Tigers Battle Wahoos

Clemson (19-13, 9-3 ACC), who is tied for third place in the ACC standings (according to winning percentage), will play host to Virginia (24-11, 5-8 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 7:15 PM (Friday), 4:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday).

Clemson vs. Virginia
Clemson (19-13, 9-3 ACC), who is tied for third place in the ACC standings (according to winning percentage), will play host to Virginia (24-11, 5-8 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 7:15 PM (Friday), 4:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by 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.

The Series
Clemson and Virginia have met 128 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 98-30 lead in the series dating back to the 1955 season. Last year at Virginia, the Cavaliers swept the three-game series by a combined score of 12-5. It was the first time Virginia won at least two games of a three-game, regular-season series since 1972. Two years ago at Clemson, the Tigers won two of three games.

The Tigers hold a 49-7 lead over the Cavaliers all-time in games played at Clemson and a 37-5 lead in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson also holds a 88-26 advantage in games played in the ACC regular season. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 27-10 against Virginia as Clemson's head coach, including a 13-2 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Starting Pitchers
Virginia will start junior righthander Matt Avery (4-2, 3.80 ERA) in game one Friday. The McLean, VA native has made eight starts for a total of 45.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 40 hits and 18 walks while striking out 41.

Clemson will counter with junior righty Kris Harvey (4-1, 3.94 ERA) in game one. The Catawba, NC native has made eight starts for a total of 45.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 45 hits and 15 walks while striking out 42. The Cavaliers will send out junior lefthander Mike Ballard (5-3, 3.92 ERA) in game two Saturday. The Virginia Beach, VA native has made nine starts for a total of 57.1 innings pitched, meaning he is averaging over 6.1 innings pitched per start. He has allowed 56 hits and only nine walks with 32 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Josh Cribb (2-4, 3.83 ERA) in game two. The Lake View, SC native has made eight starts and one relief appearance for a total fo 47.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 62 hits and 11 walks while striking out 45, good for a 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In game three Sunday, Virginia will start fifth-year senior and righthander Jeff Kamrath (5-3, 2.40 ERA). The Houston, TX native who missed all of last season with an arm injury, is in the top 10 in the ACC in ERA. In 56.1 innings pitched over eight starts and one relief appearance, he has allowed 37 hits and 18 walks while striking out 44. His .192 opponents' batting average is also among the ACC leaders.

Clemson will send out junior lefty Robert Rohrbaugh (4-1, 4.17 ERA) in game three. The Littlestown, PA native has made seven starts and two relief appearances for a total of 41.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 45 hits and 19 walks while striking out 33. He is also 4-0 with a 3.12 ERA in four ACC starts.

The Cavaliers
Virginia, led by second-year Head Coach Brian O'Connor, enters the weekend series with a 24-11 overall record and 5-8 ACC mark. This past weekend, N.C. State won two of three games in Charlottesville over the Cavaliers, who are in eighth place in the ACC standings. The Cavaliers, who are 20-3 at home and 4-8 on the road, have already played three games this week. They defeated Norfolk State 13-1 on Tuesday, and beat Maryland-Eastern Shore twice (15-1, 6-0) in two seven-inning games on Wednesday.

Virginia is hitting .295 as a team, and is led by All-America candidate and infielder Ryan Zimmerman. The Virginia Beach, VA native is hitting .431 with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers, and 44 RBIs. He has walked 17 times and struck out just six times. He also sports a .494 on-base percentage, 12 steals in 13 attempts, 20 multi-hit games, and a solid .955 fielding percentage. Freshman first-baseman Sean Doolittle leads the team with seven homers as well.

The Cavaliers use speed and defense to their advantage. The team has stolen 48 bases and has been hit by a pitch 51 times. They are also among the ACC leaders in fielding percentage at .974, as they have committed only 35 errors in 35 games. Catcher Scott Headd has allowed only 13 stolen bases in 31 attempts, but he did not make the trip to Clemson due to a finger injury he sustained on Wednesday.

