Tigers Earn #2 Seed at Athens Regional
Clemson (36-24), ranked as high as #22, received a #2 seed at the Athens (GA) Regional to be played June 4-6 at Foley Field. The Tigers will play #3-seed Birmingham-Southern (46-16) Friday at 7:00 PM EDT. Clemson will be designated as the home team and occupy the third-base dugout. Top-seed and host Georgia (38-20) will play Middle Tennessee (40-20) Friday at 3:00 PM. The two losers will play Saturday at 11:00 AM, while the two winners will play Saturday at 3:00 PM. The winner of the second game Saturday will play in the championship round Sunday at 2:00 PM, while the loser of the second game Saturday will play the winner of the first game Saturday at 7:00 PM. If the unbeaten team loses Sunday, there will be another game 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game Sunday to determine the Athens Regional champion. The winner of the Athens Regional will play the winner of the Atlanta (GA) Regional from June 11-13 at a site to be determined. The four teams in that regional are #1-seed Georgia Tech, #2-seed Texas Tech, #3-seed Mississippi State, and #4-seed Jacksonville State.
Clemson's NCAA Tournament History
The 2004 season marks Clemson's 30th trip to an NCAA Regional dating back to the 1947 season. That year, Clemson actually advanced to the Final Eight of the NCAA Tournament, but it is not considered a College World Series season because only two teams went to the CWS in those days.
Clemson made its first trip to the College World Series in 1958 when the Tigers again came through the losers' bracket. After losing to Florida in the first round, Clemson came back to defeat George Washington, Florida State, and Florida twice to advance under first year coach Bill Wilhelm. Clemson defeated Florida 15-14 and 3-1 on June 9 to advance. Harold Stowe struck out 17 in that second game on June 9 and that is still a Clemson single-game record for strikeouts in an NCAA Tournament game.
The Tigers advanced to the CWS in 1959, this time with three easy wins; one over Georgia Tech and two over Florida State. One of the wins over the Seminoles was a 24-2 victory in Gastonia, NC. That tally is still tied for the most runs scored by Clemson in an NCAA Tourney game.
The Tigers did not advance to Omaha again until 1976. In fact, Clemson made just one NCAA Tournament appearance between 1960 and 1974. That was in 1967 when Clemson reached the Regional Championship, but lost to Auburn 6-5.
Clemson made it to Omaha three out of five years between 1976-80. Clemson won a regional in Columbia, SC in 1976 with three straight wins, then came through the losers bracket in Miami (FL) in 1977 to advance to Omaha. The 1980 season was the first year Clemson played host to a regional, as Clemson swept three games by scoring 45 runs, including 17 in a 17-12 win over South Carolina.
Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1987, making College World Series trips in 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, and 2002. Clemson's streak of 18 consecutive regionals is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (FL) (32) and Florida State (28). Clemson's streak is also tied for the fourth-longest in college baseball history.
Overall, Clemson has been to a regional in 30 seasons (including 2004), sixth-best all-time. Clemson's all-time record in NCAA play is 81-62, a .566 winning percentage.
Clemson is 36-22 (.621) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play, including a 24-5 record in home NCAA Tournament games. Leggett has taken Clemson to a Regional all 11 years he has been Clemson's head coach, and the Tigers have advanced to the College World Series four times. Leggett has taken Clemson to the Super Regional four of the five years that format has been in existence.
Tiger NCAA Marks Held by Current Tigers
Two Tigers hold school records in the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, Zane Green hit six homers in 10 NCAA Tournament games, setting a new Tiger mark. Ironically, those are the only six homers of his career in 194 career games. Righthander Patrick Hogan also made five relief appearances in the 2002 NCAA Tournament, tying the Clemson mark also held by B.J. LaMura (2002).
Scouting #1-Seed Georgia
Top-seeded and #10 Georgia (38-20) enters the NCAA Regional after going 1-2 in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs totaled just one run in the three games in Hoover, AL. The Bulldogs, who are 24-9 at Foley Field this season, are making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2002. Georgia last played host to a regional in 2001. Georgia also won the national championship in 1990.
