Clemson (38-18, 15-9 ACC), the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament, will play #5-seed North Carolina (37-19, 13-11 ACC) Wednesday at 10:00 AM in the opening game of the ACC Tournament at Salem, VA. The Tigers will be designated as the home team since they have the higher seed. The games will be played at Salem Memorial Stadium outside of Roanoke, VA. It is the farthest north an ACC Baseball Tournament has ever been held and the first time it has been held in the commonwealth of Virginia.
The winner of Clemson's first-round game will play the winner the winner of Florida State's first-round game, who will play the winner of Maryland-Duke play-in game. The winners' bracket game will be at 5:00 PM on Thursday. The loser of Clemson's first-round game will play the loser of the aforementioned game Thursday at 10:00 AM .
All of Clemson's ACC Tournament 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 games on Clemson's website.
Clemson holds an 88-66-1 lead in the series over North Carolina dating back to the first game in the 1901 season. Earlier this season, Clemson won two of three games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, both which were late-inning comebacks. Clemson is 14-9 against the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament, with the Tigers winning the last meeting by a 7-6 score in the 2001 ACC Tournament at Fort Mill, SC.
Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 23-10 against North Carolina as Clemson's head coach, including a 2-1 mark in the ACC Tourney. Brad McCann was 6-for-13 with four runs scored in the three games against North Carolina earlier this season, while David Slevin is a career .308 hitter in six games against the Tar Heels. Steven Jackson also pitched well in his last outing this season, when he pitched a career-long 7.1 innings, allowing just one earned run in Clemson's 5-2 win over the Tar Heels. In 9.2 career innings pitched against North Carolina, Jackson has allowed just one earned run and four hits.
The Starting Pitchers
Junior lefty Daniel Moore (6-2, 3.55 ERA) will start the game Wednesday for the Tar Heels. Moore picked up the win at Clemson on May 10 when he pitched 7.0 innings and allowed just one run on five hits. Moore has pitched 76.0 innings this year and has a .271 opponents batting average. Clemson will counter with Jackson (7-2, 3.93 ERA), a junior righthander. Jackson did not pitch at Wake Forest, therefore his last outing came in his career-long 7.1 innings-pitched-performance on May 12.
North Carolina Overview
North Carolina enters the series after losing two of three games at Virginia over the weekend. The Tar Heels are hitting an ACC-best .321, led by Jeremy Cleveland's .431 batting average. The junior slugger also has 18 homers and 59 RBIs to go along with a .531 on-base percentage. Sean Farrell also has 12 homers and 52 RBIs for the Tar Heels, who are fielding at a .963 clip in 2003. The North Carolina pitching staff has a 4.15 ERA, led by reliever Whitley Benson. The junior righthander has a 3.41 ERA and four saves in 27 appearances.
Clemson is coming off a three-game sweep at Wake Forest over the weekend. The Tigers won 11 of their last 13 ACC games to finish 15-9 overall. The Tigers are hitting .311 as a team, led by McCann's .355 average and 15-game hitting streak. Slevin is also riding an 18-game hitting streak, the longest by a Tiger in 2003. Clemson is 11-12 away from home this year, including 6-6 against ACC teams. Clemson also out-hit its ACC opponents .326 to .285 on the season and has won its last 32 games when out-hitting the opponent. The Tigers sport a 4.01 ERA and .971 fielding percentage as well.
Clemson Sweeps Wake Forest to Close Regular Season
Clemson hit .377 and outscored the Demon Deacons 24-8 in a three-game sweep at Wake Forest from May 15-17 to close out the regular season. The sweep gave the Tigers a 15-9 final ACC record, tying with N.C. State for third place. Garrick Evans shined in the series. In just two starts, both as the leadoff hitter, he was 6-for-8 with four runs scored, four doubles, a triple, two RBIs, three walks, and a stolen base. He earned ACC Player-of-the-Week honors thanks to his efforts.
Steve Pyzik (.500), Michael Johnson (.500), and Brad McCann (.471) also had outstanding series. McCann (15) and David Slevin (18) also extended their hitting streaks. Meanwhile, Tiger hurlers allowed just eight runs and had a 2.67 ERA against one of the top hitting teams in the ACC. Clemson also committed just one error all series.
