|Final 2008 Clemson Baseball Season Review|
|Press Release - Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:52 AM||
2008 Clemson Baseball Season Review
The 2008 season was filled with its high moments, however, several streaks came to an end. The Tigers, who finished with a record of 31-27-1, did not make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1986 and ended the nation?s third-longest streak of reaching the NCAA Tourney at 21. Nevertheless, Clemson did finish with a non-losing season for the 51st straight year.
The Tigers missed out on the NCAA Tournament due to their 11-18-1 record in ACC regular-season games. It was Clemson?s first losing conference record since 1957. However, 11 of the 18 losses were by two runs or less, as Clemson was very competitive in most league games.
Clemson continued its tradition of playing a rigorous schedule, as 27 of the Tigers? 59 games were against teams that competed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, including 12 games against teams that advanced to the College World Series. The Tigers, whose 31 home games were their fewest since 1993, also played the second-toughest schedule in the country according to WarrenNolan.com and had an RPI of #26 entering NCAA Tourney play. Clemson was the only school in the top 42 of the RPI that did not make the NCAA Tourney.
D.J. Mitchell, a First-Team All-ACC selection, led the pitching staff with 14 starts and six wins. In 20 appearances, he struck out 106 batters in 98.2 innings pitched and finished with a 3.47 ERA. His strikeout total was the highest by a Tiger since 1996 (Kris Benson).
Ryan Hinson and Graham Stoneburner, the only other Tiger pitchers with at least 10 starts, helped anchor the pitching staff during the season. Hinson had a 4.74 ERA in 19 appearances with three wins and one save over 68.1 innings pitched. Stoneburner, who missed the entire 2007 season with an injury, finished the year with six wins in 16 appearances over 71.1 innings pitched.
A young trio of Tiger lefties were key contributors out of the bullpen during the season. Freshman Casey Harman finished with a 3.89 ERA in 44.0 innings over 27 appearances and had a 4.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the sixth-best figure in school history. Freshman Craig Gullickson had four wins in his 19 appearances with a 4.64 ERA over 42.2 innings pitched. Matt Zoltak also had a 4-0 record in 20 appearances.
Matt Vaughn, who totaled 11 saves in a team-high 30 appearances, registered a team-best 3.15 ERA in 40.0 innings pitched and allowed an opponent?s batting average of .256, also best on the squad. His 11 saves were third-most in a season in Clemson history and most since 2000.
Trey Delk came on strong at the end of the year and made 14 appearances (five starts), ending with a 2-1 record and 4.01 ERA. Justin Sarratt made 27 appearances and only allowed six walks in 45.2 innings pitched. His 1.18 walks per nine innings pitched mark was second-best in Tiger history.
Clemson had a talented, but young lineup in 2008, as the top-four hitter were all either freshmen or sophomores, and three of the four were in their first year in the program. Veterans Stan Widmann, Doug Hogan, and Wilson Boyd combined with the youngsters to comprise the majority of the Tigers? regular lineup throughout the season.
Second-baseman Mike Freeman, a sophomore transfer from Georgia, led Clemson at the plate with a .332 batting average and .401 on-base percentage, as he was the leadoff batter during the second of the season.
Freshman left-fielder Jeff Schaus, who played all 59 games, batted .315 and led the team with a .415 on-base percentage. He was even better against ACC competition, as he hit .360 with a .462 on-base percentage in ACC regular-season games, the best marks by an ACC freshman in 2008.
First-baseman Ben Paulsen, in his first year as an everyday starter, batted .310, finished second on the team in homers (13), and led the squad in doubles (18).
Freshman utility player Kyle Parker, also a top quarterback recruit, finished the year as the starting right-fielder and hit .303 with a team-leading 14 homers. Parker was a First-Team All-ACC selection even though he should have been a senior in high school in the spring of 2008. He also earned freshman All-America honors by Collegiate Baseball. Parker batted .336 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in ACC regular-season games. The latter two figures were both second-best in the ACC.
Boyd, who started all 59 games, batted .300 and tied for the team-lead with 70 hits. Hogan joined Boyd as the only two Tigers to start all 59 games, as the catcher and NSCA Strength All-American led the team in RBIs (51) along with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases. Widmann, who returned from a serious neck injury that forced him to miss almost the entire 2007 season, played 54 games, had a team-high 14 stolen bases, and was solid in the field at shortstop.