Georgia, led by third-year Head Coach David Perno, is hitting .297 as a team. Shortstop Justin Holmes leads the team with a .320 batting average, but five other regulars are hitting at least .302 at the plate. Freshman first baseman Josh Morris has a team-best 16 homers and 67 RBIs. The pitching staff has a 4.13 ERA and .259 opponents' batting average thanks to two outstanding relievers. Bo Lanier (3-1, 2.13 ERA, two saves) has made 20 relief appearances, while Will Startup (5-2, 2.37 ERA, eight saves) has made 26 relief appearances. Georgia is also fielding at a .969 clip and has only allowed 44 stolen bases.
Clemson and Georgia have met 203 times on the baseball diamond, with the Bulldogs holding a 109-92-2 advantage in the series that dates back to 1900. Georgia is Clemson's second-most played rival in school history, trailing only South Carolina (267). The two teams have played at least one game every year since 1959. Earlier this season, Clemson won both games by a combined score of 25-6. The Bulldogs lead 63-38 in games played at Georgia. Head Coach Jack Leggett is 15-7 against Georgia as Clemson's head coach, inlcuding a 5-7 record in Athens.
Tigers Take Two From Georgia
In a two-game, midweek, home-and-home series on March 30,31, Clemson won both games over Georgia by a combined score of 25-6. Clemson outhit the Bulldogs .384 to .235 and stole three bases to Georgia's none. Brad McCann was 7-for-8 against the Bulldogs, upping his career mark to 12-for-16 against them. Herman Demmink also had five hits in the series. It was the Tigers' first two-game sweep over Georgia since 1999.
Kris Harvey pitched 7.0 solid innings and Patrick Hogan closed out the last 2.0 innings in Clemson's 6-2 win at Foley Field in Athens on March 30. The Tigers' win broke a four-game losing streak at Foley Field. Harvey, who worked out of several jams, scattered seven hits and allowed two runs while striking out seven in the longest outing of his career. He improved to 5-0 with the victory. Hogan closed the door to record his fifth save of the year. Clemson scored in each of the first four innings to take a 5-2 lead and never looked back. McCann, a Georgia signee out of high school, paced the Tigers with three hits, including two doubles and two RBIs. Herman Demmink added two runs and two hits, while Ryan Hub hit his first home run of the year.
In the rematch on March 31, Clemson won for the 10th straight time over Georgia at Doug Kingsmore Stadium by a convincing score of 19-4. McCann went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, and Lou Santangelo hit a grand slam and triple, and drove in six runs. Demmink and Harvey each had 3-for-4 nights with three runs scored and three RBIs. The Tigers totaled 17 runs and 16 hits in the first four innings and never looked back. Stephen Faris pitched 6.0 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits to earn his first career win.
Scouting #2-Seed Clemson
Second-seeded and #22 Clemson enters the regional with a 36-24 record after going 2-2 in the ACC Tournament at Salem, VA. The Tigers are 9-13 on opponents' home fields and 13-15 in games away from home. It is Clemson's 30th NCAA Tournament appearance in history and 18th in a row, the third-longest active streak in the country.
Clemson, led by 11th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett, is hitting .298 as a team, led by third-baseman Brad McCann. The junior is hitting .384 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs. Kris Harvey is hitting .337 and is on a 16-game hitting streak. Clemson has also hit 65 homers and stolen 76 bases. The pitching staff has a 4.22 ERA and .261 opponents' batting average. Patrick Hogan has 10 saves in 2004 and 18 in his career. Clemson is also fielding at a .962 clip.
Scouting #3-Seed Birmingham-Southern
Third-seeded Birmingham-Southern (46-16) enters the NCAA Regional after going 4-2 in the Big South Conference Tournament at Rock Hill, SC. The Panthers were 21-3 in the regular season in Big South play. The Panthers are also 21-11 away from home, which includes a two-game series at Georgia in February. The two teams split one-run games.
