Clemson vs. Virginia Tech
After a week off for final exams, Clemson (28-18, 13-8 ACC) will travel to Blacksburg, VA to play at Virginia Tech (19-21, 4-13 ACC) in the first ever series as ACC foes. Game times are 1:00 PM (Sunday), 7:00 PM (Monday), and 7:00 PM (Tuesday). 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.
Clemson and Virginia Tech have met 39 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 19-18-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1902 season. The 2005 series will be the first ever as ACC foes, as the Hokies are in their first year in the conference. The two teams last faced each other in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in 1996. The Tigers won all three early-March games (8-4, 6-2, 4-0). Future Major League pitchers Ken Vining, Billy Koch, and Kris Benson all earned victories on the mound for the #5 Tigers, who committed just one error in the entire series.
Prior to the three games in 1996, the two last met in 1985 in a three-game series at Blacksburg. The two teams played to 4-4 tie in game one, then the Hokies won games two and three 14-7 and 20-6, respectively.
The Hokies hold a 10-2-1 lead over the Tigers all-time in games played at Virginia Tech. Perhaps the most important games ever played between the two came in 1954, when they faced off in a set of play-in games for the NCAA Tournament. On May 22, 1954, Virginia Tech downed Clemson 11-10. Two days later, the Hokies won 7-1 in Blacksburg to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 3-0 against the Hokies as Clemson's head coach, with those three games played at Clemson in 1996. He was 1-3 against the Hokies as Western Carolina's head coach, therefore is 4-3 against them in his career.
The Starting Pitchers
Virginia Tech will start junior lefthander Ryan Kennedy (5-5, 3.12 ERA) on the mound in game one Sunday. The Punta Gorda, FL native has made 11 starts and one relief appearance for a total of 78.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 75 hits and 36 walks while striking out 61. He has also allowed just two homers.
Clemson will counter with sophomore righty Stephen Faris (4-2, 2.33 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native has made four starts and 10 relief appearances for a total of 58.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 43 hits and 20 walks with 48 strikeouts. He also owns a .216 opponents' batting average. Faris and Kennedy are the only two pitchers in the ACC with two complete games.
The Hokies will send out sophomore righty Greg Fryman (2-1, 6.80 ERA) in game two. The Gibsonia, PA native has made six relief appearances and five starts for a total of 41.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 58 hits and 11 walks with 24 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Josh Cribb (3-4, 4.48 ERA) on Monday. The Lake View, SC native has made 10 starts and three relief appearances for a total of 66.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 83 hits and 17 walks with 60 strikeouts.
Virginia Tech will start senior righthander Jake Chaney (5-2, 5.13 ERA) in game three. The Blowing Rock, NC native has made seven relief appearances and six starts for a total of 54.1 innings pitched. He has yielded 66 hits and 23 walks with 44 strikeouts.
Clemson's starter for game three Tuesday has not been determined.
Virginia Tech is led by 27th-year Head Coach Chuck Hartman, who has won 937 games as the Hokie head coach. He also has won 1,420 career games in his 46th year as a head coach. That mark puts Hartman #4 on the all-time Division I coaching victory list.
The Hokies enter the series with a 19-21 overall record and 4-13 ACC mark after beating Campbell and Richmond in a pair of midweek games. Virgina Tech, who is 7-10 at home and 11-9 on opponents' home fields, won two of three games at Duke last weekend. The club has been good in close games, as it is 5-1 in one-run games and 3-1 in extra-inning games. The Hokies' magic number has been six, as they are 12-2 when scoring at least six runs and 7-19 when scoring five runs or less.
The team is hitting .277 overall, but is hitting .327 in its last six games. Bryan Thomas leads the squad with a .360 batting average and 14 doubles. Billy Marn is hitting .328 with a team-best six homers, while Jose Cueto is hitting .300 with a team-high 28 RBIs. Nate Parks (15-17) and Chris Stanton (13-17) are the team's top-two basestealing threats.
The pitching staff has a 5.45 ERA and .305 opponents' batting average. Virginia Tech has struck out 276 against 166 walks in 357.0 innings pitched. Freshman righthander Randy Buffington has a team-high three saves in 13 relief appearances and one start. The Hokie defense has also been solid of late. The team sports a .967 fielding percentage, but has not committed an error in the last four games.
Clemson enters the series against Virginia Tech with a 28-18 overall record and 13-8 ACC mark after falling twice in three games to #6 Georgia Tech last weekend. The Tigers, who have played 21 of their 46 games away from home, will play their next six games on the road, including series at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
The Tigers are in fourth place in the ACC entering this weekend's play. The squad also is 11-7 against top-25 ranked teams and has won 13 of its last 18 games after starting the season 15-13. Clemson is 9-10 on opponents' home fields as well.
