Tigers & Noles Battle This Weekend

Clemson (27-14, 11-4 ACC), ranked as high as #11, will play host to #24 Florida State (27-16, 6-6 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium after a week off for final exams. Game times are 7:00 PM (Saturday), 2:00 PM (Sunday), and 4:00 PM (Monday).

Clemson vs. Florida State
Clemson (27-14, 11-4 ACC), ranked as high as #11, will play host to #24 Florida State (27-16, 6-6 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium after a week off for final exams. Game times are 7:00 PM (Saturday), 2:00 PM (Sunday), and 4:00 PM (Monday).

All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by the Clemson Tiger Sports Network and can be heard live via the internet at ClemsonTigers.com. Live stats will also be available on Clemson's website for all three games. On Sunday, youngsters will be allowed on the field to stand next to their favorite Tiger during the National Anthem.

The first two games will also be televised live. Saturday's game will be carried by Fox Sports Net South and Sunday's game will be televised by the Sunshine Network. Game three game will be televised by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and will air on the network at 7:00 PM Monday.

The Series
Clemson and Florida State have met 95 times on the diamond, with the Seminoles holding a 53-41-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1958 season. Last year at Tallahassee, FL, the Seminoles won the final two games of the series after the Tigers won the first game 8-4. Two years ago, Florida State swept the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. They have also won 11 of the last 12 games in the series.

The Tigers hold a 21-13 advantage over Florida State all-time in games played at Clemson and are 19-9 in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The two teams are tied 18-18 in ACC regular-season games.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 17-26 against the Seminoles as Clemson's head coach, including a 10-5 mark at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. All 43 games Leggett has coached against Florida State have been against a Seminole team ranked in the top 10 by at least one poll.

The Starting Pitchers
In game one, Florida State will start sophomore lefthander Hunter Jones (3-2, 3.84 ERA) on the mound. The Palm Beach Gardens, FL native has made 12 starts and two relief appearances for 63.1 innings pitched. He has allowed just 16 walks while striking out 54. He is also holding opponents to a .254 batting average.

The Tigers will counter with junior lefty Tyler Lumsden (3-2, 3.49 ERA) Saturday. The Roanoke, VA native has started eight games and has pitched 49.0 innings. Lumsden has allowed 49 hits and 21 walks while striking out 54, including 19 in 12.1 innings pitched over his last two starts against quality teams.

In game two, the Seminoles will start freshman lefty Brian Schultz (4-0, 2.73 ERA). The Lakeland, FL native will be making his first start of his career, as he has made a team-high 23 relief appearances. In 29.2 innings pitched, he has struck out 40 against 16 walks and is holding opponents to a .162 batting average. He also has a save.

The Tigers will counter with sophomore righthander Jason Berken (5-1, 2.09 ERA) on the mound Sunday. The De Pere, WI native has started eight games, but has only pitched a total of 4.0 innings (thanks to being on pitch counts) in his last two starts after missing over two weeks with pain in his elbow. In 38.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 21 hits and 17 walks while striking out 37. He has gone 23.0 innings pitched over his last five starts without allowing an earned run. He is also holding opponents to a .156 batting average.

In game three, Florida State will send out senior righthander Eddie Cannon (7-4, 3.87 ERA). The Sebring, FL native has started a team-high 13 games this year and is holding opponents to a .239 batting average. In 74.1 innings pitched, he has struck out 67 against only 14 walks.

Clemson will counter with sophomore lefty Robert Rohrbaugh (2-2, 2.82 ERA) Monday. The Littlestown, PA native has made six starts and seven relief appearances. In 44.1 innings pitched, he has allowed 39 hits, 13 walks, and no home runs. In his last five starts, all in ACC play, he has pitched a total of 33.1 innings, allowing 29 hits and nine earned runs, including no more than two earned runs in any of those starts.

Florida State Overview
Florida State, led by 25th-year Head Coach Mike Martin, enters the series after being swept at home by Georgia Tech last weekend. The Seminoles sport a 27-16 overall record and 6-6 mark in ACC play, where they are tied for fifth place with N.C. State (9-9). Florida State is also 4-9 on opponents' home fields, but 10 of the 13 games have been against teams in the top 16.