Other key contributors included Matt Sanders and John Hinson, who split time at third base. Sanders, who finished the season strong by hitting .404 in his last 14 games, ended with a .297 batting average in 46 games, while John Hinson batted .264 in 39 games.
Backup catcher John Nester hit three homers in 30 games, while Chris Epps, who split time in right field, hit .218 in 40 games. However, the freshman had a .406 on-base percentage, second-best on the team, thanks to 30 walks in just 101 at-bats. Alex Lee, who also split time in the outfield, batted .250 in 48 games.
The Tigers were marred by a major injury in 2008. Addison Johnson, who was slated to be the starting centerfielder and leadoff batter, missed the entire year after suffering a hamstring injury just prior to the start of the season. Then in late February, he suffered a hand injury that kept him out of action the rest of the year.
The Tigers had three players selected in the 2008 draft. Mitchell was drafted in the 10th round by the New York Yankees, Hogan was selected in the 18th round by the Texas Rangers, and Ryan Hinson was chosen in the 31st round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The #13 Tigers opened the season with a series sweep of Mercer. In game-one, Widmann made his return in a Tiger uniform and had two hits to help lead Clemson to a 12-5 victory. After a 6-5 win in game-two, the Tigers completed the sweep with a 10-3 win, highlighted by Boyd?s solo homer and three-run homer in the third inning. It was the fourth time in history that a Tiger hit two home runs in an inning. Epps was a key factor in the sweep, as he had a hit in each of his first five collegiate at-bats.
After a 12-3 win over High Point in which Clemson hit four home runs, the Tigers hit three more homers and scored two runs in the eighth inning to win at College of Charleston 7-6 on February 27. Third-ranked South Carolina was up next and swept the home-and-home series from the Tigers by scores of 10-1 and 5-1, as the Gamecocks turned four Clemson errors into seven unearned runs.
After rallying from a five-run deficit to defeat Wofford 9-7, Clemson traveled to Wake Forest to open ACC play. Wake Forest outslugged Clemson 13-11 in game-one, a contest in which every Tiger starter scored at least one run, and also took game-two by a score of 5-3. Hogan went hitless in game-two, ending his 24-game hitting streak (tied for fifth-longest in Clemson history) that started in 2007.
In game-three, Parker put on a show at the plate, going 5-for-5 with three homers, one double, seven RBIs, five runs scored, and 15 total bases in Clemson?s 12-11 comeback win. His last long ball was a three-run shot that tied the score in the ninth inning and helped Clemson overcome a seven-run deficit. He became the 12th Tiger in history to hit three home runs in one game.
Clemson returned home for a midweek series against North Carolina-Greensboro. In game-one, Clemson took an 11-0 lead after a grand slam by Freeman in the sixth inning and held on for an 11-10 win. It marked the first time since 1950 Clemson allowed double-digit runs in back-to-back games and still won both contests. In game-two, the Tigers scored four runs in the ninth inning for a 6-5 comeback victory when Widmann hit a two-out, two-run single to tie the score. Lee later scored the winning run on the play after an errant throw.
The Tigers returned to ACC action, as Boston College traveled to Clemson for the second consecutive year. After the Eagles won the first two games in the series, the Tigers responded with a 16-2 win in game-three. Twelve different Tigers had at least one hit, including five by Boyd, and 11 scored at least one run. However, the two losses dropped Clemson out of all three top-25 polls, ending its 52-week streak (dating back to 2005) being ranked by at least one poll.
Clemson responded with four wins in five games the next week. Hogan led the Tigers to midweek wins against Coastal Carolina and Furman. In a 9-6 win over the Chanticleers, Hogan hit a two-run homer in the first inning and three-run long ball in the second inning. Hogan continued to swing a hot bat in the Tigers? 14-2 win over Furman, as he hit two more homers and drove in six runs. He belted a grand slam in the fourth inning and two-run homer in the fifth inning, making it his second straight game with two home runs. He earned national player-of-the-week honors for his efforts.
N.C. State came to town next, as the Tigers took two games from the Wolfpack. After dropping game-one 5-4, the Tigers responded with a 3-2 comeback win in game-two to even the series. In the decisive third game, Stoneburner pitched a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 Clemson win. Stoneburner only allowed two singles and just one Wolfpack player reached second base in the game. It was the first individual shutout by a Tiger since 2005.
