Tigers Head to Jacksonville

Clemson (43-13, 24-6 ACC), the No. 1 seed, will play No. 8-seed Wake Forest (33-20, 16-13 ACC) Wednesday at 7:00 PM in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The games will be played at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (FL). It is the second year the ACC Baseball Tournament will be held at Jacksonville.

The winner of Clemson's first-round game will play the winner of the Georgia Tech-Miami game. The winners' bracket game will be at 7:00 PM on Thursday. The loser of Clemson's first-round game will play the loser of the aforementioned game on Thursday at 1:00 PM.

All of Clemson's ACC Tournament games will be broadcast live on the radio by the Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and Wake Forest have met 155 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 111-43-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1901 season. The two teams closed their regular seasons last weekend with a series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers swept the three-game set by a combined score of 39-4.

Clemson has won 15 games in a row in the series since Wake Forest's 4-2 win at Clemson in 2002. The Tigers hold a 11-4 advantage over Wake Forest all-time in ACC Tournament games. The two teams last played in the tourney in 2002 in Saint Petersburg, FL, an 8-6 Clemson win.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 32-11 against the Demon Deacons as Clemson's head coach, including a 2-2 mark in the ACC Tournament. Leggett was also 1-1 against the Demon Deacons as the head coach at Western Carolina, meaning he has a 33-12 all-time record against Wake Forest.

The Starting Pitchers
The Demon Deacons will start sophomore lefthander Eric Niesen (3-1, 4.17 ERA) on the mound Wednesday. The New Boston, MI native has made eight starts and 13 relief appearances for a total of 54.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 44 hits (.214 opponents' batting average) and 32 walks with 45 strikeouts. He suffered his first loss in over a year against the Tigers on Friday, as he allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings pitched.

The Tigers will counter with sophomore righty P.J. Zocchi (5-0, 3.06 ERA) on Wednesday. The Bronx, NY native has made six starts and eight relief appearances (50.0 innings pitched). He has yielded 48 hits and 22 walks with 54 strikeouts. In his last outing against #21 College of Charleston on May 16, he pitched the best game of his career. He pitched 8.2 innings, allowing five hits, no runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts to earn the win. He has faced the Demon Deacons just once. In 2005, he allowed two hits and three runs in 0.2 innings pitched in relief in Winston-Salem.

The Demon Deacons
Wake Forest, led by second-year Head Coach Rick Rembielak, enters the tournament with a 33-20 overall record and 16-13 ACC mark after suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of #3 Clemson last weekend. Wake Forest finished in a three-way tie for second place in the Atlantic Division standings with Florida State and N.C. State at 16-13. The team is 10-13 in its last 23 games after starting the season 23-7.

The Demon Deacons are hitting .275 as a team with a .373 on-base percentage and 60 stolen bases in 75 attempts. They have a high on-base percentage thanks to 226 walks and 78 hit-by-pitches. They also have 101 doubles and 50 home runs in 53 games.

Brendan Enick is hitting .333, while Matt Antonelli is also hitting .333 with 18 doubles, 11 homers, 38 RBIs, a .439 on-base percentage, and 15 stolen bases. Allan Dykstra, a candidate for national freshman-of-the-year, is hitting .331 with 17 doubles, 14 homers, 55 RBIs, and a .488 on-base percentage thanks to 51 walks and 12 hit-by-pitches.

Wake Forest has a 4.55 ERA and .273 opponents' batting average. The staff also has 378 strikeouts, but has issued 227 walks in 476.1 innings pitched. Reliever Kyle Young has a 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances.

Sophomore closer Ben Hunter, a transfer from Furman, has a 1.36 ERA and 14 saves in 32 relief appearances (53.0 innings pitched). Hunter also has a .190 opponents' batting average and 67 strikeouts against 17 walks. Wake Forest sports a .964 fielding percentage as well.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the ACC Tournament with a 43-13 overall record and 24-6 ACC mark after sweeping #22 Wake Forest last weekend. Clemson finished in first place in the ACC regular-season standings with a 24-6 mark, as the 24 league wins were the most in a season in Tiger history. Clemson has won 15 games in a row and won its last 13 ACC games to earn the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament.

