No. 1 Tigers Open with George Mason

Clemson (0-0), ranked as high as No. 1 in the nation, will open its 2007 schedule when it plays host to George Mason (0-0) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Game times are 4:00 PM (Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 12:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live on the internet at WCCPFM.com. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games.

The Series
Clemson and George Mason have met six times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 6-0 lead in the series dating back to the 1995 season.

The two teams met in three-game series during both the 1995 and 1999 seasons at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson earned sweeps in both series. In six games, the Tigers have outscored the Patriots 86-11.

The Starting Pitchers
In game one, George Mason will start junior righthander J.J. Pannell on the mound. The Springfield, VA native had a 2-5 record and 7.61 ERA in nine starts and six relief appearances over 62.2 innings pitched in 2006. He also struck out 51 against 34 walks.

The Tigers will counter with junior righty P.J. Zocchi on Friday. The Bronx, NY native had a 6-0 record and 2.81 ERA in seven starts and 11 relief appearances over 67.1 innings pitched in 2006. He struck out 66 against 26 walks as well.

In game two, the Patriots will send out sophomore lefthander Mike Modica on the mound. The Sewell, NJ native had a 3-3 record and 7.97 ERA in eight relief appearances and five starts over 49.2 innings pitched in 2006. He also struck out 22 with 34 walks.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander David Kopp on Saturday. The Margate, FL native had a 6-2 record and 4.32 ERA in 13 relief appearances and seven starts over 58.1 innings pitched during the 2006 season. He struck out 46 and walked 21 as well.

In game three, George Mason will start freshman righthander Ryan Brecko on the mound.

Clemson will counter with sophomore lefty Ryan Hinson on Sunday. The Rock Hill, SC native had a 4-0 record and 3.82 ERA in 18 relief appearances and one start over 30.2 innings pitched in 2006. He also struck out 31 with 18 walks.

The Patriots
The Patriots are led by 26th-year Head Coach Bill Brown and have yet to play a game this year. They are coming off a 2006 season with a 20-31 overall record and 12-18 record in the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Junior catcher Jason Bour is the leading returning hitter in terms of batting average. The Centreville, VA native hit .313 with two homers and 20 RBIs a season ago. He is one of just 12 returning lettermen on the 2007 club, as the Patriots lost 15 from 2006. The 2007 squad has no seniors as well.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the season-opening series against George Mason ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. The Tigers are coming off a 53-16 season in 2006 when it played in the College World Series for the 11th time in history.

One Tiger hails from the state of Virginia, but will not play. Graham Stoneburner, a Richmond, VA native, is a freshman utility player who will miss the 2007 season due to a torn ACL suffered in the preseason.

Tigers Picked to Finish First in ACC By Coaches
Clemson was picked to finish first in the ACC by the 12 league coaches in the preseason. The Tigers received nine first-place votes to win the entire ACC regular-season title, while Georgia Tech had two and Virginia had one.

The Tigers were also tabbed to win the ACC Atlantic Division title with 11 first-place votes and 71 points, ahead of Florida State (one first-place vote), N.C. State, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Maryland. North Carolina was picked to win the ACC Coastal Division with 60 points, ahead of Miami (FL), Virginia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Duke.

Four Tigers Named Preseason All-American
Four Tigers were named to at least one preseason All-America team. Senior first-baseman Andy D'Alessio was named first-team All-American by NCBWA and Collegiate Baseball. Junior second-baseman Taylor Harbin was tabbed with second-team honors by Baseball America and third-team honors by Collegiate Baseball. Junior outfielder Brad Chalk was tabbed with first-team All-America honors by Baseball America. Junior lefthander Daniel Moskos also received second-team accolades by NCBWA, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Polls
Clemson moved to the No. 1 spot in the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball polls on Monday, replacing Rice in the top spot after it went 1-3 in four games last week. There will not be another Sports Weekly poll until later this month, as Clemson was ranked #2 in its preseason poll.

It is also the 20th week the Tigers have been ranked No. 1 by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack Leggett's 14th season at Clemson. Moving to the nation's top spot in the polls is not unique to Tiger baseball. In 2006, Clemson was ranked No. 2 in Baseball America's preseason poll, but moved to No. 1 in its poll on February 6 and opened the season on February 17 against James Madison with that ranking.

