Tigers Battle No. 18 UC-Irvine

The Tigers will square off against No. 18 UC-Irvine this weekend at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Clemson vs. UC Irvine
Clemson (1-2) will open its home schedule when it plays host to #18 UC Irvine (6-2) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 4:00 PM (Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 12:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson. Live stats will be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games.

The Series
Friday's game will be the first meeting between the two schools. It will be Clemson's first game against a team from the state of California since 2000, when the Tigers faced Stanford in the College World Series. It will also be the first time a team from California will visit Doug Kingsmore Stadium since 1998, when eventual national champion Southern California played the Tigers in the NCAA East Regional at Clemson.

The Starting Pitchers
In game one, UC Irvine will start junior righthander Chris Nicoll (2-1, 2.41 ERA) on the mound. The Santa Maria, CA native has yielded just 14 hits and four walks while striking out 18 in 18.2 innings pitched in three starts. He also has a .197 opponents' batting average.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Josh Cribb (1-0, 3.00 ERA) on the mound Friday. The Lake View, SC native earned the win against West Virginia in the season-opener last Friday. He allowed two runs on nine hits while walking none in 6.0 innings pitched. It will be Cribb's first ever start at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and fourth overall in his career.

In game two, the Anteaters will send out sophomore righthander Justin Cassel (2-0, 4.15 ERA) to the mound. In three starts, the Northridge, CA native has allowed 24 hits and only one walk while striking out 14 in 17.1 innings pitched.

Clemson will counter with junior lefty Robert Rohrbaugh (0-0, 1.80 ERA) Saturday. The Littlestown, PA native allowed just one run on two hits in 5.0 innings pitched at Coastal Carolina last Saturday, but did not factor in the decision. Rohrbaugh was the team's most consistent starter in 2004.

UC Irvine's starter for game three has yet to be determined.

The Tigers will start junior righthander Kris Harvey (0-1) Sunday. The Catawba, NC native suffered only his second career loss against East Carolina last Sunday, making his career record 10-2. He allowed five runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings pitched against the Pirates, but did not walk a batter and struck out four.

UC Irvine Overview
The Anteaters, ranked as high as #18 in the national polls, are led by first-year Head Coach Dave Serrano and enter the series at 6-2. Last weekend, they split two games with Brigham Young. Two weekends ago, they swept #8 Washington in a three-game seires by a combined score of 19-6. UC Irvine is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.

The team, which is 2-1 on the road this season, is hitting .299 overall, led by Jaime Martinez and Matt Anderson, who are both 11-for-29 (.379). Anderson has a team-high 10 RBIs, while Mark Wagner has a team-best two home runs. The team has done an excellent job getting runners home, as it has left just 49 men on base compared to its opponents' 65.

UC Irvine's pitching staff has a 3.18 ERA and .259 opponents' batting average. The staff has combined to allow just 18 walks in 73.2 innings pitched, while striking out 68.

The Anteaters, who have only used eight different pitchers in 2005, have a total of five saves and three home runs allowed as well. Sophomore righthander Blair Erickson, who already owns the Anteater career saves record, leads the team with two saves. UC Irvine has committed only four errors in eight games, good for a stellar .987 fielding percentage.

Clemson Overview
Clemson enters the series against UC Irvine after going 1-2 in the Baseball at The Beach tournament at Myrtle Beach, SC. Clemson scored all nine of its runs in the first nine innings in which it batted, but went scoreless in its last 17 innings.

The Tigers are hitting .204, led by freshman Taylor Harbin's .417 batting average. He hit a double in each of the three games last weekend, and has three of the team's six doubles. The Tigers also sport a 4.97 ERA and .273 opponents' batting average along with a 25-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Clemson is fielding at a .957 clip as well.

California Connection
When Clemson faces UC Irvine this weekend, three Tigers, all newcomers, will be playing a team from their home state of California. Sophomore third-baseman Jorge Andrade, Jr. (San Diego), junior righthander Sean Clark (Los Angeles), and freshman lefthander Daniel Moskos (Alta Loma) are all from the "Golden State." Andrade made two starts at third base and came off the bench in the other, while Moskos made two relief appearances in the Baseball at The Beach tournament. Clark is rehabbing an injury, as he hopes to return by late March. Clemson also has two Tigers from the state of Washington, Jesse Ferguson (Redmond) and Travis Storrer (Mount Vernon), giving the team five players from the West Coast.

