Top Ten Battle Ahead for Clemson

Clemson (17-7, 3-3 ACC), ranked as high as No. 9 in the country, will travel to the Sunshine State to take on No. 11 Miami (FL) (23-7, 8-1 ACC) in a three-game series at Mark Light Field this weekend.

It will be the Tigers' first-ever ACC series at Miami, who is in its second season as an ACC member. Game times are 7:00 PM (Friday), 7:00 (Saturday), and 1:00 (Sunday). All three games will be televised live by CSS and broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and Miami (FL) have met 39 times on the diamond, with the Hurricanes holding a 21-17-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1977 season. The series will be the first-ever meetings between the two at Miami as ACC members. Last season, Clemson won all four meetings, including three at Doug Kingsmore Stadium by scores of 15-5, 9-2, and 6-2, and one in the ACC Tournament at Jacksonville, FL by a score of 9-1. The Tigers outscored the Hurricanes 39-10 in those four games.

The two teams last played each other in Coral Gables in Miami's 2001 Super Regional, where the Hurricanes won both games (10-8, 14-6) to advance to the College World Series. That team went on to win the 2001 national title as well.

The Hurricanes hold a 11-6-1 lead all-time in games played at Miami, including winning seven of the last eight matchups there. Clemson holds a 3-0 advantage in games played in the ACC regular season. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 9-9 against Miami as Clemson's head coach, including a 1-4 record at Mark Light Field. He was also 0-1 against Miami as the head coach at Western Carolina, therefore is 9-10 all-time against the Hurricanes.

The Starting Pitchers
In game one, Miami will start sophomore righty Carlos Gutierrez (7-1, 1.65 ERA) on the mound. The Miami, FL native has made nine starts for a total of 54.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 40 hits (.203 opponents' batting average) and 18 walks with 44 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Josh Cribb (5-0, 1.82 ERA) on Friday. The Lake View, SC native has made five starts and one relief appearance for a total of 29.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 20 hits (.190 opponents' batting average) and eight walks with 30 strikeouts. Last season against the Hurricanes, he earned two victories in 16.0 innings pitched over two starts. He allowed just 13 hits, three earned runs, and one walk with 17 strikeouts.

In game two, the Hurricanes will send out sophomore lefthander Manny Miguelez (5-1, 1.91 ERA) on the mound. The Miami, FL native has made nine starts for a total of a team-high 61.1 innings pitched. He has yielded 42 hits (.192 opponents' batting average) and 12 walks with 51 strikeouts, and has the team's lone complete game.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Jason Berken (3-2, 2.45 ERA) on Saturday. The De Pere, WI native has made six starts for a total of 29.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 31 hits and 12 walks with 28 strikeouts.

In game three, Miami will start sophomore lefty Scott Maine (5-0, 2.10 ERA) on the mound. The Palm Beach Gardens, FL native has made six starts for a total of 34.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 21 hits (.181 opponents' batting average) and 13 walks with 25 strikeouts.

Clemson will start junior righthander Stephen Faris (2-0, 2.06 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native had made six starts for a total of 39.1 innings pitched. He has a .194 opponents' batting average, allowing 26 hits and seven walks with 34 strikeouts.

The Hurricanes
Miami (FL), led by 13th-year Head Coach Jim Morris, enters the weekend series against #9 Clemson with a 23-7 overall record and 8-1 ACC mark. The team has not played a game since winning two of three games at Maryland last weekend. The Hurricanes, who are 15-5 at home and have not played at Mark Light Field since March 15, have won 17 of their last 18 games since getting swept by #1 Florida from February 17-19 at home.

Miami is hitting .312 as a team with a .389 on-base percentage in 30 games. The Hurricanes have 34 sacrifice bunts and 46 stolen bases in 59 attempts. Perhaps their most remarkable stat is that they have outscored their opponents 33-1 in the third inning this season. They also are fielding at a .969 clip and have allowed just 12 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

Eddy Rodriguez leads the club with a .378 batting average, six homers, and 21 RBIs. Yonder Alonso has a team-high 39 RBIs along with 11 doubles, four homers, and a .358 batting average, while Danny Valencia is hitting .361. Jon Jay has a team-best 11 steals as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.35 ERA and .193 opponents' batting average. The starting rotation of righty Carlos Gutierrez, lefty Manny Miguelez, and lefty Scott Maine have combined for a 17-2 record, 1.86 ERA, and .194 opponents' batting average. Righty closer Chris Perez has a team-high seven saves in 16 relief appearances, and is a big reason Miami is 23-0 when leading after seven innings.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the weekend series at #11 Miami (FL) with a 17-7 overall record and 3-3 ACC mark after splitting a midweek, home-and-home series with #19 Georgia. The Tigers are 1-5 on the road and 7-3 against top-25 ranked teams as well.

As a team, Clemson is hitting .289 with a .371 on-base percentage. The team has 25 sacrifice bunts, including nine by Brad Chalk. He is one away from tying the Clemson career record in that category held by Casey Stone (1998-01).

Tyler Colvin leads the squad with a .368 batting average, eight doubles, six homers, 22 RBIs, and eight stolen bases. Herman Demmink is hitting .351 with a .450 on-base percentage and eight steals. Andy D'Alessio has added seven long balls and 28 RBIs as well, including five homers and 17 RBIs in the last seven games.

The pitching staff has a 3.08 ERA and .239 opponents' batting average. It has also allowed just 10 homers and 25 doubles in 24 games. Steve Richard has a team-best four saves, while Daniel Moskos has added two saves and a 1.71 ERA in a team-high 11 relief appearances. Freshman lefty Alex Martin has also given Clemson a boost recently, as he has not given up a run in 8.2 innings pitched this season. The Tigers sport a .969 fielding percentage as well.

Clemson has five players from the state of Florida who will make the trip to Miami. Adrian Casanova (Miami), Stephen Clyne (Parkland), Andy D'Alessio (Naples), Ben Hall (Ormond Beach), and Marquez Smith (Ocala) all hail from the Sunshine State. Casanova also transferred from Florida International in Miami, where he played three seasons (2002-04). The Tigers' athletic trainer, Graduate Assistant Pat Hassell, also hails from the Miami area and attended Coral Gables High School.

D'Alessio Likes 'Em Loaded
If you had to use one phrase to describe Andy D'Alessio, it might just be "run-producer." The junior first-baseman has had a knack for driving in runs in all kinds of situations. In the last seven games, he has five homers and 17 RBIs to up his season RBI total to a team-best 28 in 24 games. He has totaled 28 RBIs on only 30 hits. Last year saw him do the same, as he had 60 RBIs on only 58 hits.

But no stat can prove his value in producing runs more than his stats with the bases loaded. This season, he is 2-for-4 with a double, homer, and eight RBIs with the bases full. In 2005, he was 6-for-9 with two home runs and 18 RBIs with the bases loaded. Therefore in his career (2004-06), he is 10-for-19 with three homers and 33 RBIs with the bases full. Top Stories