In game one, Clemson overcame a season-high 16 runners left on base, including at least one in every inning, to win 6-2. The game was suspended on Thursday in the fourth inning with the Demon Deacons leading 2-1. Patrick Hogan pitched the final 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on five hits to earn the win. He earned ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors for his effort. Freshman Herman Demmink was 4-for-4 to lead the Tigers 15-hit attack. Four other Tigers also had two hits apiece, while Kyle Frank hit a homer and drove in two runs.
In game two, Clemson exploded for 21 hits and cruised to a 14-3 victory over the Demon Deacons. Five Tigers had at least three hits, including four by Evans. Evans had two doubles, a triple, three runs scored, and two RBIs, while Johnson was 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including his 57th career homer. Pyzik was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Slevin had three hits, including his fifth homer of the year. It was one of three Clemson homers in the game, as Ryan Hub hit a long homer as well. Tyler Lumsden regained his early-season form to earn the win, pitching 6.0 innings and allowing two runs on five hits.
In the series finale, Clemson scored two runs in the ninth inning to sweep Wake Forest thanks to the 4-3 win. Pyzik, who earlier hit his first career homer in his 372nd career at bat, led off the ninth with an infield single. After Evans walked, Johnson tied the score with a single and McCann gave the Tigers the lead with a sharp single to left field. McCann led all Tigers with three hits, while Evans had two doubles. Jeff Hahn allowed just one run in 4.0 innings pitched in relief to earn the win, while Paul Harrelson struck out the only batter he faced to earn his sixth save.
Clemson's ACC Tournament History
Clemson has won eight ACC Tournaments in history, more than any other school. This is the 30th ACC Baseball Tournament and Clemson has been to the finals in 20 of the previous 29 tournaments, 11 more than any other school. Clemson has an 87-45 record in ACC Tournament games. The Tigers also have the most first-team All-ACC Tournament players (41).
While Clemson has had unique success in the ACC Tournament, the Tigers will be looking for their first championship since 1994. That was Jack Leggett's first year as Clemson's head coach. Clemson defeated Florida State 4-1 in the championship game held in Greenville (SC) Municipal Stadium.
Leggett has been on the field to accept the championship trophy twice, however. In 1993, then Head Coach Bill Wilhelm was suspended for the championship game. Leggett, then the top assistant for the Tigers, was in charge for that 1993 championship game, an 11-7 win over N.C. State. Clemson's eight tournament titles came in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1994. Wilhelm is credited with the first seven tournament championships.
Clemson has been a consistent team in tournament play. The Tigers have won at least two tournament games in 27 of their previous 29 appearances. The only years Clemson did not win at least two games were 1998 (0-2) and 2001 (1-2). While Clemson has not won the title since 1994, Clemson has been to the championship round five of the last seven years.
Only 10 times in the 29-year history has a #1 seed won the tournament. Clemson has done it five times, while Georgia Tech, and North Carolina have done it twice each. Clemson last won the tournament as the #1 seed in 1994, the last time Clemson won the tournament.
The Tigers have won the ACC Tournament with a perfect record five times. Clemson was 3-0 in 1976 and 1978 in winning both events at Clemson, then had a 4-0 record in winning the title in Raleigh in 1980. Clemson's only other perfect run through the tournament came in 1991, when a Clemson team that won a record 60 games had a 5-0 mark in the ACC Tournament held in Greenville, SC. This will be the first time the tournament has been held in the state of Virginia.
Clemson has a winning record against every other ACC team in tournament play with the exception of Florida State. Clemson is 7-10 against the Seminoles in the event. The Tigers are 8-2 against Duke, 11-7 versus Georgia Tech, 12-0 versus Maryland, 14-9 against North Carolina, 14-9 against N.C. State, 10-4 versus Virginia and 11-4 versus Wake Forest. That computes to an 87-45 record and a .659 winning percentage. Only Florida State has a better winning percentage than Clemson in ACC Tournament play.
Clemson was the dominant team when the ACC Tournament was played in Greenville from 1987-95. In those nine tournaments, Clemson posted a 36-12 record, won the event four times, and finished second on two other occasions. Clemson won at least three games in eight of the nine tournaments held in Greenville.