Tigers Go 1-2 at the Baseball at The Beach
Clemson went 1-2 in the Baseball at The Beach tournament at Myrtle Beach, SC from February 18-20 to open the season. The Tigers won their opening game 7-2 over West Virginia, but lost the last two games against host Coastal Carolina and East Carolina. The Tigers went their last 17 innings without scoring a run. Clemson hit .204 combined in the three games, including just 4-for-28 (.143) with runners in scoring position in the tourney and 1-for-15 in the two losses. Freshman Taylor Harbin had an impressive debut. He was 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles, a walk, and three steals in three attempts. He also did not strike out and was errorless in 12 chances at second base. The pitching staff had a 4.97 ERA and .273 opponents' batting average, but had 25 strikeouts against only eight walks, better than a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Junior transfer Adrian Casanova also threw out two of four basestealers in the tourney.

In the season-opener against West Virginia, junior righthander Josh Cribb pitched 6.0 effective innings to earn the win in the Tigers' 7-2 victory on February 18. It was Clemson's first season-opening victory since 2002, as the Tigers improved to 10-0 all-time against the Mountaineers. Cribb earned the victory pitching less than 50 miles from his hometown of Lake View, SC. He scattered nine hits and two runs without allowing a walk. Freshmen Brad Chalk and Taylor Harbin had two hits apiece to pace the Tigers' 10-hit attack. A five-run second inning put Clemson up for good. Clemson did not commit an error in 42 chances in the field. West Virginia had 10 hits, including six doubles, but could not piece together a big inning.

In the second game, pinch-hitter DJ Burns hit a walkoff single in the ninth inning to give Coastal Carolina a 3-2 win over the Tigers on February 19. Clemson scored two runs in the first inning, highlighted by Kris Harvey's run-scoring single. The Tigers held the lead until the eighth inning, when Mike Costanzo's RBI groundout tied the score 2-2. The Chanticleers, the home team, then won the game in the ninth. Costanzo also earned the win in relief. Four Tiger pitchers combined to allow just four hits, including two hits and one run by starter Robert Rohrbaugh. Clemson stranded 10 runners on base.

In game three, East Carolina scored 10 runs in the first five innings and cruised to a 10-0 victory on February 20. Mike Flye limited the Tigers to just three hits in 7.0 innings pitched to earn the win. Meanwhile, the Pirates, coached by former Tiger player and assistant coach Randy Mazey, had 13 hits, including at least one by nine different players. Tiger starter Kris Harvey suffered the loss, only the second of his career.

Number Nuance
Three Tiger freshmen started all three games at the Baseball at The Beach tourney. Brad Chalk, Stan Widmann, and Taylor Harbin started "up the middle," a rare occurrence for a trio of freshmen. Coincidentally, all three started at the same position (designated number) as their jersey number, as #8 Chalk started in centerfield, #6 Widmann started at shortstop, and #4 Harbin started at second base. All three were rated among the top-35 freshmen in the country by Baseball America in the preseason.

Newcomers Make Mark
A total of 19 Tigers who had yet to see action in the field in a Tiger uniform entering the season made the trip to this past weekend's tournament, and 15 saw action in at least one game. Of the 15 newcomers, six made at least one start in the field. Those six combined to make 15 out of a possible 24 position starts. The newcomers also had 56 of the 93 at-bats (60 percent).

Harbin Has Impressive Debut
Freshman infielder Taylor Harbin was the Tigers top hitter in the season-opening tourney at Myrtle Beach last weekend. In three games, he was 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles and three steals, while he did not commit an error in 12 chances in the field. The Travelers Rest, SC native batted second in the lineup in all three games behind leadoff batter and fellow true-freshman Brad Chalk.

Rohrbaugh Receiving Little Run Support
Junior lefthander Robert Rohrbaugh (Littlestown, PA) continued on February 19 where he left off last year, being the recipient of little run support. Against Coastal Carolina, he pitched 5.0 innings, allowing only one run on two hits. The Tigers, who were leading at the time of his departure, went on to fall to the Chanticleers 3-2, therefore Rohrbaugh did not factor in the decision.

Rohrbaugh, who was only 4-5 in 2004 despite being the team's most consistent starter, received the same lack of run support last year. In his 12 starts, he went at least 5.1 innings in all but two of his starts and allowed more than three earned runs on only three occasions, including a high of five. But Clemson scored just 59 runs in the 12 games in which he started, and most of those runs were scored long after Rohrbaugh had left the game and was not eligible for a victory. That equates to just 4.9 runs per game when Rohrbaugh made a start. The Tigers averaged 6.9 runs per game overall in 2004.

CUTigers.com Top Stories