derek Borgert (Greenwood, SC) had four hits and four RBIs in 21 at bats in ’99. But that all changed when Borgert exploded with four hits and nine RBIs in one game. The nine RBIs, which all came after two outs, is the most by a Tiger since Jerry Brooks’ 10 against UNC Charlotte in 1988. Borgert doubled to right field in the first inning to bring home two runs.

In the second inning, he hit an opposite-field grand slam off the right field foul pole. The only time he was retired came in the fourth inning when he laced a line-drive that was caught by the right fielder. In the fifth inining, Borgert singled with the bases loaded bringing home two more runs. Hedrove in his ninth run of the game with a run-scoring single in the sixth inning. He also walked in his final plate appearance in the eighth inning. Ironically, Brian Ellis, who caught in the first game of the doubleheader, had a double, homer, two hits, and four RBIs meaning Tiger catchers totaled six hits, two homers, two doubles, and 13 RBIs in one day. Not a bad days work for an unheralded position.

Borgert has been one of the top Tiger hitters in recent weeks raising his average to .345. He also has a .500 average with runners in scoring position and has 20 RBIs in just 55 at bats. Twelve of the 20 RBIs have come with two outs as well. Borgert, who already has a job lined up in the computer information systems field in New York, is 15 for his last 34 (.441) with 16 RBIs and 10 runs scored over 13 games.

Leggett 35-13 Against SEC Teams While At Clemson 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 35-13 (.729), including 14 wins against top-25 teams. Leggett also has at least a ..500 record against all six SEC schools he has faced while at Clemson. 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   11-6         .647 Tennessee        9-3          .750 Totals           35-13        .729 

Clemson’s 246 Wins Since ’94 Fifth In The Nation The barometer of a great season in college baseball is getting to Omaha and winning 50 games. Since Jack Leggett took over as Clemson’s head coach in 1994, the Tigers have won 246 games (excluding ’99) for an average of over 49 per season. Leggett has led Clemson to three 50-win seasons and two appearances in the College World Series in five seasons. Included in that total is 61 wins over top 25 team and a 33-13 record against the SEC.