The 2004 season is only the first full year of full NCAA eligibility for the Panthers. They were provisional NCAA and Big South members the past two seasons. This is the first season that Birmingham-Southern, who is making its first ever NCAA Tourney appearance, was included in the Big South standings and the NCAA stats. In their last season at the NAIA level, they won the 2001 national title.
Birmingham-Southern, led by 15th-year Head Coach Brian Shoop, is hitting .304 as a team. The Panthers, who are 11-3 in one-run games, have stolen 104 bases in 122 attempts, led by Michael Cline's 28 and Matt Bogue's 25. They have also totaled 47 sacrifice bunts. Jared Walker is hitting a team-best .362, while Connor Robertson has a team-high 19 homers and 65 RBIs. The pitching staff sports a 3.76 ERA and .262 opponents' batting average. Robertson also has nine saves and 45 strikeouts in just 27.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen. Lefthander Wes Letson has a 12-2 record and 3.94 ERA in 105.0 innings pitched as well. The Panthers are fielding at a .973 clip.
Clemson and Birmingham-Southern have met just once. On March 17, 1975, the Panthers defeated Clemson 2-1 at Birmingham, as Clemson stopped between series at Alabama and Auburn to play the game. Future Major Leaguer Denny Walling went 1-for-4 in that game for the Tigers.
Scouting #4-Seed Middle Tennessee
Fourth-seeded Middle Tennessee (40-20) enters the NCAA Regional after going 3-2 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Blue Raiders, who are 21-9 away from home, are making their 13th NCAA Tournament appearance, including fourth in the last five years.
Middle Tennessee, led by 17th-year Head Coach Steve Peterson, is hitting .297 as a team. Derek Phillips leads the team with a .394 batting average. Brett Carroll has hit 13 homers with a team-best 51 RBIs, while Shane Kemp has hit a team-high 14 home runs and 48 RBIs. The pitching staff has a 3.85 ERA and .255 opponents' batting average. In 533.2 innings pitched, the staff has struck out 553 and has a 3.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Steve Kline has a team-best five saves, while Chase Swing has four saves. The Blue Raiders' top two starters (John Williams and Chris Mobley) have combined for 228 strikeouts against only 65 walks. Both have pitched 94.1 innings. Middle Tennessee has a .963 fielding percentage as well.
Clemson and Middle Tennessee have met just twice on the diamond, with the Tigers leading 2-0. On May 26, 2000, the Tigers defeated Middle Tennessee 4-0 in the Clemson Regional. Two days later, the Tigers beat the Blue Raiders 21-3 to advance to the Super Regional against Mississippi State. Despite last playing four years ago, current outfielder Ryan Hub actually played in the second game against the Blue Raiders. He played as a true freshman in 2000, then sat out as a red-shirt in 2001. In that game, he came off the bench and was 2-for-2 with two singles and a run scored. The right-fielder's two hits helped Clemson total 24 hits in the game, a Tiger NCAA Tournament record.
37- That's how many of Clemson's 60 games in 2004 have been against teams in the NCAA Tournament. Clemson had an 18-19 record in those 37 games, therefore only five losses came to teams not in the NCAA Tournament.
Tigers Go 2-2 in ACC Tournament
Clemson went 2-2 in the 2004 ACC Tournament held at Salem, VA. All four games were against teams selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Both losses were heartbreaking defeats in the final inning. The Tigers hit .327 with 17 doubles in the four games and did an excellent job getting ahead early. In the four games, Clemson scored at least two runs in every first inning and totaled 15 of its 31 runs of the tourney in the first inning. Travis Storrer was 10-for-20 with seven runs scored and three doubles, Brad McCann was 9-for 18 with six runs scored, three doubles, two homers, and six RBIs, and Tony Sipp was 8-for-17 with six runs scored, four doubles, a triple, and five walks. Sipp also tied the Tiger ACC Tourney record with the four doubles and struck out six in 3.2 innings pitched in relief. Kris Harvey (.353), Tyler Colvin (.333), Russell Triplett (.316), and Lou Santangelo (.316) also had productive tourneys. Harvey also extended his hitting streak to 16 games, while D'Alessio's streak ended at 13 and Triplett's ended at 11.
