Tigers, Gamecocks Set to Square Off

Clemson (23-9), ranked as high as No. 14 in the nation, will play host to No. 4 South Carolina (26-7) on Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the third of four scheduled matchups between the two rivals during the regular season.

First pitch for Wednesday's game is scheduled for 7:15 PM. The game will be televised live by CSS. The game will also be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and South Carolina have met 277 times on the diamond, with Clemson holding a 162-113-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1899 season. South Carolina is Clemson's most-played rival in history.

Earlier this season in March, the Gamecocks won both games of a weekend series by scores of 12-0 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and 3-2 in Columbia.

Last season, Clemson won three of four meetings with the Gamecocks, including each of the last three games. South Carolina won the first game by a score of 6-2 in Columbia, then Clemson won 6-4 the following day in Tigertown. Then in April, Clemson won by scores of 3-2 (at Columbia) and 10-5 (at Clemson).

The two teams split the four-game season series in both 2004 and 2005. The Tigers hold a 91-39 lead over South Carolina all-time in games played at Clemson and 44-22 lead in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 27-22 against South Carolina as Clemson's head coach, including a 13-10 record in games played at Clemson. The Tigers are 13-14 against a top-10 Gamecock club under Leggett as well.

The Starting Pitchers
South Carolina will start sophomore lefthander Craig Thomas (0-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound Wednesday. The Lexington, SC native has made two relief appearances for a total of 4.2 innings pitched. He has given up three hits (.176 opponents' batting average) and one walk with six strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with freshman lefty Matt Zoltak (1-2, 3.46 ERA) on Wednesday. The Philadelphia, PA native has made one start and eight relief appearances for a total of 13.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 14 hits (.259 opponents' batting average) and four walks with 10 strikeouts. In his only other start, he pitched 3.0 innings against Georgia on April 4 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. He allowed one run on four hits in that outing. Zoltak did not pitch against the Gameocks in either game in March.

The Gamecocks
South Carolina, led by 11th-year Head Coach Ray Tanner, enters Wednesday's game with a 26-7 overall record and 7-5 SEC mark after winning two of three games at #22 Florida this past weekend. The Gamecocks, who are 8-4 on opponents' home fields, are ranked as high as #4 in the country.

South Carolina has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 281-114 this season. Six of its seven losses have been by one run.

Offensively, the team is hitting .316 with a .406 on-base percentage, 57 home runs, and 162 walks. The team has swiped 33 bases in 38 attempts and has 28 sacrifice bunts. The Gamecocks are 24-0 when they total at least as many hits as their opponents and 2-7 when they get outhit.

Trent Kline is hitting a team-best 360 with 11 doubles, five homers, and 28 RBIs. James Darnell is batting .355 with nine long balls and 32 RBIs. Justin Smoak, who is riding a 14-game hitting streak, leads the team in homers (10) and RBIs (41) to go along with his .343 batting average.

The pitching staff has a 2.83 ERA and .225 opponents' batting average. The team has allowed just 111 walks with 329 strikeouts. Junior righty Wynn Pelzer has a 2.45 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 22.0 innings pitched out of the bullpen.

The Gamecocks have one of the nation's best defenses, as they have committed just 28 errors in 33 games, good for a .978 fielding percentage.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the game versus South Carolina with a 23-9 overall record and 8-4 mark in the ACC after winning all five games last week, including a three-game sweep at Virginia Tech over the weekend. The Tigers, who are 18-5 at home this season, also bring a #14 national ranking into Wednesday's game.

The team is hitting .289 with a .373 on-base percentage. Brad Chalk is hitting a team-best .393 with a .518 on-base percentage. Doug Hogan is hitting .355 with five homers and 18 RBIs. Taylor Harbin leads the squad with 28 RBIs and 12 doubles. Marquez Smith, the lone Tiger to start all 32 games in 2007, is hitting .333 with a team-high six homers and 27 RBIs as well.

First-baseman Andy D'Alessio, who suffered a pulled groin in the second inning against Miami (FL) on April 1, did not play in any of the five games last week. D'Alessio is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game.

The pitching staff has a 3.28 ERA and .245 opponents' batting average. It has combined to strike out 270 against 93 walks. Daniel Moskos has a team-high six saves, while Stephen Clyne has an 0.37 ERA and .163 opponents' batting average along with two saves in 15 relief appearances. The team is fielding at a .969 clip as well.

Worth Noting
* Clemson has won five straight road games after starting the season 0-4 on the road.

* Clemson has an 8-0 record when it scores at least one run in the first inning.

Clemson jumped to the #14 spot in the Baseball America poll and #14 in the Collegiate Baseball poll on Monday after going 5-0 in five games last week. Clemson also rose to #15 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.

Tigers Shake Up Pitching Staff
With the emergence of senior righthander Stephen Clyne, who has an 0.37 ERA and .163 opponents' batting average in 24.1 innings pitched this season, Head Coach Jack Leggett decided to move Daniel Moskos from the closer role to the weekend rotation.

Moskos made his starting debut at Virginia Tech on April 6, as the junior lefty allowed just one run in 4.0 innings pitched in that outing. Moskos had made 71 relief appearances from 2005-07 prior to his first career start. The owner of 16 career saves had never started on the mound in a Clemson uniform prior to the start in Blacksburg. However, he was used as a starter in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2005. His ability to throw three or four different pitches for strikes was one reason Leggett opted to move him into the weekend rotation.

Clyne's stellar senior season had a lot to do with the move as well. The Parkland, FL native is throwing harder than ever and has routinely hit the low 90s on the radar gun. This past offseason, Clyne focused on increasing his lower-body strength in the weight room, and he credits that to his higher velocity. He already brought a sharp breaking ball to the mound.

Farina Mowing Them Down Out of the Bullpen
Junior righthander Alan Farina (Chuluota, FL) is 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in 27.0 innings pitched over eight relief appearances and two starts in his first season in the Tiger program. He has also struck out 35 against only 11 walks and is holding opponents to a .168 batting average. In ACC regular-season games, he has 22 strikeouts in only 12.1 innings pitched as well, good for a 16.1 strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched mark.

He has been a strikeout machine out of the bullpen as well. In his eight relief appearances, he is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched. The power pitcher has also allowed just 10 hits (.141 opponents' batting average) and three walks with 31 strikeouts (10.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio) out of the bullpen.

CUTigers.com Top Stories