Clemson-NC State Baseball Notes


by - Correspondent -
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Clemson vs. N.C. State


Clemson (13-6, 0-3 ACC), ranked as high as #10 in the
country, will play its ACC home-opening series when it takes on #12
N.C. State (21-5, 5-1 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at
Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 7:15 PM (Friday), 7:00 PM
(Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday). All three games will be broadcast
live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will
also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games.


The Series


Clemson and N.C. State have met 159 times on the diamond,
with the Tigers holding a 94-64-1 lead, including winning seven of
the last nine meetings, in the series dating back to the 1921 season.
Last year at N.C. State, the Wolfpack won two of three games, which
included wins by scores of 8-3 and 9-8.


In the second of those three games, Clemson won 16-9 behind
five hits, three home runs, eight RBIs, and a school-record 16 total
bases by then-freshman second-baseman Taylor Harbin. Clemson then
won 5-4 in an ACC Tournament game at Jacksonville, FL. Two years
ago, the Tigers swept the Wolfpack in three close games at Doug
Kingsmore Stadium.


The Tigers hold a 47-21-1 advantage over the Wolfpack
all-time in games played at Clemson, including a 34-13 mark at Doug
Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson also holds a 73-51 advantage in games
played during the ACC regular season.


Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 28-14 against the Wolfpack
as Clemson's head coach, including a 13-4 mark at Doug Kingsmore
Stadium. Leggett was also 7-18 against the Wolfpack as the head
coach at Western Carolina, meaning he is 35-32 all-time against N.C.
State.


The Starting Pitchers


In game one, N.C. State will start sophomore righthander Eryk
McConnell (4-2, 2.50 ERA). The Waynesville, NC native has made seven
starts for a total of 39.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 31 hits
(.208 opponents' batting average) and eight walks with 32 strikeouts.


The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Josh Cribb
(4-0, 1.11 ERA) on Friday. The Lake View, SC native has made four
starts and one relief appearance for a total of 24.1 innings pitched.
He has allowed 14 hits (.167 opponents' batting average) and six
walks with 22 strikeouts.


In game two, the Wolfpack will send out freshman lefthander
Eric Surkamp (2-0, 3.28 ERA). The Cincinnati, OH native has made
three starts and four relief appearances (24.2 innings pitched). He
has yielded 20 hits and eight walks with 22 strikeouts.


The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Jason Berken
(2-2, 2.82 ERA) on Saturday. The De Pere, WI native has made five
starts for a total of 22.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 26 hits
and nine walks with 23 strikeouts.


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


Clemson will start junior righthander Stephen Faris (1-0,
2.59 ERA) on Sunday. The Richmond, VA native had made five starts
for a total of 31.1 innings pitched. He has a .206 opponents'
batting average, allowing 22 hits and seven walks with 29 strikeouts.


The Wolfpack


N.C. State, led by 10th-year Head Coach Elliott Avent, enters
the weekend series at #10 Clemson with a 21-5 overall record and 5-1
ACC mark. The Wolfpack's last games came last weekend, as they won
two of three over #1 Georgia Tech in Raleigh. They also have won
eight of their last nine games after suffering a sweep at home to
UCLA.


N.C. State, who is 2-0 on opponents' home fields, is hitting
.367 with a .465 on-base percentage. The team has 72 doubles, eight
triples, and 24 homers, and has walked 158 times compared to only 129
strikeouts. N.C. State is also one of the nation's top scoring
teams, averaging 10.6 runs per contest, including 15 games of at
least 11 runs.


All eight players with at least 60 at-bats have a .300
batting average or higher, including Caleb Mangum's .460 average and
Matt Mangini's .445 average. Mangini leads the club in both homers
(5) and RBIs (45), while one of the nation's best first basemans,
Aaron Bates, is hitting .366 with 10 doubles and a .496 on-base
percentage.


The pitching staff boasts a 4.06 ERA and .266 opponents'
batting average. Righty closer Sam Walls has all four of the team's
saves along with a 1.93 ERA and .175 opponents' batting average in
nine relief appearances. The team has a solid .970 fielding
percentage as well.


