Clemson Baseball Preview vs. Winthrop


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Clemson vs. Winthrop

        Clemson
(6-1), ranked as high as #2 in the nation, will play host to Winthrop
(8-5) on Wednesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  First pitch is
scheduled for 4:00 PM.  The game will be broadcast live on the
radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live on the
internet at WCCPFM.com.  Live stats will also be available at
ClemsonTigers.com for the game.



The Series

        Clemson
and Winthrop have met 20 times on the diamond, as Clemson holds a 16-4
lead in the series dating back to 1981.  The two last met in
2006, a 6-3 Winthrop win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  In 2005, the
Eagles were again victorious 8-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 
Prior to those two Eagle wins, Clemson had won three in a row and 14
of 15 games.

    The last eight games in the series
have been played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  The Tigers hold a
12-3 lead all-time in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 
Winthrop's other victory at Clemson came during the 2001 season, an
8-4 win.

        Tiger
Head Coach Jack Leggett is 5-3 against Winthrop as Clemson's head
coach.  He was also 3-0 against the Eagles as Western
Carolina's head coach, meaning he is 8-3 all-time against
Winthrop.



The Starting Pitchers

       
Winthrop will start sophomore righthander Alex Wilson (0-0,
1.16 ERA) on the mound.  The Hurricane, WV native has made four
starts for a total of 23.1 innings pitched.  He has yielded 19
hits (.213 opponents' batting average) and nine walks with 17
strikeouts.  As a freshman on April 18, 2006, Wilson earned the
win at Clemson by pitching 8.0 innings, allowing eight hits, two
earned runs, and no walks with five strikeouts in the Eagles' 6-3
victory.

    The Tigers will counter with junior
righty P.J. Zocchi (1-0, 2.79 ERA) on Wednesday.  The Bronx, NY
native has made two starts for a total of 9.2 innings pitched. 
He has allowed five hits (.152 opponents' batting average), three
runs, and three walks with 10 strikeouts.  He has also never
faced the Eagles.


The Eagles

       
Winthrop, led by 16th-year Head Coach Joe Hudak, enters
Wednesday's game with an 8-5 overall record after falling twice in
three games at home versus Miami (OH) over the weekend and losing at
Georgia 7-6 on Tuesday.  The team, who is 1-3 on the road,
started the season by winning one of three games at UCLA.

    The Eagles are hitting .293 as a
team with a .361 on-base percentage.  They have also totaled 15
sacrifice bunts on the season.  Eddie Tisdale leads the club with
a .391 batting average.  Chris Carrara has four of the team's
seven stolen bases as well.  Six different Eagles have accounted
for the team's six home runs.

Winthrop has a 3.48 ERA and .271 opponents' batting
average.  The staff also has 92 strikeouts against 40 walks and
has allowed only two home runs in 116.1 innings pitched this season. 
Senior righthander Jonathan Settle has two of the team's three
saves.  Winthrop sports a .949 fielding percentage as well.


The Tigers

        Clemson
enters the game against Winthrop with a 6-1 overall record after
sweeping Pacific over the weekend by a combined score of 17-10. 
The Tigers have won 22 of their last 23 home games dating back to last
season.

        The team is
hitting .308 with a .396 on-base percentage.  Brad Chalk leads
the way with a .481 batting average and .576 on-base percentage after
going 8-for-12 in the Pacific series.  Doug Hogan is hitting .444
with four of the team's eight homers, while Marquez Smith is hitting
.345 with two home runs and a team-high nine RBIs.  Smith also
has eight of the club's 11 two-out RBIs this season.

     The pitching staff has a 2.47
ERA and .241 opponents' batting average.  It has combined to
strike out 66 against only 20 walks.  Veteran relievers Stephen
Clyne and Daniel Moskos have combined to allow no runs in 13.1 innings
pitched this season.  The Tigers are fielding at a .967 clip as
well.


Limited Tickets Left for South Carolina Game

       
Reserved seats for Saturday's game against South Carolina at
Doug Kingsmore Stadium are no longer available.  There are a
limited number of general admission tickets available to IPTAY members
only.  The ticket prices are $10 for adults and $8 for youths
(high school age and under).  Call 1-800-CLEMSON for ticket
information.



Polls

        Clemson
remained at the #2 spot in the Baseball America poll on Monday after
going 4-0 in four games last week.  Clemson also remained at #5
in the Collegiate Baseball poll.  There will not be another
Sports Weekly poll released until next week, as Clemson was ranked #2
in its preseason 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.


