Tigers close regular season in Raleigh

Clemson (36-17, 16-11 ACC), ranked as high as No. 14 in the nation, will travel to Raleigh, N.C. to take on N.C. State (25-28, 10-17 ACC) in a three-game series at Doak Field from Thursday to Saturday in both team's final regular-season contests.

Game times are 6:30 PM (Thursday), 6:30 PM (Friday), and 1:00 PM (Saturday).

The game on Thursday will be shown live via webcast at ACCSelect.com and the game on Saturday will be televised live by Regional Sports Network. All three games between the Tigers and Wolfpack will also be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network.

The Series
Clemson and N.C. State have met 170 times on the baseball diamond, with the Tigers holding a 101-68-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1921 season.

In 2008 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tigers won two of three games. Clemson won the final two games by scores of 3-2 and 2-0 after N.C. State won the series-opener 5-4. Then in the 2008 ACC Tournament at Jacksonville, FL, N.C. State blanked Clemson 10-0 in seven innings. In 2007 at Doak Field, the Wolfpack won two of three games over the Tigers.

N.C. State holds a 36-35 lead in games played in Raleigh. The Tigers also have a 79-54 record against the Wolfpack in ACC regular-season games.

Jack Leggett has a 35-18 record against the Wolfpack as Clemson's head coach, including a 9-12 record at N.C. State. Leggett was also 7-18 against N.C. State as the head coach at Western Carolina, therefore he is 42-36 all-time against the Wolfpack.

The Starting Pitchers
In game-one, N.C. State will start junior lefthander Jimmy Gillheeney (6-4, 3.24 ERA) on the mound. The Johnston, RI native has made 12 starts for a total of 80.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 78 hits (.248 opponents' batting average) and 30 walks with 75 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Trey Delk (3-1, 2.31 ERA) on Thursday. The Elgin, SC native has made eight starts for a total of 35.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 36 hits (.261 opponents' batting average) and 14 walks with 29 strikeouts.

In game-two, the Wolfpack will send out junior lefty John Lambert (1-4, 5.80 ERA) on the mound. The Chesterton, IN native has made 12 relief appearances and seven starts for a total of 45.0 innings pitched. He has yielded 37 hits (.219 opponents' batting average), 34 walks, and only one home run with 51 strikeouts.

Clemson will counter with sophomore lefty Casey Harman (6-3, 3.61 ERA) on Friday. The South Burlington, VT native has made nine starts and nine relief appearances for a total of 62.1 innings pitched. He has given up 70 hits (.283 opponents' batting average) and 11 walks with 59 strikeouts.

N.C. State's starter for game-three has yet to be determined.

The Tigers will start freshman lefty Chris Dwyer (4-4, 5.01 ERA) on Saturday. The Swampscott, MA native has made 13 starts for a total of 64.2 innings pitched. He has given up 58 hits (.241 opponents' batting average) and 24 walks with 68 strikeouts.

The Wolfpack
N.C. State, led by 13th-year Head Coach Elliott Avent, enters the series against #14 Clemson with a 25-28 overall record and 10-17 ACC mark after topping Appalachian State 10-6 at home on Tuesday. The Wolfpack also defeated top-ranked North Carolina twice in three games at Doak Field last weekend. N.C. State, who is 17-14 at home, must win three games against Clemson and receive help from North Carolina and Virginia for its season to continue past this weekend.

N.C. State is averaging 6.6 runs per game and hitting .265 with a .401 slugging percentage and .372 on-base percentage. The team has also totaled 97 doubles, nine triples, 45 home runs, and 81 stolen bases in 107 attempts.

Andrew Ciencin is hitting .299 with 14 doubles, while Devon Cartwright is batting .272 with five homers, 31 RBIs, and nine steals. Kyle Wilson owns the school record with 30 stolen bases, while Drew Poulk has a team-high seven home runs.

The series will feature the 2008 ACC Football Rookie-of-the-Year and First-Team All-ACC quarterback in Russell Wilson. The sophomore infielder is hitting .262 in 24 games (19 starts), as he has been hampered by injury on the diamond this season. He joins Clemson's Kyle Parker as two-sport standouts in this weekend's series. Parker red-shirted on the gridiron in 2008 and will vie for the starting quarterback job as a red-shirt freshman in 2009.

The pitching staff has a 4.90 ERA and .268 opponents' batting average along with 455 strikeouts against 215 walks in 477.1 innings pitched. Senior righthander Joey Cutler has three of the Wolfpack's nine saves along with 33 strikeouts against only 10 walks in 33.1 innings pitched over 19 appearances. N.C. State is fielding at a .951 clip as well.

The Tigers
Clemson, ranked as high as #14 in the nation, enters the series at N.C. State with a 36-17 overall record and 16-11 ACC mark after topping College of Charleston 5-2 at home on Tuesday and Furman 8-5 at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC on Monday. The Tigers also won two of three games against UNC Wilmington at home over the weekend. The Tigers are 7-9 on opponents' home fields as well.

The Tigers are averaging 6.9 runs per game and hitting .300 with a .457 slugging percentage and .391 on-base percentage. Clemson has also totaled 95 doubles, 15 triples, 54 homers, and 64 stolen bases in 84 attempts.

Ben Paulsen is hitting a team-best .378 with 15 doubles, four triples, 11 homers, and 53 RBIs. Jeff Schaus is hitting .338 with a .439 on-base percentage thanks to 34 walks against only 17 strikeouts. Kyle Parker has added 11 homers and 48 RBIs, while Jason Stolz is hitting .328, Wilson Boyd is batting .323, and John Nester is hitting .320.

The pitching staff has a 3.50 ERA and .249 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed 160 walks against 441 strikeouts, good for a 2.8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ryan Hinson has made a team-high 23 appearances and has 43 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched, while Matt Vaughn has a team-high four saves. The Tigers are fielding at a .968 clip as well.

Three Tigers on the N.C. State travel roster hail from the state of North Carolina, Wilson Boyd (Hickory), Addison Johnson (Pfafftown), and Matt Sanders (New Bern).

Epps Moves Into Leadoff Spot
Sophomore outfielder Chris Epps (Stone Mountain, GA) was relegated to a backup role for most of the season. But he was inserted, not only into the starting lineup, but into the leadoff spot in the batting order in the April 25 game against #4 Georgia Tech. He helped the Tigers to two wins in the final two games of that series and has batted in the leadoff spot ever since, a total of 10 games.

In the last 10 games, all as the designated hitter, he is 10-for-38 (.263) with two doubles, one triple, eight RBIs, 11 runs, seven walks, and two stolen bases to lead Clemson to a 8-2 record.

Epps' forté is finding any way on base. He has walked 20 times in only 76 at-bats this season, good for one walk every 3.80 at-bats, and has a solid .394 on-base percentage. He has also raised his batting average to .237 and has four doubles, two triples, one homer, 15 RBIs, 19 runs, and five steals this season.

In his career, Epps has walked 50 times in 177 at-bats, meaning he has walked once every 3.54 at-bats during his career. That is the best mark in Clemson history.

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