The team is hitting .290, led by Eddy Martinez-Esteve's .382 batting average. Florida State has hit 55 home runs, led by Esteve's 12 long balls, 13 doubles, and 47 RBIs. Stephen Drew also has 10 home runs and 30 RBIs to go along with a .342 batting average. He has also walked 34 times and has a .500 on-base percentage. As a team, Florida State is averaging 5.4 walks per game on offense and has a .397 on-base percentage. The Seminoles have stolen 51 bases in 61 attempts as well.

Florida State's pitching staff boasts a 4.31 ERA, led by Kevin Lynch's 2.29 ERA in 20 relief appearances. Brian Schultz has made a team-high 23 relief appearances and has a 2.73 ERA to go along with 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched. Four different Seminoles have accounted for the team's seven saves. Rhett James has three saves to lead the squad. Florida State, who has ranked atop the ACC in ERA in 10 of the last 11 seasons, has struck out 362 in 384.0 innings pitched and is holding opponents to a .252 batting average. The team is also fielding at a .954 clip.

Clemson Overview
Clemson enters the series against Florida State on a six-game winning streak after sweeping N.C. State last weekend. The team has also won 18 of its last 22 games and 14 straight at home, including two in walkoff fashion against the Wolfpack. The Tigers are 27-14 overall and 11-4 in ACC play, good for second place in the ACC standings.

Clemson, who is 18-5 at home this season, is hitting .298 as a team, led by Brad McCann's .383 batting average. He also has hit 10 home runs and driven in 42 runs in 41 games. Lou Santangelo has added 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 40 starts behind the plate, while Tony Sipp has stolen a team-high 14 bases in just 30 games in the field. Perhaps the team's hottest hitting is freshman first-baseman Andy D'Alessio. He is 19-for-49 (.388) in his last 14 starts to raise his average to .308. He also leads the team with a .326 batting average in ACC play.

Sipp has also been one of the hottest pitchers for the Tigers of late. The lefty has allowed just one earned run in his last seven outings (12.2 innings pitched). Clemson, whose ERA in conference action is 2.59, has a 3.77 overall ERA and .251 opponents' batting average. The staff has also allowed double-digit hits in just three of the last 19 games and has not allowed more than five earned runs in 22 straight games. Clemson is also fielding at a .966 clip.

The Tigers have two players who are natives of the state of Florida, including D'Alessio (Naples) and Stephen Clyne (Parkland).

Tigers Sweep Wolfpack Thanks to Arms
Clemson allowed just seven earned runs and a .192 batting average in a three-game sweep over N.C. State from April 23-25 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers upped their home winning streak to 14 games and upped its ACC mark to 11-4, 1.5 games ahead of third-place North Carolina. Clemson hit .250 in the series, led by Andy D'Alessio's four hits and four walks in eight at-bats. Lou Santangelo also hit two homers. The Tiger starters allowed just three runs in 16.1 innings pitched while striking out 18. The staff as a whole allowed just two extra base hits all series and had a 2.33 ERA. The Tigers outscored N.C. State 15-10 in the three games and won two games with walkoff singles in the ninth inning.

In game one, the Russell Triplett lined a one-out single to drive home the winning run and give the Tigers a 2-1 victory. The Tigers trailed 1-0 after six innings, but scored a run after a costly Wolfpack error. Travis Storrer's RBI bunt single tied the score in the seventh inning, then Storrer scored the winning run after a one-out single in the ninth on Triplett's liner. N.C. State, who was ranked #3 in the nation in fielding entering the week, committed three errors, threw two wild pitches, and balked twice. Wolfpack starter Michael Rogers and Tiger starter Tyler Lumsden both pitched gems, but neither factored in the decision. Reliever Patrick Hogan earned the win by pitching 1.2 perfect innings. The game saw just 12 hits combined, including no extra base hits.

In game two, Zane Green hit a deep single to right-center to drive home pinch-runner C.J. Gaddis and win the game with two outs in the ninth inning, giving the Tigers a 4-3 win. Green, who entered the at-bat just 2-for-34 and on the season and hitless in his last 23 at-bats, hit a 2-2 pitch off closer Joey Devine to win Clemson's third-straight game in the bottom of the ninth inning and second straight with a walkoff single. Jason Berken and Steven Jackson combined for a no-hitter until the seventh inning, when N.C. State tacked on a run after trailing 3-0. The Wolfpack tied the score 3-3 in the eighth inning thanks to a two-run single by Jason St. Julien. Storrer hit an RBI triple and Santangelo hit a solo homer to provide for two of Clemson's first three runs. Tony Sipp earned his first career win as a Tiger, while Berken upped his streak of not allowing an earned run to 23 innings.