Clemson 26-9 Against Top-25 Teams in 2006
Clemson had a 26-9 record against top-25 teams in 2006. In 13 years at Clemson, Head Coach Jack Leggett has 173 wins over teams ranked in the top 25. Only three times in his first 13 years has he had a losing record against teams in the top 25.

Tigers Tough to Beat at Clemson
Clemson has been tough to beat historically at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and that was the case in 2006. Clemson was 36-5 at home, an 87.8 winning percentage in the friendly confines. Clemson hit .318 in the 41 games at home, with a 51-17 advantage in home runs over the opposition and a .505 slugging percentage to just .301 for the opposition. Clemson had a .976 fielding percentage at home, and stole 72-86 bases, an 83.7-percent success rate.

Clemson had great balance on offense at home in 2006, with eight of the nine starting position players hitting .313 or better. Brad Chalk led the way with a .371 batting average at home, while Tyler Colvin batted .369 and Taylor Harbin hit .361. Andy D'Alessio led the team in home runs at home with 11 long balls and 51 RBIs, while Colvin hit eight homers with 45 RBIs.

Clemson's pitching was outstanding in posting the 36-5 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson's opponents hit just .225 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and the Tiger pitching staff had a 2.52 ERA for the 41 games. The opposition had a 7.08 ERA against the Tiger offense.

Clemson's starting pitching was nothing short of incredible at home. Weekend starters Stephen Faris, Jason Berken, and Josh Cribb were a combined 21-0 at home with a 1.89 ERA. They combined to allow just 16 extra-base hits, including only five home runs, in 617 combined opponent at-bats.

Cribb was 8-0 at home with a 2.38 ERA. Faris was 7-0 with a 1.41 ERA and a .183 opponent batting average. Berken was 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA, and allowed just two extra-base hits.

Clemson was 36-5 at home, but all five of the losses came against non-conference teams. Clemson was a perfect 15-0 at home in the ACC, the first time the Tigers had a perfect league mark at home since 1988, when Bill Wilhelm's Tigers were 11-0 at home in the ACC. Clemson's 36 wins at home were the most since the 2002 team had a 36-9 home record.

Clemson has an all-time record of 892-199 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, an 81.8 winning percentage. The Tigers are 290-60 in home ACC games over the years in the facility as well. Doug Kingsmore Stadium was opened in 1970.

Tigers Won Their Last 16 Home Games
Clemson ended the 2006 season with the nation's longest home winning streak at 16 games. Since suffering a 5-4 loss against Furman at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on April 19, Clemson won its last 16 games at home to close out the 2006 season. Ironically, Oral Roberts had the second-longest home winning streak (14) to end the season. If the Golden Eagles had defeated the Tigers in either one of the close super regional games, it would have ended Clemson's home winning streak and given them the nation's longest streak to end the season. Nine of the 16 games were against top-25 ranked teams. Clemson finished with a 36-5 home record in 2006 as well.

D'Alessio Likes 'Em Loaded
If you had to use one phrase to describe Andy D'Alessio, it might just be "run-producer." The first-baseman had a knack for driving in runs in all kinds of situations in 2006. He totaled 85 RBIs on only 78 hits. The 2005 season saw him do the same, as he had 60 RBIs on only 58 hits.

But no stat proved his value in producing runs more than his stats with the bases loaded. In 2006, he was 8-for-11 (.727) with two doubles, two home runs, and 23 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 16-for-26 (.615) with four homers and 48 RBIs with the bases full.

D'Alessio Moving Up Home Run, RBI Charts
A year after Kris Harvey totaled 25 home runs in 2005, second-most in the nation, Andy D'Alessio provided the big bat in the Tiger lineup in 2006 with 23 long balls. He also has 42 career home runs, ninth-most in Tiger history.

Chalk Enters 2007 on a 16-Game Hit Streak
Brad Chalk ended his sophomore season on a 16-game hitting streak and will carry that over into the 2007 season. During the streak, he is hitting .419 with a .538 on-base percentage. In the game before the streak started against College of Charleston, he went hitless, but still reached base via a walk. And since he had a 10-game hitting streak entering the game against the Cougars, he has hit safely in 26 of the last 27 games. He also has reached base safely via a hit or walk in each of the last 27 games.

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