The pitching staff has a 2.78 ERA and .223 opponents' batting average. Their ERA entering this week's action was ninth-best in the nation. Among their 24 victories this year are a school-record nine shutouts. They have threw just 12 wild pitches and walked 92 batters against 234 strikeouts in 310.2 innings pitched, meaning they have an excellent 2.7 walks per nine innings pitched mark. Lefty closer Casey Lambert has eight saves and a 1.54 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the weekend series against Virginia with a 19-13 overall record and 9-3 ACC mark, and have won four games in a row. Last weekend, Clemson swept Duke in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. On Tuesday, the game at Western Carolina was halted with the Tigers ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The game is scheduled to be completed on Tuesday at 5:00 PM. The Tigers also defeated #4 South Carolina 12-2 on Wednesday. The Tigers, whose last seven losses have been by a combined 10 runs, are 12-4 at home in 2005.

Clemson is on a four-game winning streak. In those four games, the Tigers have outscored the opposition 48-17. The team is also hitting .364, and has totaled 12 doubles and nine homers in the last four games.

The Tigers have upped their season batting average to .299 thanks to the hot bats. However, if you just take into account Clemson's nine regular starters (see page one of the notes), those nine players have combined to hit .319 this season. The team's hottest hitter is freshman centerfielder Brad Chalk, who is 21-for-39 (.538) in his last 13 games. He has raised his season average to a team-best .388 and has a .462 on-base percentage. The other two Tiger freshmen "up the middle" are also doing well at the plate, as Taylor Harbin (2B) is hitting .374 and Stan Widmann (SS) is hitting .298.

The pitching staff has a 3.42 ERA and .256 opponents' batting average. The staff also has a 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched mark, the best figure since the 1996 staff (9.69) that had the likes of Kris Benson, Billy Koch, and Ken Vining. Clemson has yielded an ACC-low 10 long balls in 2005 as well.

Three Tigers are from the state of Virginia, including third-baseman Herman Demmink (Midlothian), righthander Stephen Faris (Richmond), and righthander Jeff Hahn (Winchester).

Sacrifices Leading to Runs
Clemson already has more sacrifice bunt this season (26) than it did all of last year (25). And recently, those sacrifice bunts have led directly to runs. Through the first 22 games, a Tiger sacrificed a runner to second base 14 times. But those runners only scored five times. But in the last 10 games, all 11 Tigers who have been moved to second on a sacrifice bunt have ended up scoring. Also, all eight times this season that a runner has been sacrificed to third base, he has ended up scoring.

Faris Wheeling & Dealing Complete Games
Stephen Faris pitched back-to-back complete games in his last two starts, becoming the first Tiger to do that since 2000 (Ryan Mottl). Clemson had just one complete game each of the last three seasons. And he did that against two teams that played in the 2004 College World Series. Against Georgia on April 6, he allowed five hits, one earned run, and three walks while striking out eight. Then a week later on April 13, he shut down #4 South Carolina, who was coming off a three-game sweep at #6 Louisiana State, in another complete-game five-hitter. This time the Tigers were victorious, as Faris allowed two runs and one walk while striking out seven. He became the first Tiger to pitch a complete game against the Gamecocks since 1997 (Matt White). His performance was a big reason the Tigers snapped the Gamecocks' nine-game winning streak.

Tigers Topple #4 South Carolina 12-2 Wednesday
Clemson hit four homers and broke #4 South Carolina's nine-game winning streak with a 12-2 win on April 13 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Travis Storrer, Kris Harvey, Tyler Colvin, and Taylor Harbin each hit long balls. Stephen Faris pitched his second-straight complete game, becoming the first Tiger to do that since 2000 (Ryan Mottl). It was also the first complete game by a Tiger pitcher against the Gamecocks since 1997 (Matt White). Faris allowed just two runs, five hits, and one walk while striking out seven. Every Tiger starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run. Brad Chalk had a game-high three hits in four at-bats, while Harbin added five RBIs.

CUTigers.com Top Stories