The team, who is 20-6 against top-25 ranked teams, is hitting .304 with a .377 on-base percentage and 77 stolen bases in 95 attempts. Clemson also has 117 doubles, 14 triples, and 67 home runs along with 44 sacrifice bunts in 56 games. The Tigers sport a .970 fielding percentage as well.

Tyler Colvin is riding a 15-game hitting streak and hitting a team-best .354 with 12 homers, 58 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. All nine Tiger regulars in the field are hitting between .285 and .354. Chalk is second on the team at .339 with a school-record 18 sacrifice bunts, while Andy D'Alessio is hitting .324 with 20 homers and 71 RBIs.

Starting rightfielder Travis Storrer, who is hitting .321 with nine homers and 45 RBIs, suffered a sprained foot in the regular-season finale on Saturday. He is listed as doubtful for Wednesday's game. Freshman D.J. Mitchell, who is hitting .267 in 38 games (six starts), would be the probable starter in Storrer's place.

The pitching staff has a 3.02 ERA and .241 opponents' batting average. Lefty Daniel Moskos has nine of the team's 15 saves. In Clemson's last 17 games (16-1 record), Tiger relievers have combined for 55.1 innings pitched, allowing 33 hits (.176 opponents' batting average), two earned runs (0.33 ERA), and 12 walks with 57 strikeouts.

Clemson's ACC Tournament History
Clemson has won eight ACC Tournaments in history, more than any other school. This is the 33rd ACC Baseball Tournament and Clemson has been to the finals in 20 of the previous 32 tournaments, 10 more than any other school. Clemson has a 91-51 record in ACC Tournament games. The Tigers also have the most All-ACC Tournament players (44).

While Clemson has had unique success in the ACC Tournament, the Tigers will be looking for their first championship since 1994. That was Jack Leggett's first year as Clemson's head coach. Clemson defeated Florida State 4-1 in the championship game held in Greenville (SC) Municipal Stadium.

Leggett has been on the field to accept the championship trophy twice, however. In 1993, then Head Coach Bill Wilhelm was suspended for the championship game. Leggett, then the top assistant for the Tigers, was in charge for that 1993 championship game, an 11-7 win over N.C. State. Clemson's eight tournament titles came in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1994. Wilhelm is credited with the first seven tournament championships.

Clemson has been a consistent team in tournament play. The Tigers have won at least two tournament games in 29 of their previous 32 appearances. The only years Clemson did not win at least two games were 1998 (0-2), 2001 (1-2), and 2003 (0-2). While Clemson has not won the title since 1994, Clemson has been to the championship round five of the last 11 years.

Only 11 times in the 32-year history has a #1 seed won the tournament. Clemson has done it five times, Georgia Tech three times, and North Carolina twice. Clemson last won the tournament as the #1 seed in 1994, the last time Clemson won the tourney. The Tigers' last time as the #1 seed in the tournament came in 1995.

The Tigers have won the ACC Tournament with a perfect record five times. Clemson was 3-0 in 1976 and 1978 in winning both events at Clemson, then had a 4-0 record in winning the title in Raleigh in 1980. Clemson's only other perfect run through the tournament came in 1991, when a Clemson team that won a record 60 games had a 5-0 mark in the ACC Tournament held in Greenville, SC.

This will be the fourth time the tournament has been held in the state of Florida, as the 1997 and 2002 events were held at Saint Petersburg, FL, and the 2005 tourney was held at Jacksonville. The 2007 and 2008 tournaments will also be held at Jacksonville, while the 2009 tourney is scheduled to be played at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.

Clemson has a winning record against every ACC team (excluding Boston College and Virginia Tech, who have not faced the Tigers in the event) in tournament play with the exception of Florida State. Clemson is 7-10 against the Seminoles in the event. The Tigers are 8-3 against Duke, 11-8 versus Georgia Tech, 12-0 versus Maryland, 1-0 against Miami (FL), 15-11 against North Carolina, 16-9 against N.C. State, 10-6 versus Virginia, and 11-4 versus Wake Forest. That computes to a 91-51 record and a 64.1-percent winning mark. Only Florida State (69.4) has a better winning percentage than Clemson in ACC Tournament play.

Clemson was the dominant team when the ACC Tournament was played in Greenville from 1987-95. In those nine tournaments, Clemson posted a 36-12 record, won the event four times, and finished second on two other occasions. Clemson won at least three games in eight of the nine tournaments held in Greenville.