The success was reflected in the attendance. Each of the top eight ACC tournament crowds in history were held in Greenville, including the record 43,675 that attended the 1992 event. The ACC Tournament began in 1973 and has been held every year but one since then. In 1979, Clemson won the regular-season title and was declared conference champion. The tournament was not held because of a scheduling conflict between school exam schedules and the tournament. Clemson has been the declared conference champion 13 times in its history, more than any other school.
Clemson's ACC Tourney Championships Years Year Seed W-L ACC Total Site 1976 1 3-0 10-2 36-15 Clemson 1978 1 3-0 10-2 39-14 Clemson 1980 3 4-0 6-5 38-21 Raleigh 1981 1 5-1 10-4 34-24 Chapel Hill 1989 2 5-0 13-5 50-20 Greenville 1991 1 5-0 18-3 60-10 Greenville 1993 5 5-1 11-11 45-20 Greenville 1994 1 4-1 20-4 57-18 Greenville ACC Tournament Records Rk School W-L Pct. 1. Florida State 40-17 .702 2. Clemson 87-45 .659 3. Georgia Tech 48-37 .565 4. N.C. State 64-52 .552 5. North Carolina 55-48 .534 6. Wake Forest 41-50 .451 7. Virginia 30-52 .366 8. Duke 17-48 .262 9. Maryland 15-48 .238 ACC Tournament Championships 1. Clemson 8 2. Georgia Tech 5 3. North Carolina 4 N.C. State 4 Wake Forest 4 6. Florida State 3 7. Virginia 1 8. Duke 0 Maryland 0Tigers #9 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 May 19 release, his RPI index has Clemson #9. 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 May 18.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is rated as the best conference in the unofficial RPI, just ahead of the SEC. The ACC, which was the #1 conference a season ago, sports six of the top 22 teams in the RPI, including #1 Florida State, #3 Georgia Tech, #9 Clemson, #12 N.C. State, #17 North Carolina, and #22 Virginia. Clemson is also 18-11 against the top-50 teams in the RPI and has played the top-three teams in the RPI, totaling a 5-4 record.
Clemson 8-7 Against Top-25 Teams in 2003
Clemson has an 8-7 record against top-25 ranked teams in 2003, including a 5-3 record against top-10 teams and 4-2 record against top-five teams. Only four of the 15 games against ranked teams have been at home as well.
In 10 seasons at Clemson, Jack Leggett has 119 wins over teams ranked in the top 25. He picked up his 100th win against top-25 teams at #5 South Carolina on April 24, 2002 in Clemson's 4-1 win. Only two times in his 10 seasons has he had a losing record against teams in the top 25.
Streak Marks Within Reach
Clemson's two most notable streaks are now within reach thanks to a three-game sweep at Wake Forest from May 15-17. Clemson, who is 38-18 this year, has won at least 40 games for 17 straight years and has participated in the NCAA Tournament for 16 consecutive years. Only Miami (FL) (30) and Florida State (25) hold longer current NCAA Tourney streaks.
Rallying to Victory a Common Theme
Clemson has 19 come-from-behind wins in 2003 among its 38 overall victories. The Tigers have been especially good at late rallies. Clemson has rallied to win twice when down in the eighth inning, three times when down in the ninth, and twice when down in the 10th inning, meaning Clemson has rallied to win entering its last at bat. Against both Georgia Tech and North Carolina earlier this year, the opponents plated a run in the 10th inning only to see the Tigers respond with walkoff hits to gain victory.
Five Tigers Hit .371 or Better in ACC Play
Clemson's five predominant infielders, Herman Demmink (has been the designated hitter of late), David Slevin (2B), Russell Triplett (SS), Michael Johnson (1B), and Brad McCann (3B) all hit at least .371 in ACC regular-season play this season. Demmink hit .457, Johnson hit .400, Slevin hit .392, McCann hit .376, and Triplett hit .371. Demmink, a freshman, also had a .537 on-base percentage in ACC play, while Johnson had a .539 mark. As a team, Clemson out-hit its ACC opponents .326 to .285, a margin of 41 points.
Tigers Led ACC in Batting Average in ACC Play
Clemson's .326 batting average in ACC regular-season games was tops in the conference in 2003 and is 27 points higher than the team's batting average against non-ACC games. The ACC is regarded as one of the top conferences in the nation.