Tigers Battle Catamounts

Clemson will finish a game that was halted last week against Western Carolina.

Clemson vs. Western Carolina
Clemson (21-14) will play host to Western Carolina (21-14) Tuesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM. However, the game between the two teams at Cullowhee, NC on April 12 was halted due to wet field conditions, therefore that game will be completed at Doug Kingsmore Stadium prior to the regularly-scheduled game and will resume at 5:00 PM. Clemson was leading 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when the game was suspended. If the suspended game ends after 6:45 PM, then the regularly-scheduled game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.

The Series
Clemson and Western Carolina have met 54 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 45-9 lead in the series that dates back to 1974. The two teams last played in 2004, an 8-7 come-from-behind Tiger victory. Clemson scored three runs in the ninth inning and was aided by a throwing error by pitcher Daniel Lindner in the final frame. On April 12, 2005, the two teams played in Cullowhee, NC, but the game was suspended due to wet field conditions with the Tigers ahead 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The two teams have played at least one game every year since 1978.

The Tigers lead 34-1 in games played at Clemson, all of which have been played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson's one loss came in the first game of the series, a 4-3 Catamount win on March 13, 1974, meaning the Tigers have won 34 straight games in the series at home.

Jack Leggett has a 19-4 record against the Catamounts as Clemson's head coach, including a 15-0 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Leggett was the head coach at Western Carolina from 1983-91 and won 302 games in nine seasons there. He was also 3-15 against the Tigers as the Catamount skipper.

The Starting Pitchers
Western Carolina will start junior lefthander Brandon McDowell (2-0, 8.53 ERA) on the mound Tuesday. The Franklin, NC native has made one start and seven relief appearances for a total of 12.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 13 hits and 12 walks while striking out nine, and has a save to his credit.

Clemson is tentatively scheduled to counter with freshman righty P.J. Zocchi (0-0) on Tuesday. The Bronx, NY native has not made an appearance in 2005 after missing most of 2004 with an arm injury. Zocchi, who earned a medical red-shirt last year, made one start and two relief appearances early in the 2004 season.

The Catamounts
Western Carolina, led by sixth-year Head Coach Todd Raleigh, enters Tuesday's game with a 21-14 overall record and 9-9 mark in the Southern Conference. Raleigh, who was a player at Western Carolina under Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett, led the Catamounts to an 8-5 win at top-ranked Georgia Tech on March 29. They have also played #7 Rice (twice), #18 College of Charleston (three times), and #23 Coastal Carolina (once). This past weekend, Western Carolina was swept at Furman.

The Catamounts are hitting .301 overall and are led by freshman Steven Strausbaugh, who is hitting .378 with seven homers and 31 RBIs, both team highs. Another freshman, Jonathan Greene, is hitting .363 with five homers and 28 RBIs. Two transfers from South Carolina are also hitting near .300, as Jared Greenwood (.319) and Trey McDaniel (.299) have performed well in the Catamount lineup. Western Carolina is fielding at a .960 clip as well.

Western Carolina has a 5.84 ERA and .314 opponents' batting average. The staff has struck out 227 against 102 walks in 305.1 innings pitched. The team has totaled 11 saves, as Brian McCullen and Clint Ramsey are tied for the team lead with three apiece. Six different Catamounts in all have at least one save.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the game against Western Carolina with a 21-14 overall record and 11-4 ACC mark. Last weekend, Clemson won two of three games over Virginia. Clemson has won six of its last seven games and is 14-5 at home this season.

The Tigers have upped their season batting average to .302 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 .320 this season. The team's hottest hitter is freshman centerfielder Brad Chalk, who is 24-for-50 (.480) in his last 16 games. He has raised his season average to a team-best .374 and has a .447 on-base percentage. The other two Tiger freshmen "up the middle" are also doing well at the plate, as Taylor Harbin (2B) is hitting .364 and Stan Widmann (SS) is hitting .295.

The pitching staff has a 3.50 ERA and .259 opponents' batting average. Virginia natives Stephen Faris (0.79 ERA) and Jeff Hahn (2.63 ERA) lead the Tigers in the ERA category. Clemson has yielded an ACC-low 11 long balls in 2005 and is fielding at a .974 clip.

Worth Noting
* Kris Harvey is 12-for-27 (.444) with six homers and 10 RBIs when batting as the pitcher. Harvey also has hit 11 home runs, while Clemson's opponents have combined for just 11 long balls all season. In ACC games, Harvey has hit seven homers to the opponents' three.

Tigers Win Two of Three Over Virginia
Clemson won two of three games over Virginia from April 15-17 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson won the first two games by scores of 13-4 and 3-2, while Virginia won game three 9-2. Clemson's infielder did not commit a single error in the field in the series. Tiger pitchers also allowed just three extra-base hits in the series.

In game one, Clemson the final 12 runs of the game after trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning to down Virginia 13-4 on April 15. Kris Harvey hit two solo homers, and earned the win on the mound by pitching 6.0 innings and allowing seven hits and three earned runs. It was the second time in 2005 that he hit two homers and earned a victory in a starting role in the same game. Clemson scored five runs in the sixth inning after the first two batters were retired, then scored seven runs in the seventh inning. The Tigers also turned four doubles plays, including three ground-ball double plays off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman.

In game two, Clemson scored two runs in the ninth inning to defeat Virginia 3-2 in front of 5,595 fans on April 16. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning on a bases loaded walk by Stan Widmann. But Virginia came right back and scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning. But the Tigers responded, totaling four singles in the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Colvin's RBI single tied the score, then Andy D'Alessio hit a walkoff single through the right side to win the game. Josh Cribb pitched a career-high 8.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, but did not factor in the decision. Virginia starter Mike Ballard faced the minimum through seven innings. Brad Chalk, Colvin, and Harvey each had two hits, combining for six of the Clemson's seven hits.

In game three, Virginia cruised to a 9-2 win on April 17. The Cavaliers totaled 13 hits to Clemson's seven. Virginia jumped out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. Jeff Kamrath shut down the Tiger bats, as he allowed two runs on five hits in 6.0 innings pitched to earn the win. Sean Doolittle hit a long home run and had three RBIs. Colvin and Adrian Casanova each had two hits. Robert Rohrbaugh suffered the loss, his first in an ACC game in 2005 after winning each of his first four ACC starts.

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