In the Tigers' first game, Triplett hit a walkoff single to score Harvey in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 7-6 win. It was Triplett's third career walkoff, game-winning hit. McCann led the Tigers with four of the team's 15 hits, while Triplett had a game-high three RBIs. Triplett had early given Clemson the lead with a two-run single in the fifth inning. Sipp pitched 3.1 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, and Patrick Hogan threw just one pitch but earned the win. Jason Berken allowed four runs, which ended his streak of not allowing an earned run at 30 innings.
In the second game, Clemson lost to top-seed Georgia Tech 11-7 in 13 innings. Clemson, who was the home team, had chances to win the game with a runner on second in the ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th innings, but could not come through with a clutch hit. The Yellow Jackets put five runs on the board in the 13th and held on for the win thanks in part to three diving catches in the outfield. Georgia Tech extended its winning streak to 19 games with the win. McCann hit the first pitch he saw off Micah Owings deep over the fence in left field for a three-run homer in the first inning. Storrer led the Tigers with four hits, inclulding a two-run, game-tying double with two outs in the ninth inning. Sipp also was 2-for-3 with a double, triple, and four walks. The game featured six intentional walks, including three by each team.
In the third game, Tyler Lumsden struck out 10 in 7.2 innings pitched to lead the Tigers to a 12-1 win over N.C. State in an elimination game. Lumsden, a native of nearby Roanoke, VA, allowed just one run on five hits to earn the win. Clemson jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. The Tigers hit an ACC Tournament-record eight doubles, including two each by Sipp and Triplett, as the team had 17 hits in all. Sipp, McCann, and Triplett all had three hits apiece. The win was Clemson's sixth in a row over the Wolfpack in ACC Tourney play.
In the fourth game, North Carolina scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to eliminate Clemson 6-5. After hitting the leadoff batter, Sipp's throwing error on a potential double-play ball set the scene in the ninth. Chris Iannetta then hit a high pop up down the right-field line that fell just fair and in between three Tigers, which loaded the bases. After Marshall Hubbard walked to tie the score, Sammy Hewitt laced a single to center for the walkoff single. Storrer added three more hits, and Satangelo hit a long two-run homer along with a single and double to lead the Tigers. McCann also hit a deep two-run homer in the seventh to give the Tigers the lead. Josh Cribb pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief with six strikeouts. It was Clemson's first loss of 2004 when leading after eight innings.
McCann, Storrer All-ACC Tournament Team
Third baseman Brad McCann and second baseman Travis Storrer were named to the 2004 All-ACC Tournament team at their respective positions. McCann was 9-for-18 (.500) with six runs scored, three doubles, two homers, six RBIs, and a .591 on-base percentage in four games. Storrer was 10-for-20 (.500) with seven runs scored, three doubles, and four RBIs in four games. The #4-seeded Tigers went 2-2 in the ACC Tournament held at Salem, VA, finishing in fourth place. Next year's tournament will be played at Jacksonville, FL.
Tigers Set ACC Tourney Record for Doubles
Clemson hit eight doubles against N.C. State on May 28 to set an ACC Tournament record for two-baggers in a single tourney game. Russell Triplett and Tony Sipp each had two doubles in the game. The previous Clemson ACC Tourney record was six, also set against N.C. State in 1999. The Tigers broke the record held by N.C. State, who ironically hit seven doubles against Clemson in a 1987 ACC Tournament game.