The success was reflected in the attendance. Eight of the top nine ACC tournament crowds in history were held in Greenville, including 43,675 fans that attended the 1992 event.

The ACC Tournament began in 1973 and has been held every year but one since then. In 1979, Clemson won the regular-season title and was declared conference champion. The tournament was not held because of a scheduling conflict between school exam schedules and the tournament. Clemson has been the declared conference champion 13 times in its history, more than any other school.

ACC Regular-Season Champions
Clemson captured the ACC regular-season title for both the entire ACC and Atlantic Division with a 24-6 league mark in 2006. The Tigers won 24 of their last 27 ACC games after getting swept at Virginia to open their conference season. It was Clemson's first ACC regular-season title since 1995 and was the 21st in the 53rd year of the ACC's existence.

The Tigers won their final 13 ACC regular-season games after having an 11-6 mark at one point. Clemson also finished its home league schedule with a perfect 15-0 record. And since it won the last three home ACC games of 2005 (against Miami (FL)), Clemson has won 18 home league games in a row.

Clemson Sets School Record for Top-25 Wins
As stated earlier, Clemson has a 20-6 record against top-25 ranked teams in 2006. The 76.9-percent winning mark is a school record for winning percentage against top-25 foes. That 76.9 winning percentage is far ahead of the 67.9 winning percentage of the 2005 team that posted an 19-9 record against top-25 teams.

The 2006 team also set the school record for top-25 wins in a season. The 1994 team, Jack Leggett's first at Clemson, had a 19-12 record against ranked teams, his 2002 team was 19-13 against top-25 foes, and the 2005 team was 19-9.

15-Game Winning Streak
Since suffering a narrow 3-2 loss at Boston College in the first game of a doubleheader on April 22, Clemson has reeled off 15 wins in a row to improve to 43-13 on the season. The streak is the longest current streak in the nation and is Clemson's longest since winning 15 games in a row in 1996. It is also tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in Tiger history.

In the last 15 games, Clemson is hitting .350 as a team, including .389 with runners in scoring position. Eight of the nine regulars in the field are hitting .326 or better. The team has outscored its opponents 136-27 and totaled 28 homers, while its opponents have a .202 batting average and just one homer. Therefore Clemson has hit more home runs (28) than its opponents' run total (27) in the last 15 games. The pitching staff has a 1.39 ERA and 126 strikeouts against only 30 walks (4.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio) in the last 15 games as well.

Tyler Colvin has hit safely in all 15 games, and is hitting .462 with five doubles, five homers, and 25 RBIs during the streak. Marquez Smith is hitting .407 with eight doubles, six homers, and 18 RBIs, while Andy D'Alessio has eight homers and 19 RBIs in the last 15 games.

Clemson's Double-Digit ACC Winning Streaks
After starting the ACC schedule suffering a three-game sweep at Virginia, Clemson reeled off 10 conference wins in a row. The three series sweeps came against #12 N.C. State, #11 Miami (FL), and Maryland, and the 10th win came at #10 Georgia Tech.

Following the first 10-game, ACC winning streak, the Tigers lost three of their next four league games. But for the rest of the regular season, Clemson has won 13 ACC games in a row, giving the Tigers two double-digit, ACC winning streaks in the same season, a first in school history. Clemson's 24 ACC regular-season wins in 2006 were also the most in a season by a Tiger team, besting the 2005 team's 21 ACC regular-season wins.

Only six times in ACC history has a team had a longer conference winning streak than Clemson's current 13-game streak. Three of those six were accomplished by a Tiger team, including a 21-game streak from 1987 to 1988. The record for consecutive ACC wins is 25, set by Georgia Tech from 2004 to 2005.

Fielding Near Record Pace
The five-highest team fielding percentages by a Tiger team have occurred in the last six years, including the record of .971 in 2002. Last season, Clemson fielded at a .968 clip. The high percentages are a testament to the countless hours Head Coach Jack Leggett and the players spend on fielding, whether during practice or on the players' own time. This season is no different. Clemson has committed 65 errors in 56 games, good for a .970 fielding percentage.

