Clemson Baseball Preview vs. South Carolina


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Clemson vs. South Carolina

        Clemson
(23-9), ranked as high as #14 in the nation, will play host to #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.  Live stats will be available on Clemson's athletic
website at ClemsonTigers.com as well.


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.



Polls

        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.



Tigers Sweep Hokies in Chilly Blacksburg

       
Clemson, ranked #16 in the nation, swept Virginia Tech in
chilly and windy Blacksburg, VA by a combined score of 19-10, as the
Tigers won all three games by three runs.  The Tigers outhit the
Hokies .286 to .262 and hit 11 extra-base hits, including four
homers.  D.J. Mitchell was 5-for-10, while Marquez Smith went
4-for-11 with two homers.  Clemson, who committed only two errors
in the series, had a 2.55 ERA and 24 strikeouts against only seven
walks.

        In
game-one, Smith hit a two-run homer to lead Clemson to a 6-3 win at
Virginia Tech in a game that started on April 6 and ended on April 7
due to snow.  Neither team could break through with big hits, as
Clemson left 12 runners on base and Virginia Tech stranded 11. 
Mitchell had three hits, including two doubles.  The Hokies
totaled 13 hits, but they were all singles.  Matt Vaughn pitched
5.0 innings to earn the win in relief of Daniel Moskos, who allowed
one run in 4.0 innings pitched in his first career start.  The
Tigers, who totaled five sacrifice bunts and three steals, did not
commit an error in 44 chances as well.

  In game-two, David Kopp pitched 7.0 solid
innings in Clemson's 8-5 victory at Virginia Tech on April 7. 
Kopp earned the win, as he allowed two runs on five hits with six
strikeouts.  The Tigers took control with four runs in the first
two innings, highlighted by Mitchell's run-scoring single in the
second inning.  Clemson added three insurance runs in the eighth
inning thanks in part to Wilson Boyd's two-run single through the
left side.  Taylor Harbin had two hits, including a solo home
run, and Mitchell added two hits and two runs scored.  Both teams
had 10 hits as well.

    In game-three, Doug Hogan blasted a
three-run homer in the 10th inning to lead Clemson to a 5-2 win at
Virginia Tech on April 8.  Smith hit a solo home run in the first
inning, but the Hokies scored single runs in the first and third
innings to take the lead.  Clemson tied the score in the seventh
inning on Harbin's sacrifice fly.  Smith led off the 10th
inning with and infield single, then Ben Paulsen singled through the
right side on a hit-and-run.  Hogan followed with a towering
three-run homer to left field, his first long ball in 27 games. 
Alan Farina pitched 4.1 hitless and scoreless innings in relief with
seven strikeouts to earn the victory, while Stephen Clyne picked up
the save.

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