Sipp also tied two school ACC Tourney records in Salem, VA. He hit four doubles in four games, tying five other Tigers for the tourney record. Sipp also walked four times against #5 Georgia Tech on May 27, tying Joe Taylor for the Tiger record. Taylor walked four times against the Yellow Jackets a 1992 ACC Tournament game. Lou Santangelo also tied a school tourney record with seven at-bats against #5 Georgia Tech. Although he did not have a hit, he crushed two balls to right field that the wind kept in the park, and he ended the game with a deep fly ball to centerfield that was caught up against the wall by Brandon Boggs.
Clemson #17 in Unofficial 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 31 release (listed at BoydsWorld.com), his RPI index has Clemson #17. 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. Of the Tigers' 60 games, 36 have been against teams ranked in the top 35 of the RPI. The Tigers also have 18 wins against teams in the top 50 of the RPI. The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and is for games through May 30.
Tigers Holding Their Own Against SEC's Best
After starting 1-4 in its first five games against SEC foes this year, Clemson has won its last four games against the SEC to end the regular season with a 5-4 record. Clemson lost its first two games against rival and #5 South Carolina and then lost two of three games against #7 Auburn. But the Tigers rebounded with four convincing wins, two each, over Georgia and the #6 Gamecocks by a combined score of 47-15. All three teams have been ranked in the top 25 this year, while South Carolina has been a top-10 team much of 2004.
In the nine games against the three SEC opponents this season, Clemson is hitting .329 at the plate, while holding the opponents to a .255 batting average. The Tigers, who have outscored their SEC opponents 80-51, also have hit 16 home runs, 22 doubles, and three triples, all the while averaging nearly nine runs per game. Clemson's bullpen has been outstanding, tallying a 2.72 ERA and .210 opponents' batting average.
Garrick Evans is 12-for-23 (.522) with four doubles, a homer, 10 runs scored, and eight RBIs in eight games, while Brad McCann is 20-for-39 (.513) with four doubles, two homers, and 16 RBIs. Herman Demmink (.484), Travis Storrer (.360), and Russell Triplett (.343) also have had productive games, including each with two homers apiece.
Head Coach Jack Leggett has experienced success against the SEC in the past. He regularly schedules multiple series against Southeastern Conference foes, including four annual games against Palmetto State rival South Carolina and two against border-rival Georgia. He is 62-34 (.646) against the SEC in his 11th season at Clemson, including a 22-17 record against South Carolina and 15-7 mark versus Georgia. Leggett also has at least a .500 record against every SEC team he has faced while at Clemson.
Four Tigers Named to All-ACC Teams
Kris Harvey was named to the First-Team All-ACC squad and three other Tigers were named to the second-team, announced by the conference prior to the ACC Tournament. Harvey received first-team honors as an At Large selection. The Second-Team All-ACC Tigers include Patrick Hogan (RP), Brad McCann (3B), and Lou Santangelo (C). The 2004 season marked the second year in a row McCann was named to the second team.
In recent years, Clemson has not had many players both pitch and play in the field. But this season, three Tigers have seen action in both roles. Lefthander Tony Sipp has started 46 games in the outfield and pitched in 20 games on the mound. Righthander Kris Harvey has also started 13 games on the mound (winning six games), while starting four at first base, two in left field, 24 in right field, and 16 as the designated hitter. And righthander Collin Mahoney, who never pitched in college before this year, has shown flashes of dominance on the mound in 2004. He has struck out 26 in just 19.0 innings pitched. His fastball has been clocked in the high 90s and has even reached 100 on the radar gun. He is also 4-for-16 (.250) with three RBIs at the plate this year.
Another Tiger is a different kind of two-way player. Outfielder and true freshman C.J. Gaddis is also listed as a cornerback on the Tiger football team. Gaddis red-shirted this past fall, as the Clemson football coaching staff is excited about the abilities he brings to the gridiron. He has stolen three bases in three attempts this year.
Triplett, Green, Storrer 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 dramatic fashion 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 back-to-back games, as Michael Johnson and Brad McCann hit walkoff homers in consecutive games (against East Tennessee State and Georgia Tech) in 2003.