Andrew Brackman, who is a candidate to start on the mound on
Sunday, had a steller freshman season in 2005. He has only made two
appearances (both starts) in 2006 due to his participation on the
Wolfpack basketball team that saw their season end at the hands of
Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last weekend.
Brackman averaged 7.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while playing
in all 32 contests this past season.


The Tigers


Clemson enters the weekend series against #12 N.C. State with
a 13-6 overall record and 0-3 mark in the ACC. The Tigers, who are
12-2 at home this season, defeated Elon twice (by scores of 5-3 and
7-4) in a home midweek series.


Clemson is hitting .276 with a .360 on-base percentage. The
team also has 20 sacrifice bunts and 26 stolen bases in 31 attempts,
including 8-9 in two games against Elon.


Herman Demmink is hitting a team-best .338 with a .453
on-base percentage as the Tigers' leadoff batter. He is also 8-8 on
stolen bases and has 14 walks against only nine strikeouts. Tyler
Colvin has a team-high five homers and 15 RBIs, while Andy D'Alessio
has four homers and 17 RBIs.


Rightfielder Travis Storrer, who missed both games against
Elon due to an abdominal strain, is listed as questionable for the
N.C. State series.


The pitching staff has a 2.69 ERA and .229 opponents' batting
average. Clemson's three freshman hurlers (lefties Ryan Hinson and
Alex Martin, and righty Matt Vaughn) have combined for a 2-0 record
and a 2.57 ERA in 21.0 innings pitched. Steve Richard also has a
team-best three saves. The team is fielding at a .971 clip as well.


Southpaws Keeping Tigers in Right Direction


Clemson has gone through the last few seasons with only a
couple of lefthanders on its pitching staff. This year, there were
slated to be five Southpaws on the Tiger roster. However, Chris
Fidrych and William Bond are both out for the season with injuries,
leaving only three active lefties, including sophomore Daniel Moskos
along with freshmen Ryan Hinson and Alex Martin.


Although young, the trio has performed well and given the
bullpen a boost. The three have combined for a 1.45 ERA in 31.0
innings pitched. Moskos has a 1.59 ERA in a team-high nine relief
appearances. Hinson has a 2.08 ERA in five relief appearances,
including pitching 5.0 superb innings in relief of two-hit ball with
six strikeouts to earn the win against Elon on March 21. Martin, a
red-shirt freshman, has made three relief appearances and has not
allowed a run in 5.1 innings pitched.


Tigers Rebound to Sweep Elon in Two Games


Clemson won both games (by scores of 5-3 and 7-4) of a
two-game, midweek series against Elon at Clemson on March 21,22 at
Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson out-hit Elon .258 to .215 and
committed just one error. The Tiger offense also walked nine times
against only four strikeouts and stole eight bases in nine attempts.
Andy D'Alessio had three hits, including two homers, and six RBIs as
well.


In game one on March 21, freshman lefthander Ryan Hinson
pitched 5.0 solid innings in relief to lead Clemson to a 5-3 victory
over Elon. Hinson earned his first career win by pitching the final
5.0 innings, allowing only one run on two hits (both with two outs in
the ninth inning) while striking out six. Five different Tigers had
at least two hits, including D'Alessio, who had a three-run home run
in the third inning that put Clemson ahead for good. The Tigers also
stole five bases, including two by Herman Demmink. Clemson snapped
its three-game losing streak and Elon's six-game winning streak with
the victory.


In game two on March 22, Clemson managed just three hits, but
capitalized on five Elon errors and seven walks in a 7-4 victory.
Clemson scored five runs in the first four innings on only two hits,
then D'Alessio gave the Tigers a three-run cushion with a towering
two-run homer in the seventh inning. Freshman lefty Alex Martin
pitched 3.1 shutout innings in relief to earn his first career win,
while Matt Vaughn, Steve Richard, and Daniel Moskos pitched the final
4.0 innings without allowing a run to close out the game. Moskos
also picked up his first career save. Clemson stole three bases and
did not commit an error as well.

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