In game three, the Tigers jumped out to a 7-1 lead and held on for a 9-6 win over N.C. State, giving Head Coach Jack Leggett his 500th win at Clemson in just his 11th season. After the two teams traded runs in the third inning, Clemson scored three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, highlighted by Brad McCann's long two-run homer. N.C. State responded with five runs in the seventh, thanks to two Tiger errors and a grand slam by Mike Jensen. But Sipp, who also stole three bases and scored two runs, closed the door with 2.0 shutout innings pitched in relief and Hogan pitched a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save of the season. Robert Rohrbaugh allowed two runs on four hits while striking out seven in 6.0 innings pitched to record the victory. Santangelo, who had a game-high three hits and team-high three RBIs, added a solo homer in the eighth inning. After the game, the Clemson Grounds Crew dug up home plate and presented it to Leggett in honor of winning #500.

Tigers Tough to Beat at Home Under Leggett
In his 11th season, Head Coach Jack Leggett has a 500-208 overall record at Clemson, including a 197-98 mark against ACC teams. He has been especially tough in home ACC series, where he has a 103-24 (.811) record. The conference team with the most success has been Florida State, who has only won five games in 15 tries at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Even when an opposing ACC team is victorious at Clemson, it usually means that team only won one of three games. In 43 ACC home series under Leggett, Clemson has lost only two series, losing two of three to N.C. State in 1996 and getting swept by Florida State in 2002. Georgia Tech also split a pair of games in a rain-shortened series in the 1997 season.

Tigers #9 in 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 26 release (listed at BoydsWorld.com), his RPI index has Clemson #9, a five-spot jump from last week and 20-spot jump in the last two weeks. The Tigers play one of the toughest schedules in the nation during the 2004 season. Clemson can thank a tough non-conference schedule for its high RPI ranking. The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and is for games through April 25.

Leggett Reaches 500-Win Mark at Clemson
Head Coach Jack Leggett won his 500th game as Clemson's head coach on April 25 when the Tigers defeated N.C. State 9-6. He has a 500-208 (.706) record at Clemson in his 11th season. The legendary Bill Wilhelm has the most wins of any Tiger coach with 1,161 in 36 seasons (1958-93) at Clemson. Leggett's 500 wins are second-most in school history. No other Clemson coach has more than 70 wins while in Tigertown. Through Leggett's first 10 seasons at Clemson, he had 473 wins. Only three other programs had more victories over that span from 1994-03. Leggett also has an 877-498 (.638) record in his 25th year as a collegiate head coach.

Triplett, Green Hit Walkoff Singles
Against N.C. State on April 23, Russell Triplett lined a single down the left-field line in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 2-1 win. In the next game, Zane Green, who was hitless in his last 23 at-bats, hit a ball deep to the gap for a single to give the Tigers a 4-3 win over the same Wolfpack team in walkoff fashion. Ironically, the game before the N.C. State series on April 21, Clemson won the game in the bottom of the ninth, but not on a walkoff hit. An error by the Western Carolina pitcher allowed two runs to score to give Clemson an 8-7 victory. Therefore, the Tigers won games in the bottom of the ninth three times in the span of three games.

It was the second time in as many years that Clemson hit walkoff hits to win games in back-to-back games, as Michael Johnson and Brad McCann hit walkoff homers in consecutive games in 2003. Clemson has had a walkoff hit to win a game 25 times under Head Coach Jack Leggett.

Closing In
A big reason for Clemson's 9-10 start to 2004 was its inability to win close games, as the Tigers lost those 10 games by a combined 23 runs. Through 19 games, Clemson was 0-6 in games decided by two runs or less, including 0-4 in one-run games. But in the last 22 games, which has seen the Tigers go 18-4, Clemson is 6-1 in one-run games to improve to 6-5 in one-run games overall. Clemson has lost by more than four runs just once this year, that being a 7-1 loss to Elon on March 24.

Rolling Along at Home
After a 4-5 record in its first nine home games, Clemson has reeled off 14 straight wins at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to improve to 18-5 at home. The biggest reason for the home winning streak is the Tiger bats, who are hitting a combined .333 in the last 14 home games.

