Tigers Take on High-Powered 'Noles

Clemson faces one of the top teams in the country this weekend in a critical three-game series.

After five days off for final exams, Clemson (24-20-1, 10-13-1 ACC) will play host to #3 Florida State (37-7, 19-5 ACC) in a three-game series starting Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 7:00 (Saturday), 7:00 (Sunday), and 4:00 (Monday). All three games will be televised live, as Saturday's game will be on Regional Sports Network and the other two games will be on CSS. All three games will also be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and Florida State have met 98 times on the diamond, with the Seminoles holding a 58-49-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1958 season.

Last year at Florida State, the Tigers won two of three games over the #2 Seminoles. Florida State won game-one 11-1 before Clemson won the final two contests by scores of 7-6 and 11-6. Then in the ACC Tournament at Jacksonville, FL, Clemson defeated Florida State 5-1 behind a complete game by righthander David Kopp.

Two seasons ago at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson swept the Seminoles in three games by a combined score of 24-6. The Tigers have won seven of the last eight contests in the series after Florida State won 15 of the previous 17 meetings.

The Tigers hold a 25-15 lead over Florida State in games played at Clemson and 23-11 lead in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers also hold a 25-23 advantage in ACC regular-season games.

Jack Leggett has a 25-31 record against Florida State as Clemson's head coach, including a 14-7 mark at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. All 56 games Leggett has coached against Florida State have been against a Seminole team ranked in the top 25 of at least one poll, including 50 games against a top-10 Florida State squad. The Starting Pitchers
In game-one, Florida State will start sophomore lefthander Matt Fairel (8-1, 2.81 ERA) on the mound. The Winter Haven, FL native has made 10 starts for a total of 64.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 60 hits (.248 opponents' batting average) and 23 walks with 55 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with junior righthander D.J. Mitchell (5-3, 2.88 ERA) on Saturday. The Rural Hall, NC native has made 10 starts and four relief appearances for a total of 68.2 innings pitched. He has yielded 62 hits (.240 opponents' batting average) and 30 walks with 68 strikeouts.

In game-two, Florida State will send out junior righty Elih Villanueva (4-2, 3.75 ERA) on the mound. The Miami, FL native has made 10 starts for a total of 62.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 53 hits (.228 opponents' batting average) and 28 walks with 59 strikeouts. Clemson will counter with freshman righty Graham Stoneburner (5-2, 3.75 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native has made 10 starts and two relief appearances for a total of 57.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 56 hits (.253 opponents' batting average) and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts.

In game-three, the Seminoles will start freshman righthander Geoff Parker (4-1, 3.38 ERA) on the mound. The Dade City, FL native has made five starts and three relief appearances for a total of 40.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 40 hits (.272 opponents' batting average) and 11 walks with 36 strikeouts.

The Tigers have yet to determine their starter for game-three on Monday.

The Seminoles
Florida State, led by 29th-year Head Coach Mike Martin, enters the series at Clemson with a 37-7 overall record and 19-5 ACC mark after winning a a pair of midweek games at Stetson. Florida State also lost two of three games at #2 North Carolina last weekend.

The Seminoles sport a 14-4 record on opponents' home fields. Their longest losing streak this season is just two games, and that happened once. Florida State is 10-2 in one-run games and 4-1 in two-run games, therefore it is 14-3 in games decided by two runs or less.

Florida State, ranked as high as #3 in the nation, is averaging 9.3 runs per game and has scored double-digit runs 22 times this season. The Seminoles have totaled 108 doubles, 14 triples, and 61 home runs, good for a .550 slugging percentage. They also have a .454 on-base percentage thanks to 291 walks and 44 hit-by-pitches along with 50 stolen bases in 72 attempts.

Catcher Buster Posey is a candidate for national player-of-the-year. He is hitting .470 with 17 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, and 52 RBIs along with a .573 on-base percentage. He is one of the best defensive catchers in the nation, as he has thrown out 20 of 47 basestealers.

Jack Rye is hitting .390 with a .497 on-base percentage, while Mike McGee is batting .358. Dennis Guinn has totaled 12 homers and 51 RBIs, while Tyler Holt has a team-high 12 stolen bases. The pitching staff has a 3.69 ERA and .245 opponents' batting average along with 314 strikeouts against 170 walks in 390.0 innings pitched. Righthander Ryan Strauss and Posey both have four saves. The Seminoles are fielding at a .956 clip as well.

The Tigers
Clemson enters the series against #3 Florida State with a 24-20-1 overall record and 10-13-1 ACC mark after sweeping Virginia Tech in a three-game series last weekend. Clemson, who has a 17-10 home record, has won five games in a row. The Tigers are hitting .281 with a .368 on-base percentage, 81 doubles, 45 homers, and 47 steals in 69 attempts. The team is averaging 6.1 runs per game, including 9.8 runs per game during its five-game winning streak.

