Tigers Begin ACC Play

Clemson (11-3, 0-0 ACC), ranked as high as No. 2 in the country, will travel to Charlottesville, VA to take on Virginia (16-4, 1-2 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at UVa Baseball Stadium.

Clemson vs. Virginia
This will be the Tigers' first ACC series of the season, as Clemson is the only ACC school yet to play a conference series in 2006. Game times are 5:00 PM (Friday), 1:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games.

The Series
Clemson and Virginia have met 133 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 100-33 lead in the series dating back to the 1955 season. Last year at Clemson in the regular season, the Tigers won two of three games. But the Cavaliers won both meetings in the ACC Tournament. Two years ago in Charlottesville, 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. The Cavaliers have won six of the last eight games in the series after they had not won back-to-back games over the Tigers since 1974.

The Tigers hold a 39-19 lead all-time in games played at Virginia. Clemson also holds a 90-27 advantage in games played in the ACC regular season. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 29-13 against Virginia as Clemson's head coach, including a 12-6 record at UVa Baseball Stadium. No current Tiger has ever recorded a victory on the mound against the Cavaliers, however the weekend rotation of Josh Cribb, Jason Berken, and Stephen Faris have combined for a career 2.78 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched against Virginia.

The Starting Pitchers
In game one, Virginia will start sophomore lefthander Sean Doolittle (4-0, 1.16 ERA) on the mound. The Tabernacle, NJ native has made four starts and three relief appearances for a total of 23.1 innings pitched. He has allowed only 11 hits (.136 opponents' batting average) and five walks with 29 strikeouts. The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Josh Cribb (4-0, 0.96 ERA) on Friday. The Lake View, SC native has made three starts and one relief appearance for a total of 18.2 innings pitched. He has allowed nine hits and four walks with 14 strikeouts. In his last outing against #25 Kansas, he pitched 7.0 scoreless innings of one-hit ball to earn the victory.

In game two, the Cavaliers will send out freshman righthander Jacob Thompson (4-0, 2.01 ERA). The 6'6" native of Danville, VA has made five starts for a total of 31.1 innings pitched. He has yielded only 19 hits (.173 opponents' batting average) and seven walks with 27 strikeouts. The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Jason Berken (2-1, 2.70 ERA) on Saturday. The De Pere, WI native has made four starts for a total of 16.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 18 hits and six walks with 20 strikeouts.

In game three, Virginia will start senior lefty Mike Ballard (3-1, 1.93 ERA). The Virginia Beach, VA native has made five starts for a total of 28.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 26 hits and eight walks with 23 strikeouts. Clemson will counter with junior righthander Stephen Faris (1-0, 1.80 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native had made four starts for a total of 25.0 innings pitched. He has a .155 opponents' batting average, allowing 13 hits and five walks with 24 strikeouts. Against #25 Kansas last Sunday, he tied his career high with 10 strikeouts in a no decision.

The Cavaliers
Virginia, led by third-year Head Coach Brian O'Connor, enters the weekend series with a 16-4 overall record and 1-2 ACC mark. Virginia is coming off a 10-3 win over Dayton on Wednesday. The Cavaliers also lost two of three games at #1 Georgia Tech last weekend in their ACC series opener. Virginia is 11-1 at home as well. Virginia is hitting .356 as a team with a .438 on-base percentage and 37 stolen bases in 48 attempts in 20 games. Freshman Jeremy Farrell leads the squad with a .524 batting average, while Brandon Marsh is hitting .489. David Adams is hitting .390 with three homers and 19 RBIs, while Brandon Guyer is hitting .366 with a team-best 25 RBIs. Mike Mitchell and Greg Miclat are tied for the team lead with nine stolen bases apiece.

The pitching staff has a 2.64 ERA and .211 opponents' batting average. The staff also has a 3.23 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Lefty closer Casey Lambert has a team-high three saves in eight relief appearances. The team is fielding at a .971 clip as well.

The Tigers
Clemson enters its first ACC series of the season with an 11-3 overall record after defeating Gardner-Webb 10-5 on Wednesday. The Tigers are 1-1 on the road this season. The team is hitting .300 with a .385 on-base percentage and 16 stolen bases in 19 attempts through 14 games. Herman Demmink leads the club with a .404 batting average and .508 on-base percentage. Demmink is riding a team-season-long 10-game hitting streak. Taylor Harbin is hitting .400 with five doubles in just nine games. Marquez Smith has a team-high four multi-RBI games as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.09 ERA and .199 opponents' batting average. Steve Richard has all three of Clemson's saves, while lefty reliever Daniel Moskos has an 0.75 ERA in 12.0 innings pitched. Clemson is fielding at a .974 clip as well. The Tigers lead the ACC in both ERA and fielding percentage.

Two prominent Tiger starters will be playing in their home state of Virginia, including Demmink (Midlothian) and righthander Stephen Faris (Richmond).

Worth Noting
* In the last six games, the leadoff batter has reached base in 29 of the 49 innings (59 percent) in which Clemson has batted. That includes only reaching twice in a loss to #25 Kansas on March 11.

D'Alessio Coming of Age
Junior first-baseman Andy D'Alessio (Naples, FL) is 10-for-20 (.500) in the last five games to raise his season average to .327, third-best on the team. He also has five doubles, two homers, and 10 RBIs in 14 games. Like last year, D'Alessio struggled early in the season, but this year he is coming of age much earlier than last. His average was at .219 after nine games, but has raised it over 100 points in the last five games. He is also errorless in the field in 141 chances this season.

Tigers Explode to Top Gardner-Webb 10-5
Clemson used 17 hits to defeat Gardner-Webb 10-5 on March 15 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Herman Demmink was 2-for-3 with a leadoff homer and three RBIs, while Andy D'Alessio had a team-high three hits. Taylor Harbin added two doubles. The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to six runs on seven hits in the second inning. Clemson coasted the rest of the way, using seven pitchers in all. David Kopp started and went only 3.0 innings, but earned the win in a scheduled short start. Blake Lalli hit two homers, a double, and drove in four runs to lead the Bulldogs.

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