Clemson Baseball News & Notes

Two Tigers Touted by ACC in Weekly Honors Michael Johnson and Paul Harrelson were named this week's Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player- and Pitcher-of-the-Week, respectively, after leading the Tigers to a 4-1 record on the week including a three-game sweep of #4 Georgia Tech.

Two Tigers Touted by ACC in Weekly Honors Michael Johnson and Paul Harrelson were named this week's Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player- and Pitcher-of-the-Week, respectively, after leading the Tigers to a 4-1 record on the week including a three-game sweep of #4 Georgia Tech.

Johnson, a product of Georgetown, S.C., was 9-for-18 (.500) on the week with two homers, six RBI, and eight walks. Against the first-place Yellow Jackets, the senior first baseman was 6-for-9 with seven walks, reaching base in 13 of his 16 plate appearances. Johnson's most dramatic moment was Wednesday against East Tennessee State when he hit a towering three-run homer in the 12th inning to beat the Buccaneers.

Senior reliever Paul Harrelson was 2-0 in three relief appearances during the week. He pitched 8.1 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and no walks while striking out 12. He struck out a career-high eight in 6.0 near-flawless innings against East Tennessee State and also earned the win against No. 4 Georgia Tech in game one of a three-game series. On the season the Pauline, SC native has a 2.42 ERA to go along with 22 strikeouts and only one walk in 17 relief appearances.

Clemson vs. Duke
Clemson (31-13, 8-7 ACC), ranked as high as #14 and at the beginning of a six-day break for final exams, will play host to Duke (15-28, 1-16 ACC) from Sunday to Tuesday. The game on Sunday will start at 7:00 PM, while the games Monday and Tuesday will both start at 7:15 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 Live stats will also be available for all three games on Clemson's website. All three games will also be broadcast live by WSBF, 88.1 FM (Clemson University student station).

The Series Clemson holds a 101-57-1 lead in the series dating back to 1904. Since 1963, Clemson is 78-19 against the Blue Devils. The Tigers have also won 10 in a row in the series dating back to a 5-3 loss at Clemson on April 17, 1999. Last season, Clemson swept Duke in three games by a combined score of only 11-5. Two seasons ago at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson swept Duke by a combined score of 26-7. Clemson is 31-4 all-time against Duke at Doug Kingsmore Stadium as well.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 21-7 against Duke as Clemson's skipper, including a 10-2 mark at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Kyle Frank leads all current Tigers with a .448 (13-for-29) batting average with five RBIs against Duke in eight career games. Michael Johnson also has two homers and eight RBIs in eight career contests against the Blue Devils. No current Tiger has ever recorded a win over Duke, but Patrick Hogan and Tyler Lumsden have each picked up a save apiece. A total of five current pitchers have combined for just five relief appearances and 8.1 innings pitched against the Duke offense.

The Starting Pitchers
The starting rotations for both teams will be determined later in the week.

Duke Overview
Duke will come into the series, like the Tigers, after a six-day break for final exams. In its last series, Maryland won two of three games at Durham. The Blue Devils, who are 1-11 on the road this season, are hitting .272 as a team, led by Brian Patrick's .359 batting average. He also has a team-best six homers and 38 RBIs. Adam Murray is the only other Blue Devil above .300, as he is at .311. Murray also leads the team with 10 stolen bases. The Blue Devil pitching staff sports a 5.05 ERA, led by reliever Jim Perry. Perry has a 1.31 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. The staff has a respectable 2.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio as well. Defensively, Duke is fielding at a .949 percentage.

Clemson Overview
Clemson is coming off a three-game sweep of #4 Georgia Tech last weekend. Brad McCann had seven more RBIs in the series to up his season total to 55, best on the team by 21 RBIs. Zane Green is hitting a team-best .346, while Michael Johnson has a team-best .503 on-base percentage thanks to 49 walks. Johnson also has nine homers on the season and 55 for his career, just four shy of the Tiger career record of 59 held by Jeff Baker (2000-02). Overall, Clemson is hitting .309 as a team and is fielding at a .971 mark. Clemson also has a 4.04 team ERA. The seven Tiger freshman hurlers have combined to allow only one homer all season.

Tigers Sweep #4 Georgia Tech
Clemson outscored #4 Georgia Tech 30-15 in a three-game sweep at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from April 25-27. The Tigers hit .363 in the series, while holding the Yellow Jackets to a .231 batting average. Michael Johnson was 6-for-9 with seven walks to lead all Tiger hitters. Seven different Tigers had at least four hits in the three-game series.

In game one, which started on April 25 and was completed the next day, Brad McCann hit a two-out, three-run homer in the 10th inning to give Clemson a 9-7 win. It was just his second homer at home all season, as seven of his nine have come away from home. Clemson started the rally after the first two batters of the inning were retired. Russell Triplett reached on an infield single and Michael Johnson walked to set up the Atlanta-area native's heroics. It was the second-straight game Clemson won in extra-innings on a walkoff, three-run homer. Paul Harrelson picked up the win for the second-straight game. It was Georgia Tech's first extra-inning loss since 1997 and broke its 10-game winning streak in extra innings. Johnson and Triplett added homers earlier in the game as well.