Mike Freeman is hitting .326 with a .400 on-base percentage, while Jeff Schaus is hitting .318 with a .426 on-base percentage. Prior to Sunday's game against Virginia Tech, Schaus had totaled at least two hits in seven straight games. Freeman (.360) and Schaus (.360) also have solid batting averages in ACC regular-season games as well.

Ben Paulsen is hitting .309 with 12 doubles, 12 homers, and 36 RBIs, while Doug Hogan has totaled 14 doubles, 10 homers, and 43 RBIs. Kyle Parker has accumulated nine homers and 33 RBIs on the season, including eight homers and 28 RBIs in ACC regular-season games. Parker is among the league leaders with a .679 slugging percentage in ACC regular-season games.

The pitching staff has a 4.45 ERA and .277 opponents' batting average. Righthander Matt Vaughn has a 2.90 ERA, nine saves, and 35 strikeouts in 31.0 innings pitched over 23 relief appearances. Lefthander Craig Gullickson also has a 3.12 ERA. The Tigers are fielding at a .963 clip as well.

Five Tigers hail from the state of Florida, including Freeman (Orlando), Gullickson (Palm Beach Gardens), Parker (Jacksonville), Schaus (Naples), and Brock Schnabel (Winter Haven).

1958 Team to Hold Reunion Saturday
Clemson's 1958 College World Series team will celebrate its 50-year anniversary on Saturday prior to the Clemson vs. Florida State game. The 7:00 PM game will be the first of a three-game series between the Tigers and #3 Seminoles. Tickets are available for all three games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The games on Saturday and Sunday will be played at 7:00 PM, while the Monday contest will start at 4:00 PM. Clemson's 1958 team was the first in school history to reach the College World Series. The Tigers had finished 6-12 overall and just 3-11 in the ACC the previous season. Bill Wilhelm took over for the 1958 season and led the squad to a 22-8 overall record and 12-3 mark in ACC play. The 1958 team not only won the NCAA District Tournament in Gastonia, NC in thrilling fashion with two wins over Florida on the final day, it also won the ACC title in a one-game playoff against North Carolina.

Clemson took 20 players, coaches, and administrators to Omaha that year, and 16 are still alive. All 16 of those men are scheduled to be at Clemson on Saturday for the reunion. The players and coaches will be introduced prior to the game and will then go to the positions they played in 1958 to stand with current Tiger team members for the playing of the National Anthem.

Among the players who will be on hand are top pitcher Harold Stowe along with leading hitters Bailey Hendley and Bud Spiers. Stowe won 14 of Clemson's 22 team victories that year, still the highest percentage of wins by one pitcher in school history. He led the nation in wins and strikeouts that year. Hendley batted .333 and Spiers hit .325 to lead the Tiger position players that season. Spiers' son Bill went on to be an All-American at Clemson, and his son Michael was the MVP of the ACC Tournament in 1991.

"This is a group of men who played such a big part in the heritage of this program," said Head Coach Jack Leggett. "We talk about our tradition of going to Omaha 11 times when we are selling our program to prospects. This team set the standard...they were the first Tiger team to go to the College World Series, and it will be an honor to have them at Clemson this weekend."

Parker Excelling Against the ACC
Kyle Parker has been at his best against ACC competition this season. Overall, the freshman utility player is hitting .297 with nine doubles, nine homers, and 33 RBIs in 43 games (41 starts). But in ACC regular-season games, he is hitting .333 with five doubles, eight homers, and 28 RBIs along with a .679 slugging percentage. He is among the conference leaders in RBIs and slugging percentage in ACC regular-season games.

Those numbers do not count a two-run homer he hit in the 11th inning at Duke on April 20 in a game that reverted back to the score at the end of the 10th inning due to unplayable field conditions. The ACC is arguably the top conference in the nation in 2008. All that for a player who should be in his senior year of high school.

Parker Named ACC Player-of-the-Week
Kyle Parker was named ACC Player-of-the-Week for his performances during the last full week of April. The freshman utility player batted .375 with six runs scored, two doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs, six walks, a .545 on-base percentage, and 1.063 slugging percentage in five games. In the three-game series against Virginia Tech from April 25-27, he went 5-for-10 (.500) with five runs scored, two doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs, and three walks against no strikeouts to lead the Tigers to the sweep. He had a 1.600 slugging percentage and .615 on-base percentage as well.

In game-two of the series on April 26, he went 3-for-4 with a double, two homers, and five RBIs, including the game-winning, three-run homer in the eighth inning, in Clemson's 8-7 win. The only time he was retired was when he flied out to the fence in left field, just missing another long ball.

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