Clemson battles UNC Charlotte

Clemson (13-1), ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation, will play at Charlotte (7-4) on Tuesday at 6:00 PM.

The Series
Clemson and Charlotte have met 13 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding an 11-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1985 season. The two squads opened the 2009 season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, as the Tigers swept the three-game series over the 49ers by a combined score of 18-8. The last meeting between the two teams at Charlotte came on March 5, 1988. Clemson was victorious that day by a score of 9-4.

Clemson holds a 3-0 lead in games played in Charlotte. Jack Leggett is 5-1 against the 49ers as Clemson's head coach, but he has never faced them away from home. Leggett was 1-4 against Charlotte as the head coach at Western Carolina, therefore he is 6-5 all-time against the 49ers.

The Starting Pitchers
The 49ers have yet to determine their starting pitcher while the Tigers will start senior righthander Justin Sarratt (1-0, 8.38 ERA). The Gaffney, SC native has made three relief appearances and two starts for a total of 9.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 12 hits (.300 opponents' batting average) and four walks with six strikeouts.

The 49ers
Charlotte, led by 18th-year Head Coach Loren Hibbs, enters Tuesday's game against #7 Clemson with a 7-4 overall record after splitting a pair of games against Austin Peay at home on Friday and Saturday. The 49ers are 7-3 at home as well. Charlotte is averaging 9.5 runs per game and hitting .353 with a .483 slugging percentage and .446 on-base percentage. The team has totaled 25 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 15 stolen bases.

Ryan Rivers is hitting a team-best .513 with two homers, seven doubles, 16 RBIs, and a .623 on-base percentage, while Shane Brown is hitting .471. Corey Shaylor is batting .393, Zane Williams is hitting .361 with three homers and 16 RBI, and Cory Tilton has a team-high five stolen bases.

The pitching staff has a 5.69 ERA and .284 opponents' batting average along with 83 strikeouts against 43 walks in 98.0 innings pitched. Senior righthander Kelly McLain has two of the team's three saves and 14 strikeouts against three walks in 11.1 innings pitched over six relief appearances. The 49ers are fielding at a .966 clip as well.

The Tigers
Clemson, ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation, enters Tuesday's game at Charlotte with a 13-1 overall record and 3-0 ACC mark after sweeping N.C. State in a three-game series at home by a combined score of 31-19. The Tigers are 1-0 on opponents' home fields and 11-0 at home in 2010. The Tigers are averaging 9.4 runs per game and hitting .304 with a .509 slugging percentage and .416 on-base percentage. Clemson has also totaled 28 doubles, one triple, 23 homers, and 25 stolen bases.

Kyle Parker is hitting .396 with six homers, 16 RBIs, and a .515 on-base percentage, while Jeff Schaus is batting .373 with four homers and 23 RBIs. John Hinson is also batting .407 with four steals, while Chris Epps has a .460 on-base percentage and a team-high six stolen bases. The pitching staff has a 3.26 ERA and .236 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed 41 walks against 95 strikeouts, good for a 2.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Freshman righthander Jonathan Meyer and junior righty Alex Frederick have both made seven relief appearances and have one save apiece. The Tigers are fielding at a .957 clip as well. Five Tigers hail from the state of North Carolina, Wilson Boyd (Hickory), John Hinson (Hickory), Addison Johnson (Pfafftown), Richie Shaffer (Charlotte), and Josh Thrailkill (Arden).

Polls
The Tigers remained at No. 7 in the Sports Weekly coaches poll this week after going 4-0 in four games last week. The Tigers also moved up one spot to #11 in the Baseball America poll and moved up three spots to No. 10 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Clemson's No. 7 ranking is its highest since June of 2007.

Loaded Stat
Clemson has done a lot of damage with the bases loaded this year. Despite starting the year just 1-for-7 in that situation, Clemson is 7-for-18 (.389) with three grand slams, two doubles, 30 RBIs, seven walks, and one hit-by-pitch in 2010. The Tigers also have a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage with the bases full.

Phil Pohl is 2-for-2 with a grand slam, double, seven RBIs, and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded, while Chris Epps and Brad Miller have also hit one grand slam apiece in 2010.

Hinson Emerges After Injury
Sophomore infielder John Hinson (Asheville, NC) missed all of 2009 with a back injury after he was slated to compete for the starting job at third base. But Hinson has emerged in 2010 and put up strong numbers. In 11 games (four starts), he is hitting .407 with one homer, two doubles, seven RBIs, and four stolen bases.

He was a big reason the Tigers swept the three-game series against N.C. State on March 13,14. In the final two games of the series, he came off the bench in both games and tallied two hits in each contest. In game-two with the Tigers trailing 6-5, he started Clemson's seven-run eighth inning with a leadoff double, then capped the scoring with a three-run double later in the frame, as the Tigers were victorious 12-6. In the series-finale a day later, he went 2-for-2. With Clemson behind 6-5, he hit a one-out single in the eighth inning and eventually scored the tying run, as the Tigers scored two runs in the frame and won 7-6.

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