Clemson then won both games of a midweek series against Elon by one run thanks in part to not committing an error. After winning game-one 5-4, the Tigers won game-two 2-1, as three Clemson pitchers combined to retire the last 18 batters of the game to complete the sweep.
Clemson then traveled to Maryland and captured its second straight ACC series. In game-one, Mitchell allowed just five hits and no earned runs in 8.0 innings pitched to lead Clemson to a 2-1 win. But the Tigers had to retire three straight Terrapins with runners on second and third to record the narrow victory. The Tigers dropped a 5-3 decision in game-two, as their 33-inning streak of not allowing an earned run in an ACC game came to an end. Clemson then took game-three by a score of 6-2, as Widmann, making his first career appearance off the bench, hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to plate the go-ahead run. The Tigers added three insurance runs in the ninth inning.
Clemson then took on Georgia in the annual midweek, home-and-home series. In Athens, Georgia cruised to an 11-3 win, as Clemson totaled just four hits in the contest. The following night in Tigertown, Georgia scored two runs with two outs in the seventh inning to defeat the Tigers 6-4.
The Tigers traveled to Coral Gables to take on #2 Miami (FL) over the weekend. After dropping game-one 6-4 on a walkoff homer by Yonder Alonso, Clemson relinquished a 5-2 lead in game-two, as the Hurricanes scored the final 13 runs to win 15-5. Miami completed the sweep with a 7-6 victory and handed Clemson its first ACC sweep since 2006.
The Tigers? struggles continued, as #14 South Carolina defeated Clemson 7-1 on April 9. The lone Tiger run came on Hogan?s solo homer in the first inning.
Clemson continued against top competition, as it welcomed #4 North Carolina to town. The Tar Heels swept all three games from the Tigers. The Tigers were just 4-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the series. After an 8-2 win in game-one, Kyle Seager hit two homers in game-two to lead North Carolina to a 4-3 victory. The Tar Heels completed the sweep with an 8-4 win in game-three.
Western Carolina came to town next and defeated Clemson 6-2 by scoring five runs in the last three innings. Sanders provided the Tigers? lone highlight by hitting his first career home run. The next night, #10 South Carolina came to town and completed the four-game season sweep with a 6-0 win. Boyd won the Bob Bradley Award as Clemson?s MVP in the series for the second consecutive season. The loss extended Clemson?s losing streak to 11 games, the longest in school history.
Clemson then hit the road and traveled to Durham to take on Duke. Clemson pounded out 14 hits and snapped its 11-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory in game-one, then Duke followed with a 10-1 win in game-two. The series remained tied, as the two teams played to a 6-6 draw in 10 innings in game-three.
With Clemson trailing by four runs and down to its last out in the ninth inning, Hogan hit a run-scoring single and Paulsen followed with a three-run homer to send the game to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th inning, Parker hit a two-run homer with no outs in the 11th inning to give the Tigers an 8-6 lead before inclement weather halted play. After over an hour of rain, the game was called due to unplayable field conditions and the final score reverted back to the last complete inning of play. The tie was Clemson?s first since 1987 and first in an ACC game since a 1969 tie against South Carolina.
Clemson made the annual trek to Cullowhee, NC and defeated Western Carolina 6-0 behind Delk?s 7.0 innings of two-hit ball in his first career start. The next night, the Tigers took on Presbyterian at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC. Clemson scored 11 runs in the first three innings and totaled 15 hits in the game en route to a 12-7 victory. It was Clemson?s first meeting with the Blue Hose since 1950.
Virginia Tech then made the trip to Clemson, and the Tigers swept all three games from the Hokies. In game-one, Boyd, Parker, and Paulsen all hit homers, as Clemson won 13-5. The next day, Parker hit a three-run homer, his second long ball of the game, in the eighth inning and Clemson held on for an 8-7 win. The Tigers completed the sweep behind Mitchell?s 7.1 innings pitched of three-hit ball in a 10-2 victory.
After a week off for final exams, #3 Florida State came to town. In game-one, Hogan hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings. Florida State responded with four runs in the 10th inning. Parker pulled Clemson within one with a three-run homer, but the Seminoles held on for a 9-8 win. In game-two, four different Seminoles hit homers in Florida State?s 13-4 victory. Florida State completed the sweep with a 4-2 win.
