Tigers Set for Huge Weekend Series

Clemson (28-13, 5-7 ACC), ranked as high as #20, will play host to #4 Georgia Tech (32-8, 11-1 ACC) in the Tigers' first ACC home action since early April. Georgia Tech has won seven ACC games in a row and leads the conference race by a game and a half.

The games on Friday and Saturday will both start at 7:00 PM, while game three Sunday will start at 2:00 PM. All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Properties and can be heard live via the internet at www.clemsontigers.com. Live stats will also be available for all three games on Clemson's website. Fpriday's game will also be televised live by Fox Sports Net South. The games on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast live by WSBF, 88.1 FM (Clemson University student station).

Clemson holds a slim 85-83-3 advantage in the series dating back to 1902. That season, Tiger Head Coach John Heisman coached the Tigers into battle against the Yellow Jackets. In 2003, Georgia Tech won two of three games at Russ Chandler Stadium, but Clemson downed its ACC rival in the ACC Tournament and College World Series. Two seasons ago, Clemson took two of three games over Georgia Tech at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson is also 19-9 all-time against Georgia Tech (while a member of the ACC) at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 20-14 against Georgia Tech as Clemson's skipper, including a 9-2 mark at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Leggett was also 3-5 against the Yellow Jackets as the Western Carolina head coach. Michael Johnson is a career .419 hitter against Georgia Tech, and has two homers and nine RBIs in eight games. Roberto Valiente (.357), Russell Triplett (.348), and Steve Pyzik (.308) are also hitting over .300 against the I-85 rival.

Junior lefthander Kyle Bakker (7-0, 3.16 ERA), who stands 6'-9" tall, will start game one for the Yellow Jackets. In his last start, he pitched a seven-hit shutout over #22 Wake Forest. Bakker has a 3.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio as well. Senior righthander Chris Goodman (6-1, 4.13 ERA) will start game two. Goodman is holding opponents to a .246 batting average this year. Freshman righty Micah Owings (6-1, 3.78 ERA) will start game three. The 6'-5" hurler is holding opponents to a .232 batting average in six starts and five relief appearances.

Clemson will counter with sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden (7-0, 2.70 ERA) in game one Friday. Lumsden, one of just two lefties on the staff, has held opponents to a .216 batting average this year. Junior righthander Patrick Hogan (1-2, 3.82 ERA) will start game two Saturday. Hogan, who has three saves to his credit, will be making his fourth start of the season. Junior righty Steven Jackson (5-2, 4.78 ERA) will start game three Sunday. The Summerville, SC native has started nine games this season.

Georgia Tech, under the leadership of 10th-year Head Coach Danny Hall, is hitting .311 as a team, led by catcher Mike Nickeas' .360 average. Nickeas was one of the first eight invitees, along with Lumsden, to tryout for the USA National Team this summer. The Yellow Jackets have hit 60 homers, including 13 by Owings, 11 by Matt Murton, and nine by Brandon Boggs. They have also stolen 73 bases, including four in double figures, led by Eric Patterson's 23 in 27 attempts. Yellow Jacket catchers have allowed just 24 steals in 34 attempts. Georgia Tech also sports a .961 fielding percentage (.975 percentage in ACC games) and 3.62 team ERA.

Clemson is coming off a dramatic 6-3 win over East Tennessee State Wednesday. Michael Johnson blasted a towering three-run, walkoff homer in the 12th inning. Johnson joins Brad McCann with a team-leading eight homers, while McCann, an Atlanta-area native, has a team-best 48 RBIs. Overall, the Tigers are hitting .305, led by Russell Triplett's .344 mark. Clemson, who is 20-2 at home this season, also sports a .971 fielding percentage and 4.05 team ERA.

Clemson Tops ETSU on Johnson's Homer in 12th
Michael Johnson's towering three-run homer in the 12th inning gave #20 Clemson a 6-3 win over upstart East Tennessee State on April 23 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The homer was the 54th of his career and moved him into second place in the Tiger career list. Earlier in the game, Russell Triplett hit a three-run homer to give Clemson a 3-2 lead. Paul Harrelson pitched 6.0 shutout innings in relief, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out a career-high eight to earn the win. Five Tiger pitchers combined to allow just four Buccaneer hits, two of which were by Chad Boruff. Boruff's hits were both doubles and he had all three RBIs.