Clemson is hitting .308 as a team and is led by junior third-baseman Herman Demmink. The Midlothian, VA native is hitting .378 with 11 doubles, four homers, and 28 RBIs to go along with a .446 on-base percentage from his leadoff spot. He is riding an 11-game hitting streak, while Travis Storrer is on a 10-game hitting streak. Kris Harvey has an ACC-best 17 homers along with 52 RBIs, while Taylor Harbin has hit 19 doubles, nine homers, and 51 RBIs.
The pitching staff has a 4.05 ERA and .269 opponents' batting average, and is led by Richmond, VA native Stephen Faris, who has a 2.33 ERA and .216 opponents' batting average in 58.0 innings pitched this season. The team is fielding at a .970 clip as well.
The team leader in batting average (Demmink) and ERA (Faris) are both Virginia natives that will return to their home state when the Tigers take on Virginia Tech. Jeff Hahn, who has the team's second-best ERA (3.16), is also a native of Virginia (Winchester).
Tigers Among National/ACC Leaders
Entering this week's play, Kris Harvey's 17-homer total is one behind the national leader of 18 held by Massachusetts' Jason Towmley. Harvey's 0.37 long balls per game ranks seventh in the country. Clemson is 24th in the nation in homers per game (1.17) and 24th in the nation in team fielding percentage (.970).
Among ACC leaders entering the weekend, Harvey leads the conference in homers, three ahead of second-place Ryan Braun (Miami (FL)), who has 14. Two other Tigers are in the top 10 in homers per game, including Andy D'Alessio (T-6th, 0.22) and Taylor Harbin (10th, 0.20).
Harbin is also third in doubles per game, while Tyler Colvin is sixth. Herman Demmink is eighth in batting average (.378), while Stephen Faris is fourth in ERA (2.33). Demmink's .437 batting average in ACC games is tied for second-best in the league as well.
Harvey Up for Player-of-the-Year Awards
Junior pitcher/DH Kris Harvey (Catawba, NC) was one of 40 players selected to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List and one of 64 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy in late April, which both go to the nation's top collegiate baseball player. Former Tiger great Khalil Greene won both awards in 2002. Earlier this season, Harvey was also selected to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list presented to the national player-of-the-year.
The versatile two-way player has an ACC-high 17 homers (including 10 in ACC games), eight doubles, and 52 RBIs to go along with a .351 batting average. He also is 5-3 with a 4.84 ERA as a starting pitcher, and has struck out 49 against 25 walks in 57.2 innings pitched over 11 starts.
Senior righthander Jeff Hahn (marketing), senior catcher Gene Pierce (civil engineering), and junior infielder Daniel Pritchard (marketing) will all receive their undergraduate degrees at commencement ceremonies in Littlejohn Coliseum on May 13.
#6 Georgia Tech Takes Two From Tigers
Georgia Tech, ranked as high as #6, won the first and third games of a three-game series over Clemson from April 29 - May 1 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson hit .345 in the series, but the Yellow Jackets hit .377. Travis Storrer was 6-for-11 (.545) with four RBIs, while Herman Demmink was 7-for-13 (.538) with four RBIs. Andy D'Alessio also added two homers and four RBIs, while the Tiger defense turned eight double plays in the series.
In game one, Georgia Tech rallied from an early 8-1 deficit to outslug the Tigers 18-14 on April 29. Georgia Tech totaled 21 hits, including multi-hit games by seven different players. Matt Wieters grand slam highlighted the Yellow Jackets' eight-run sixth inning that gave them the lead for good. Wieters also pitched 2.0 innings to earn the save. Kris Harvey, D'Alessio, and Stan Widmann all hit homers, while D'Alessio and Widmann each had three RBIs apiece. It was the first time in 16 games all season that the Tigers hit multiple long balls and lost. Clemson also had four sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly in the game.
In game two, Clemson scored three runs with two outs in the ninth inning to top the Yellow Jackets 6-5 on April 30. Trailing 5-3 in the ninth inning, pinch-hitter Ben Hall popped up the potential game-ending out, but first-baseman Whit Robbins bumped into catcher Andy Hawranick, allowing the ball to fall safely. Hall later singled, and Demmink and Brad Chalk followed with singles. Then with the bases loaded, Taylor Harbin's two-run single through the left side plated the tying and winning runs. Demmink led the Tigers with three hits, while D'Alessio added a long home run in the fifth inning. Reliever Stephen Clyne retired the only batter he faced and recorded the victory. Reliever David Kopp pitched 3.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts to hold the Yellow Jackets in check.
In game three, Georgia Tech scored six runs in the first five innings and held on for a 6-4 win on May 1. Clemson out-hit the Yellow Jackets 12-10, but left 11 runners on base. Harbin and Storrer each had a game-high three hits, while Demmink added two hits and two RBIs. Relievers Chris Fidrych, P.J. Zocchi, and Daniel Moskos combined to allow just two runs in the final 6.2 innings to keep the Tigers in the game. Georgia Tech walked seven times, while Clemson walked just twice. Wes Hodges had two hits and three RBIs to lead the Yellow Jackets, who hit 10 singles.
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