Tigers Face Georgia Southern Wednesday

Clemson (10-4), ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation, will play host to Georgia Southern (13-8) on Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch against the Eagles is scheduled for 7:15 PM.

The game will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) (joined in progress after Clemson's NIT game that starts at 6:00 PM) out of Clemson and can be heard live on the internet at WCCPFM.com (available in its entirety online).

The Series
Clemson and Georgia Southern have met 77 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 49-27-1 lead in the series dating back to 1959. The two teams have not met since 2004 when they played twice in the Keith LeClair Invitational at Greenville, NC. Clemson the two games in that tourney by scores of 4-0 and 9-0.

In 2003, Clemson beat the Eagles twice in two meetings at Charleston, SC by scores of 11-1 and 8-0. Therefore the Tigers have outscored the Eagles 21-0 in the last three matchups. Clemson has won eight games in a row in the series dating back to a Georgia Southern win in 2001 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Tigers are 24-12 against the Eagles in games played at Clemson and 23-11 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers also hold a 10-5 lead against Georgia Southern under Head Coach Jack Leggett. Leggett was 6-6 against the Eagles as Western Carolina's head coach (1983-91), therefore is 16-11 against Georgia Southern.

The Starting Pitchers
Georgia Southern will start freshman righty Brian Wilkerson (4-1, 3.83 ERA) on the mound Wednesday. The Bonaire, GA native has made six starts for a total of 40.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 40 hits (.261 opponents' batting average) and eight walks with 20 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander David Kopp (1-1, 4.87 ERA) on Wednesday. The Margate, FL native has made four starts for a total of 20.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 24 hits (.293 opponents' batting average) and eight walks with 18 strikeouts.

The Eagles
Georgia Southern, led by eighth-year Head Coach Rodney Hennon, enters Wednesday's game with a 13-8 overall record after winning two of three games at a tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC. After winning one of three games at Hawaii to start the season, the Eagles won both games of a home series over #11 Georgia Tech by a combined score of 20-10. Georgia Southern has a 3-4 record on opponents' home fields this season.

Georgia Southern is averaging 8.9 runs per game and hitting .326 with a .408 on-base percentage. The team has also totaled 61 doubles, 17 homers, and 44 stolen bases in 52 attempts in 21 games.

Freshman Phillip Porter leads the way with a .469 batting average, while Chris Shehan is hitting .391 with four home runs and a team-high 28 RBIs. Freshman A.J. Wirnsberger is hitting .370, and Mike Economos is hitting at a .307 clip with five homers and 21 RBIs. Jeremy Beckham is a perfect 16-16 on stolen bases as well.

The pitching staff has a 4.77 ERA and .280 opponents' batting average. It has also struck out 142 against 73 walks. Righthanders A.J. Battisto and Kyle Kamppi have two saves apiece, while former Clemson lefthander Aaron Eubanks has a 3.18 ERA and nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched over five relief appearances this season.

The Eagles sport a .961 fielding percentage and have only allowed 16 stolen bases in 28 attempts, including only eight steals in 15 attempts off catcher Griffin Benedict.

The Tigers
Clemson enters Wednesday's game against Georgia Southern with a 10-4 record after taking two of three games against Memphis over the weekend. The Tigers, who are in the middle of an eight-game homestand, are 10-3 at home this season. Clemson also brings a #6 national ranking into Wednesday's game.

The team is hitting .287 with a .370 on-base percentage. Brad Chalk is hitting a team-best .469 with a .571 on-base percentage after going 8-for-11 with three walks, three hit-by-pitches, and four stolen bases in four games last week. He has also reached base via a hit or walk in 41 straight games dating back to 2006. Doug Hogan is hitting .415 with four homers and seven RBIs, while Marquez Smith is batting .333 with three homers and a team-best 14 RBIs. Andy D'Alessio went 8-for-16 with two homers in four games last week to raise his average to .300.

The pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA and .240 opponents' batting average. It has combined to strike out 118 against 41 walks. Daniel Moskos has a team-high two saves, while Stephen Clyne has gone 30 consecutive innings without allowing a run dating back to last year. The team is fielding at a .968 clip as well.

Worth Noting
* In the Tigers' 10 wins, they are hitting .333 with runners in scoring position. In their four losses, they are hitting just .136 (3-for-22) in that situation.

* Andy D'Alessio started the season 3-for-his-first-25 (.120), but has raised his season average to .300 thanks to going 12-for-his-last-25 (.480).

Clemson remained at the #6 spot in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball poll on Monday after going 3-1 in three games last week. Clemson also jumped to #6 in the Sports Weekly poll.

The Tigers' #1 ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball on February 12 was their first since February 27, 2006, when Clemson was ranked #1 by those same two polls. The Tigers have been ranked #1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack Leggett's 14th season at Clemson.

Smith, Chalk, Team Heating Up During Games
Senior third-baseman Marquez Smith and junior centerfielder Brad Chalk are two of the team's best hitters. Overall, Chalk is hitting .469, while Smith is batting .333 with three homers and 14 RBIs. But when breaking down games from innings 1-4 and the fifth inning on, their stats are astounding.

Smith is 3-for-26 (.115) with no homers and two RBIs in the first four innings, but is 16-for-31 (.516) with three homers and 12 RBIs from the fifth inning on. Chalk is hitting a solid 8-for-24 (.333) in the first four innings, but is a remarkable 15-for-25 (.600) from the fifth inning on.

The team has seen similar numbers. In the first four innings, Clemson is hitting just .216, but is batting .344 from the fifth inning on.

Bunnell Goes From Club Team to Starter at Second Base
In the fall of 2004, the beginning of his sophomore year at Clemson, David Bunnell (Charlotte, NC) tried out for the team as a walk-on but was cut. In the spring of 2005, he played on Clemson's Club team, then he did not play any organized baseball the following school year as a junior.

During the summer of 2006, Tanner Leggett, former Tiger (2003-06) and son of Head Coach Jack Leggett, recommended Bunnell to his father to work Clemson's summer baseball camps. The elder Leggett obliged and Bunnell got to know Clemson's coach.

Due to the loss of catcher Adrian Casanova and several infielders from the 2006 squad, Leggett invited Bunnell to join the team in 2007. Bunnell was slated to be a bullpen catcher and provide depth in the infield for the Tigers, but in January, freshman infielder Graham Stoneburner suffered a season-ending leg injury. So Leggett told Bunnell to continue taking ground balls on his own because he might need him to play in the infield.

After hitting a pinch-hit double in his first career plate appearance in the season-opener against George Mason on February 16, Bunnell did not play in the Tigers' next 10 games. But with no other Tiger solidifying his name at second after Taylor Harbin moved to shortstop to replace an injured Stan Widmann, Bunnell earned his first career start there on March 9 against Memphis. He had a hit and reached base three times in the game. He also hit an early RBI single in the March 11 game and went 3-for-9 with two walks while not committing an error in 15 chances in the series.

Bunnell is hitting .400 in 10 at-bats this season. Although he has planned on 2007 being his one and only season with the program, he is still eligible to play in 2008 as a fifth-year senior. With his boisterous cheering section beyond the outfield fence, "D-Bunny" has made a name for himself in a varsity uniform.

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