Pitchers Dominating at Home
In 22 home games this season, the Tiger hurlers have combined for a 2.52 team ERA to lead Clemson to a 20-2 record. In 200.0 innings pitched, Clemson has allowed just 56 earned runs, 64 walks, and 155 hits while striking out 169. The pitchers have combined to hold opponents to a .213 batting average as well.

Tigers Near Perfect at Home
Clemson has a 20-2 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium this season, which has helped Clemson rank #7 in the latest RPI. The .909 winning percentage is one of the best marks by a Clemson team in Doug Kingsmore Stadium's existence, ranking sixth all-time at Clemson. The Tigers first played their home games there in 1970, therefore it is in its 34th season as the home of Tiger baseball.

Three Tigers Above .400 in ACC Competition
Clemson's three middle infielders, Herman Demmink (has been the designated hitter of late), David Slevin (2B), and Russell Triplett (SS), are all hitting over .400 in ACC play this season. They rank #1, #5, and #8 respectively in the conference in batting average (through games of April 20), as Demmink is at .467, Slevin is hitting .419, and Triplett is hitting .404. Demmink, a freshman, has provided a spark from the leadoff spot of late, as he has a .515 on-base percentage in ACC play. As a team, Clemson is out-hitting its ACC opponents .308 to .301 despite the 5-7 mark.

Harrelson Has 18-to-1 K-BB Ratio
Senior Paul Harrelson has been a constant in the Tiger bullpen for four seasons. But this season, he has stepped up his game and struck out 18 while walking only one batter. He also has a team-high five saves. Against East Tennessee State on April 23, he tied his career-long outing as he pitched the last 6.0 innings to earn the win. It was also his longest relief appearance ever. In that game, he allowed one hit, no runs, and no walks while striking out a career-high eight in Clemson's 6-3 win in 12 innings. His career-high strikeout total entering the game was four.

The Pauline, South Carolina native has made 69 career appearances and 66 career relief appearances, both in the top 15 in Tiger history. The relief-appearance total ranks seventh in school history, while he needs just two more appearances to crack the top 10 in total appearances. His 13 career saves ranks tied for fifth in Tiger history as well.

Freshman Jason Berken Sixth in ACC in ERA
Freshman righthander Jason Berken, a native of DePere, WI (suburb of Green Bay), ranks sixth overall in the ACC in ERA at 2.63. He has started six games and relieved in six others, as he has a 4-2 record in 41.0 innings pitched. He also has not allowed a homer and has a .258 opponents' batting average. Head Coach Jack Leggett calls Berken a "battler" on the mound.

Berken was first-team all-state at West DePere High in both baseball and football, and was third-team all-state in basketball as a senior. On the gridiron, he threw for over 3,000 yards as a senior and had several scholarship offers. On the hardwood, he averaged over 20 points per game as well.

Johnson Hits Walkoff Homer to Beat ETSU
Michael Johnson hit a three-run, walkoff homer to beat East Tennessee State 6-3 in 12 innings on April 23. The homer moved Johnson into second place in Tiger history with 54 career homers. It was also the fifth walkoff homer and 19th walkoff hit in Jack Leggett's 10 years as Clemson's head coach.

Johnson Patient at the Plate
Michael Johnson entered this season as one of the most touted power hitters in the country. And thanks to that reputation, opposing pitchers have not given the Georgetown, SC native many pitches to hit. He has walked 42 times and been hit three times while totaling only 127 at bats this season. He is hitting .299, but has a .474 on-base percentage thanks to those 42 walks, seven of which have been intentional. Of late, Brad McCann, who is hitting behind Johnson in the lineup, has made teams pay for walking Johnson, as he is hitting .410 with runners in scoring position on the season.

Johnson Second in Career Homers at Clemson
Senior first baseman Michael Johnson selected as a preseason second-team All-American by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The fifth-year player, who hit 25 homers and drove in 81 runs in 2002, was a second-team All-American in 2002 as well. Johnson has 54 career homers and is in second place on the Tigers' all-time homer list.

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