Opponents Hitting .149 With RISP

        A big
reason for Clemson's 6-1 start has been the fact that it is 3-0 in
one-run games.  And many times in those close games, Tiger
pitchers have been able to get out of jams with runners in scoring
position.  This season, Clemson's opponents are hitting just
.149 with runners in scoring position.

      In over 45 percent of
the innings this season, a Clemson opponent has reached base as the
leadoff batter in an inning.  Therefore, the success with runners
in scoring position has been crucial to Clemson's success. 
Meanwhile, Tiger batters are hitting .357 in that situation.

        In the
three-game series against Pacific on February 23,24, it was just
4-for-36 (.111) with runners in scoring position, as Clemson swept
Pacific, including two one-run victories.


Chalk Riding 34-Game Streak

        Brad
Chalk (Greer, SC) ended his sophomore season on a 16-game hitting
streak and had three hits in the 2007 season-opener, upping his
hitting streak to 17 games.  Chalk has also reached base safely
via a hit or walk in each of the last 34 games, showing his value as
the #2 batter in the lineup.

        Overall
this season, the junior is hitting a team-best .481 with a .576
on-base percentage.  He has walked six times and struck out just
twice, a trend that has been evident throughout his career.  He
has walked 81 times against only 42 strikeouts in 139 career games. 
He is also a .359 career hitter with a .470 on-base percentage.


Clyne Ups Scoreless Inning Streak to 23

        Senior
righthander Stephen Clyne (Parkland, FL) has not allowed a run in 7.2
innings pitched over two relief appearances this season.  He has
allowed just six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.  He
also went the last 15.1 innings of 2006 without allowing a run,
meaning he has a streak of 23 consecutive innings pitched over 11
relief appearances without allowing a run dating back to last
season.

       
Clyne's value to the team is as a long reliever, and he has
done well in that role in his fifth season in the program.  He
has a 4-1 record, 2.67 ERA, and two saves in 38 career relief
appearances (60.2 innings pitched).  He has also allowed just one
homer and 17 walks with 63 strikeouts, good for a 3.7
strikeout-to-walk ratio.  Clyne is the only fifth-year senior on
the 2007 team.


Clemson Sweeps Pacific in Battle of Tigers

       
Clemson, ranked #2 in the nation, swept Pacific in three games
on February 23,24 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  Clemson outscored
Pacific 17-10 and won two one-run games.  Clemson hit .321 in the
series to Pacific's .271, as Pacific left 33 runners on base and was
just 4-for-36 (.111) with runners in scoring position.  Pacific
also scored first in all three games only to see Clemson rally to
victory each time.  Brad Chalk was 8-for-12 to lead Clemson,
while Doug Hogan (7-for-13) and Stan Widmann (4-for-8) also had
productive series.  Clemson pitchers also combined for a 1.86 ERA
and 31 strikeouts in the three games.

    In game-one on February 23, Clemson
overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Pacific 8-3.  Clemson scored
three runs in the fifth inning to tie the score.  A dropped foul
ball by Erik Hamren in the fifth inning allowed Taylor Harbin to
double in a run and Marquez Smith to single home the tying run. 
In the sixth inning, Clemson scored five runs, highlighted by
Smith's two-run single to cap the scoring.  Hogan and Widmann
added solo homers, while Chalk was 3-for-3 with two walks, meaning he
reached base in all five of his plate appearances.  Stephen Clyne
pitched 5.1 innings in relief to earn the victory.  He allowed
just three hits, no runs, and one walk with five strikeouts.

        In
game-two, which was the first game of a doubleheader on February 24,
Addison Johnson scored the winning run from second base in the 11th
inning when shortstop Josh Powers' throw was errant to first base on
Brad Chalk's infield single in Clemson's 4-3 victory over
Pacific.  Clemson matched Pacific's two-run second inning with
two runs in the bottom of the second on Widmann's two-run single. 
Widmann had all three of Clemson's RBIs.  Clemson left 12
runners on base, while Pacific stranded 11.  Pacific outhit
Clemson 12-10, including four hits by Joe Oliveira, but Pacific could
not come through with a clutch hit.  Daniel Moskos earned the win
thanks to 3.0 scoreless innings pitched in relief.

   In game-three, which was the second game
of a doubleheader on February 24, Smith's three-run homer in the
fifth inning was the difference in Clemson's 5-4 win over Pacific. 
For the third straight game, Clemson faced an early deficit only to
rally to victory.  Pacific outhit Clemson 11-10, but it stranded
13 runners on base.  Chalk paced Clemson with a 3-for-3
performance, while Hogan added two hits and an RBI.  David Kopp
did not allow an earned run in 5.0 innings pitched to earn the win,
while Matt Vaughn picked up his first career save by pitching 2.0
scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

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