Then on May 5, 2004 against Charleston Southern, Clemson scored three runs in the ninth inning, capped by Travis Storrer's walkoff, RBI single, to defeat the Buccaneers 3-2. Triplett pulled off the feat for the third time in his career when he grounded a single through the left side to plate Kris Harvey in the ninth inning to beat #20 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament on May 26. Clemson has had a walkoff hit to win a game 27 times under Head Coach Jack Leggett in 11 seasons.
Clemson has hit 136 doubles in 60 games in 2004, good for 2.27 per game. That mark has been enhanced in the last 12 games, as the Tigers have hit 41 doubles, or 3.42 per game. Clemson also hit 17 doubles in just four ACC Tournament games, including an ACC Tournament-record eight doubles against N.C. State on May 28. Clemson has gone 17 straight games with at least one double as well. No Tiger has more than 20 doubles, but 10 Tigers have hit at least nine doubles.
The school record for doubles in a season is 189, set in 1991. Even though the 136 doubles in 2004 only ranks 15th in Clemson history, the 2.27 per-game mark this season is fifth-best.
Clemson is 20-6 in 26 night games this year, including a 14-2 record at home. The Tigers are hitting .309 at night, compared to their opponents hitting just .253 at night. Clemson's ERA is also 3.68 at night, compared to its opponents' 6.57 ERA.
McCann Leading Team With .384 Average
In 58 games in 2004, Brad McCann has 91 hits and leads the team with a .384 batting average along with 15 homers and 62 RBIs. He also has a team-best 60 runs scored and team-best 20 doubles.
The 2003 Second-Team All-ACC pick had eight RBIs in three games against #7 Auburn from March 12-14. Then against Georgia in two games in late March, he was 7-for-8 with a homer and five RBIs. In four career games against the team (Georgia) he signed with out of high school, he is 12-for-16.
McCann, whose brother is a rising star in the Braves' organization, has batted in the #3 spot in the lineup all season. McCann has a career batting average of .365 (178-for-488) in two seasons as well, 10th in Clemson history, but fourth among players with at least 400 at-bats.
Sipp Special in ACC Tournament
Tony Sipp had one of the best all-around ACC Tournaments of any Tiger in recent history from May 26-28, 2004. In four games in Salem, VA, he was 8-for-17 (.471) with six runs scored, four double, a triple, two RBIs, five walks, and a .591 on-base percentage as the leadoff batter. In the middle two games, he reached base in 10 of his 12 plate appearances. He tied two Clemson ACC Tournament records with four total doubles and four walks in a single game (against #5 Georgia Tech on May 27). Sipp also made two relief appearances on the mound. In 3.2 innings pitched, he allowed one earned run and one walk while striking out five.
Lumsden Striking Down the Competition
Junior lefthander Tyler Lumsden (Roanoke, VA) has a 3.72 ERA and 5-3 record in 13 starts and one relief appearance this season. In a team-high 77.1 innings pitched, he has struck out 81, good for a 9.43 strikeouts per nine innings pitched mark.
Burns' Son Leads Texas Southern
Clemson's football coaches follow Jack Leggett's baseball team closely during the spring. Head Coach Tommy Bowden is a season-ticket holder and the rest of his staff can be seen at many games throughout the year when football practice does not interfere.
Running Backs Coach Burton Burns is one of Bowden's assistants who follows the Tiger baseball program, but he will not be making the short trip to Athens, GA for the games this weekend. Instead, Burns will be going to Houston, TX to watch his son (Damon) play for Texas Southern against defending national champion Rice in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Burns is a 6'-0", 205-pound senior left fielder for Texas Southern. He has been the starter in 31 of the team's 44 games this year, including all four games in the Southwest Athletic Conference Tournament. He had a hit in each of those tournament games, helping Texas Southern to its first ever Southwestern Athletic Conference title.
Burns is hitting .242 for the season and is third on the team in doubles (9). He serves as captain as well.
Clemson Baseball Athens Regional Notes
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