Kris Harvey is leading the way with a .407 batting average to go along with eight doubles, five homers, and 20 RBIs. Brad McCann has added five homers and 17 RBIs, while Lou Santangelo has five homers and 17 RBIs.

Good Night
Clemson is 15-2 in 17 night games this year, including a 10-0 record at home. The Tigers are hitting .313 at night, compared to their opponents hitting just .236 at night. Clemson's ERA is also 2.93 at night, compared to its opponents' 6.64 ERA. Sophomore righthander Jason Berken has not allowed an earned run in 23.0 innings pitched (five starts) at night in 2004.

Homebound
After playing half of its first 36 games away from home, Clemson is in the process of playing a 14-game homestand in the friendly confines of Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The homestand includes three weekend series, against N.C. State, Florida State, and Central Florida. All three teams have been ranked in the top 25 in 2004. The Tigers have won 14 straight home games after starting the season 4-5 and are 5-0 on the current homestand.

Tigers Climb in Poll, ACC Standings
Clemson is ranked #11 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll after a 5-0 week that included a three-game sweep over N.C. State. The Tigers also moved into the top 25 of the two other polls. The Tigers are #22 according to Baseball America and #25 by Sports Weekly.

With the three victories versus the Wolfpack, the Tigers (11-4) are now 1.5 games out of first place and 1.5 games ahead of third-place North Carolina (11-7). Virginia leads the ACC with a 14-4 record.

Sipp Raising His Average, Lowering His ERA Junior Tony Sipp (Moss Point, MS), Clemson's only lefthander out of the bullpen, has been an asset to the Tigers this year. He has started 28 games in the outfield and has added speed on the basepaths. He leads the team in stolen bases with 14 and has slowly raised his batting average after struggling at the plate early in 2004. Overall, he is hitting .243 and has a 4.39 ERA in 13 appearances.

However, he has been a big reason for Clemson's 18-4 record in the last 22 games, both at the plate and on the mound. During that span, he is hitting .300 with seven steals and a .417 on-base percentage. He is also 1-0 with a save and a 1.29 ERA in eight relief appearances (14.0 innings pitched). During postseason play, he, along with two-way players Kris Harvey and Collin Mahoney, will be valuable because each team can only carry 25 players on its roster. In effect, Clemson will have 28 players on the postseason roster.

Lumsden Striking Down the Competition
Junior lefthander Tyler Lumsden (Roanoke, VA) has a 3.49 ERA and 3-2 record in eight starts and one relief appearance this season. In 49.0 innings pitched, he has struck out 54, good for a 9.92 strikeouts per nine innings pitched mark. He has been especially hard to hit in his last two starts against quality teams (at #10 North Carolia and against N.C. State). In those two starts, he struck out 19 in just 12.1 innings pitched, all the while allowing just one earned run.

In five ACC starts, he has a 3-1 record and 2.48 ERA along with 36 strikeouts in 32.2 innings pitched. In his three-year career, Lumsden has a 15-5 record and 189 strikeouts in 193.0 innings pitched.

Hogan Shutting the Door
Fifth-year senior righthy and tri-captain Patrick Hogan (Columbia, SC) has become the Tigers' stopper out of the bullpen. In a team-high 16 relief appearances, Hogan has nine saves in 27.0 innings pitched (2.67 ERA). The nine saves rank tied for fifth-most in a season in Tiger history and ranks tied for seventh in the nation entering this week's action. He has also struck out 40 against only eight walks. In four years, he has 17 career saves, third-most in Clemson history.

Berken Battles
The one word Head Coach Jack Leggett likes to use when talking about sophomore righthander Jason Berken (De Pere, WI) is "battler." Clemson's Friday starter has done just that this year, as he has a 5-1 record and 2.09 ERA in eight starts. He has been especially good in his last five start. In a combined 23.0 innings pitched, he did not allow an earned run in those five contests.

On the season, he has allowed just 21 hits in 38.2 innings pitched while striking out 37. Opponents are hitting only .156 overall and righthanded batters are hitting only .128 off Berken as well. After missing two scheduled starts (at Virginia on April 9 and at North Carolina on April 16) due to pain in his elbow, he pitched one (scheduled) inning against Western Carolina on April 21 and 3.0 innings (pitch count) in starting roles.

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