In game two, Patrick Hogan set career highs for innings pitched and strikeouts in Clemson's 10-5 win. The junior allowed four earned runs, nine hits, and two walks while striking out eight in 8.0 innings pitched. Johnson was 3-for-3 to lead the Tigers' 14-hit attack. Ten different Tigers had at least one hit as well. Johnson reached base in 10 of his 11 plate appearances through the first two games.

In game three, Steven Jackson allowed just three runs on four hits in 6.1 innings in Clemson's 11-3 win, completing the series sweep. It was the fifth-straight win over Georgia Tech dating back to last season. Clemson outhit the Yellow Jackets 15-4 thanks to three hits apiece from McCann and Steve Pyzik. McCann also drove in four runs. Pinch-hitter Steven Blackwood accounted for all three Georgia Tech runs on a three-run homer in the seventh inning, but Clemson blew open the game with a four-run seventh and three-run eighth.

Tigers Near Perfect at Home
Clemson has a 23-2 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium this season, which has helped Clemson rank #7 in the latest RPI. The .920 home 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.

Winning Close Games...Again
Clemson has had success this year in close ballgames. The team has played in 13 games decided by two runs or less, and has won 11 of them. Clemson is 3-1 in one-run games and 8-1 in two-run games this year. Last season, Clemson was 6-1 in one-run games and 13-4 in two-run games for a total of 19-5 in games decided by two runs or less. Therefore, in the last two seasons, Clemson is 30-7 in games decided by two runs or less.

Tigers Sport Consistent Lineup
Clemson has a good team batting average of .309, but no player is hitting above .346. Nine Tigers with at least 45 at bats are hitting between .319 and .346, which means many different players have come through in the clutch. Clemson has not had to depend on a certain player to come through every time. Below is a list of the nine Tigers hitting between .319 and .346.

Three Tigers Above .384 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 .385 or better in ACC play this season. Demmink is at .429, Slevin is hitting .397, and Triplett is hitting .385. Demmink, a freshman, has provided a spark from the leadoff spot of late, as he has a .487 on-base percentage in ACC play. As a team, Clemson is out-hitting its ACC opponents .319 to .286, a margin of 33 points.

Harrelson Has 22-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 22 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 next game (against #4 Georgia Tech), he came into the game in a similar situation and got the win against the Yellow Jackets. In three games during the week of Apr. 21-27, he was 2-0 in three relief appearances. He also allowed just one run on three hits, no walks, and struck out 12 to earn ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors.

The Pauline, SC native has made 71 career appearances and 68 career relief appearances, both in the top 10 in Tiger history. The relief-appearance total ranks tied for fourth in school history, while he is tied for 10th in total appearances. His 13 career saves ranks tied for fifth in Tiger history as well.

Johnson, McCann Hit Walkoff Homers
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.

In the next game, against #4 Georgia Tech, lightning struck twice. With Clemson trailing 7-6 in the 10th inning, Brad McCann hit a two-out, opposite-field, three-run homer to give Clemson a 9-7 win. It was the sixth walkoff homer and 20th 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 49 times and been hit three times while totaling only 136 at bats this season. He is hitting .324, but has a .503 on-base percentage thanks to those 49 walks, nine of which have been intentional. Johnson has walked 155 times in his career, ranking fourth-best in Tiger history.

He hit .500 for the week of April 21-27 and had eight walks to earn ACC Player-of-the-Week honors. The entire season, Brad McCann, who is hitting behind Johnson in the lineup, has made teams pay for walking Johnson, as he is hitting .412 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 55 career homers and is in second place on the Tigers' all-time homer list.

Baseball America also released other rankings that Johnson appeared on. He was rated as the #2 senior prospect in the nation and #5 overall prospect in the ACC for the 2003 draft. He was also a First-Team All-ACC pick and rated as the top defensive first baseman in the ACC in the preseason by Baseball America.

Johnson suffered a dislocated ankle on October 12, 2002, an injury that required months of rehab. He has showed no ill-effects this season.

Tigers #6 in Latest RPI
The only rating system the NCAA uses to determine selections and seedings is the RPI, or the Ratings Percentage Index. Although the NCAA does not release its official RPI, Boyd Nation has come up with an RPI index that is all but the same as the official RPI. He uses numbers from previous seasons to verify his formulas.

In the April 28 release, his RPI index has Clemson #6, despite the Tigers only being ranked as high as #14 in the polls and ranked just #20 by Baseball America. Clemson can thank a brutal non-conference schedule for its high RPI ranking. The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and is for games through April 27.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is only one point out of first place in the unofficial RPI, trailing only the SEC. The ACC, which was the #1 conference a season ago, sports six of the top 18 teams in the RPI, including #1 Florida State, #6 Clemson, #8 N.C. State, #9 Georgia Tech, #16 Virginia, and #18 North Carolina. Top Stories