D'Alessio a Dick Howser Trophy Semi-Finalist
Junior first-baseman Andy D'Alessio (Naples, FL) was named one of 16 semi-finalists for the 2006 Dick Howser Trophy on May 18. The award goes to the nation's top college baseball player. In 56 games this season, he is hitting .324 with 20 home runs and 71 RBIs, and has committed just one error in the field. He joins fellow ACC players Andrew Miller (North Carolina) and Shane Robinson (Florida State) on the semi-final list.

Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, moral character, and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser's life. Howser was a player and coach at Florida State before becoming a manager in the Major Leagues with the Kansas City Royals. He died in 1987 of brain cancer. Former Tigers Kris Benson (1996) and Khalil Greene (2002) also won the award.

Colvin Goes Off Against Wake Forest
Tyler Colvin put up some remarkable numbers in Clemson's record-setting 26-1 win over #22 Wake Forest on May 18. He went 5-for-7 with two homers, a double, and eight RBIs. Therefore he had 12 total bases on the evening.

He hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a run-scoring single in the third, a two-run double in the fourth, another two-run homer in the sixth, and a run-scoring, infield single in the eighth. He drove in a run with all five of his hits. Head Coach Jack Leggett most likely would have put a sub in the game in place of Colvin, but Leggett had exhausted every available position player off the bench by the sixth inning, allowing Colvin to make seven plate appearances.

In the next two games, he was perfect at the plate in each game. In game two of the series, he was 4-for-4 with a homer, four RBIs, and a stolen base. Then in the series finale, he was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, two walks, and two stolen bases. From his last at-bat of game one to the end of the series, he was 7-for-7 with two walks, therefore he also reached base in his last nine plate appearances.

Cribb 9-0
Graduate righthander Josh Cribb is a perfect 9-0 in 13 starts and one relief appearance in 2006. Only three other Tiger pitchers in history have won more games without a loss in a single season. Cribb has also won 15 of his last 16 decisions since April of 2005.

Tigers Score 39 Runs in Sweep of Wake Forest
Clemson, ranked #3 in the nation, swept #22 Wake Forest by a combined score of 39-4 in three games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from May 18-20. The Tigers out-hit the Demon Deacons .388 to .211, and totaled eight doubles and eight homers, while Wake Forest hit just three extra-base hits (all doubles) in the series. Clemson also stole six bases in six attempts, committed just one error, and allowed just one earned run (0.33 ERA) and one walk with 21 strikeouts. Tyler Colvin was 11-for-13 (.846) with six runs scored, a double, three homers, 14 RBIs, and three stolen bases in the series, while Stan Widmann and Brad Chalk added six hits apiece.

In game one, Clemson totaled 25 hits, including seven home runs, in a 26-1 victory over Wake Forest on May 18. The Tigers' 26 runs were the most in a game since a 41-9 victory at N.C. State in 1979. Clemson, who had 12 extra-base hits, scored seven runs in the fourth, four in the sixth, six in the seventh, and five in the eighth. Colvin and Andy D'Alessio each hit two home runs, while Ben Hall, Alex Burg, and Doug Hogan all came off the bench to hit long balls. Colvin was also 5-for-7 with eight RBIs, while Hogan added four RBIs. Eight different Tigers had at least two hits, and seven had at least two RBIs. Stephen Faris faced the minimum in 6.0 innings pitched, allowing two hits with four strikeouts to earn the win.

In game two, Colvin went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs to lead Clemson to a 6-0 victory over Wake Forest on May 19. With the win, Clemson clinched the ACC regular-season title for the first time since 1995. Colvin's three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning gave the Tigers a comfortable cushion. The Tigers held a 3-0 lead after scoring single runs in the first three innings. Wake Forest got leadoff singles in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but failed to score each time thanks in part to double plays in two of the innings. Josh Cribb pitched 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing six hits and no walks with four strikeouts to earn the win. Cribb, David Kopp, and Daniel Moskos combined to face just four batters over the minimum in the game.

In game three, Clemson scored seven runs in the first three innings and held on for a 7-3 win over Wake Forest on May 20. Colvin went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two walks, while Travis Storrer was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs on Senior Day before leaving the game with a sprained foot. The Tigers used six pitchers, as starter Jason Berken earned the win in 3.2 innings pitched in a scheduled short start. The six combined for 10 strikouts against only one walk and did not allow an earned run. There were two weather delays that totaled two hours and 41 minutes.

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