Tigers travel to Blacksburg

Clemson (34-15, 13-11 ACC), ranked as high as No. 16 in the nation, will travel to Blacksburg, Va. to take on Virginia Tech (28-21, 9-15 ACC) in a three-game series at English Field this weekend.

Game times are 5:30 PM (Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and Virginia Tech have met 58 times, with the Tigers holding a 34-22-2 lead in the series dating back to 1902. In 2010 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tigers swept the Hokies by a combined score of 21-10, but Virginia Tech topped Clemson 9-8 in the ACC Tournament later that year. In 2009 at English Field, the Hokies won two of three games.

The Hokies hold a 13-8-1 lead in games played at Virginia Tech, while the Tigers own a 15-3 advantage in ACC regular-season games. Jack Leggett has an 18-4 record against Virginia Tech as Clemson's head coach, including a 6-3 mark at English Field. Leggett was 1-3 against Virginia Tech as Western Carolina's head coach, meaning he has a 19-7 all-time record against the Hokies.

The Starting Pitchers
In game-one, Virginia Tech will start sophomore lefty Joe Mantiply (5-6, 4.05 ERA) on the mound. The Danville, VA native has made 12 starts for a total of 73.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 78 hits (.275 opponents' batting average) and 26 walks with 58 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with sophomore righty Dominic Leone (4-1, 3.06 ERA) on Friday. The Norwich, CT native has made eight starts and three relief appearances for a total of 47.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 30 hits (.183 opponents' batting average) and 19 walks with 53 strikeouts.

In game-two, the Hokies will send out junior righty Marc Zecchino (5-4, 4.57 ERA) on the mound. The Hazlet, NJ native has made 12 starts for a total of 69.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 69 hits (.268 opponents' batting average) and 27 walks with 83 strikeouts.

Clemson will counter with sophomore righthander Jonathan Meyer (5-1, 2.82 ERA) on Saturday. The San Diego, CA native has made 16 relief appearances and four starts for a total of 54.1 innings pitched. He has surrendered 40 hits (.202 opponents' batting average) and 15 walks with 49 strikeouts.

In game-three, Virginia Tech will start senior righthander Joe Parsons (6-2, 2.91 ERA) on the mound. The Carmel, CA native has made 11 starts and two relief appearances for a total of 65.0 innings pitched. He has given up 62 hits (.251 opponents' batting average) and 19 walks with 44 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with graduate righthander Justin Sarratt (6-1, 1.70 ERA) on Sunday. The Gaffney, SC native has made nine starts and five relief appearances for a total of 58.1 innings pitched. He has given up 47 hits (.216 opponents' batting average) and seven walks with 47 strikeouts.

The Hokies
Virginia Tech, led by fifth-year Head Coach Pete Hughes, enters the series against #16 Clemson with a 28-21 overall record and 9-15 ACC mark after splitting a pair of games against James Madison last weekend. The Hokies, who are 14-5 in their last 19 games, are 12-13 at home in 2011.

Virginia Tech is averaging 7.1 runs per game and hitting .296 with a .492 slugging percentage and .368 on-base percentage thanks to 158 walks and 53 hit-by-pitches against 305 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 119 doubles, 24 triples, 57 home runs, and 46 stolen bases in 65 attempts.

Andrew Rash, a native of Anderson, SC, leads the ACC with 17 homers along with a .351 batting average, 16 doubles, 50 RBIs, and 46 runs. Tony Balisteri is hitting .325 with a team-high 12 steals, while Tim Smalling is batting .322 with nine homers, four triples, 13 doubles, and 40 RBIs. Ronnie Shaban has added five homers and 50 RBIs as well.

The pitching staff has a 4.46 ERA and .263 opponents' batting average along with 389 strikeouts against 217 walks in 436.0 innings pitched. Sophomore righthander Jake Joyce has a team-high three saves. The Hokies are fielding at a .969 clip as well.

The Tigers
Clemson, ranked as high as No. 16 in the nation, enters the series at Virginia Tech with a 34-15 overall record and 13-11 ACC mark after winning midweek games against Furman (5-1) on Tuesday and East Tennessee State (8-3) on Wednesday. The Tigers, who have won 20 of their last 23 games, sport a 7-6 record on opponents' home fields in 2011.

The Tigers are averaging 7.0 runs per game and hitting .314 with a .447 slugging percentage and .402 on-base percentage thanks to 230 walks and 36 hit-by-pitches against 302 strikeouts. Clemson has also totaled 105 doubles, 14 triples, 29 homers, and 91 stolen bases in 115 attempts.

Brad Miller is hitting an ACC-best .437 with a .537 on-base percentage and 20 steals. Phil Pohl is batting .351 with 17 doubles, four homers, and 29 RBIs. Will Lamb is riding a 24-game hitting streak, tied for the longest by an ACC player in 2011. John Hinson has added 20 stolen bases. Richie Shaffer leads the team in homers (7), RBIs (40), and runs (51) as well.

The pitching staff has a 3.09 ERA and .227 opponents' batting average in 434.2 innings pitched. The staff has allowed 144 walks against 377 strikeouts, good for a 2.62 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior righthander Scott Weismann has a team-high four saves and 43 strikeouts against 14 walks in 17 appearances (eight starts). The Tigers are fielding at a .966 clip as well.

Two Tigers hail from the state of Virginia, Mike Kent (Springfield) and Lamb (Seaford).

Stealing a Priority Again
Clemson has stolen 91 bases in 115 attempts this season, a year after the Tigers swiped 106 bases in 2010. The Tigers stole 107 bases in 2006, while Clemson totaled 112 steals in 2000 and 121 in 1999. Those are the only four triple-digit steal totals by a Tiger team since the 1994 season, when Clemson had 115 steals.

John Hinson and Brad Miller are tied for the team lead with 20 stolen bases apiece, while Will Lamb has swiped 11 bases. Eight of the nine regular starters in the field have totaled at least four stolen bases in 2011.

Three Tigers to Graduate Friday
Righthander Alex Frederick along with outfielders Addison Johnson and Jeff Schaus will graduate on Friday. Frederick, a fifth-year senior from Lagrangeville, NY, will graduate with a degree in economics. Johnson, a fifth-year senior from Pfafftown, NC, will graduate with a degree in management. Schaus, a senior from Naples, FL, will gradudate with a degree in construction science & management. Due to the Tigers' game at Virginia Tech on Friday, all three will not attend the commencement ceremonies in Littlejohn Coliseum.

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