Clemson returned to Flour Field and defeated Furman by scoring seven of its first eight runs with two outs. Paulsen went 4-for-5 on the way to an 11-5 Tiger win.
The Tigers then traveled to Atlanta to take on #25 Georgia Tech. In game-one, Mitchell pitched a complete game, but the Yellow Jackets outlasted Clemson 5-1. Georgia Tech won game-two 7-1, as John Hinson led the Tigers by going 3-for-4 at the plate. Clemson blasted the Yellow Jackets 16-6 in the series-finale behind 20 hits, as eight different Tigers had at least two hits. Schaus? went 5-for-6, while every Tiger starter had a hit and scored a run by the end of the sixth inning.
The Tigers returned to the Palmetto State for their final home game of the season against College of Charleston. Schaus hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the first inning, and Widmann blasted a three-run homer in the second inning. Later in the game, Widmann hit his second homer, a two-run shot in the seventh inning, and finished with five RBIs. With the 12-6 win, Clemson ran its all-time record against the Cougars to 20-0 and finished the season with an 18-13 home record.
Clemson concluded regular-season play with a non-conference series at Central Florida from May 15-17. In game-one, Mitchell struck out nine in 7.0 innings pitched, and Widmann continued his hot streak with a game-high three hits and three RBIs to lead Clemson to a 9-1 win. In game-two, Parker and Schaus, both freshmen from the state of Florida, each hit homers to lead Clemson to a 7-3 win. The Tigers completed the sweep with an 8-5 win behind a three-run eighth inning.
Clemson entered the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (FL) as the #8 seed and faced the Hurricanes in the opening game. Mitchell stuck out 11 Hurricanes in only 6.0 innings pitched, but ACC Rookie-of-the-Year Chris Hernandez held the Tigers scoreless in 8.0 innings pitched in a 7-1 Miami win. In Clemson?s second game, N.C. State pounded out 17 hits en route to a 10-0 win in seven innings. The win snapped the Wolfpack?s nine-game losing streak to the Tigers in ACC Tournament play.
Clemson ended the tournament on a high note, as the Tigers hit three homers on their way to a 10-4 victory over Georgia Tech. Schaus hit a two-run homer in the second inning, Boyd hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to tie the score, and Paulsen hit his first career grand slam in the seventh inning to give Clemson the lead. The Tigers added three insurance runs in the ninth inning. With the victory, Clemson ended its season with a win for the first time since the 1984 season. It also gave Clemson six wins in its last eight games of 2008.
Clemson fans continued support of the Tigers, as 140,040 fans attended the 30 home dates at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in 2008. The 4,668 fans per game was the third-highest average in Tiger history.
NCAA Tournament Streak Ended at 21
Clemson?s 21-year streak of playing in the NCAA Tournament came to an end in 2008 after the Tigers had a 31-27-1 overall record. It marked the first time since 1986 that Clemson failed to reach the NCAA Tourney. The streak is third-longest in NCAA history.
Clemson ended the season with a 31-27-1 overall record and 11-18-1 ACC mark. Clemson finished fourth in the ACC Atlantic Division and eighth overall in the league. Despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1986, Clemson won six of its last eight games and had a #26 RPI entering NCAA Tournament play.
Clemson batted .285 with a .368 on-base percentage. The team totaled 107 doubles, 10 triples, and 62 home runs along with 56 steals in 81 attempts.
Mike Freeman led the team with a .332 batting average and .401 on-base percentage. Ben Paulsen hit .310 with 18 doubles, one triple, 13 homers, and 49 RBIs. Jeff Schaus batted .315 with a .415 on-base percentage. Kyle Parker also batted .303 with 14 homers and 50 RBIs, while Doug Hogan totaled 17 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, and 51 RBIs on the season.
The pitching staff had a 4.76 ERA and .289 opponents? batting average. Righthander Matt Vaughn struck out 43 against 12 walks in 40.0 innings pitched and had 11 saves in 30 appearances. The Tigers fielded at a .965 clip as well.
? Clemson only played 31 home games in 2008, its lowest total since 1993, when it also played 31 home games.
? The 2008 season marked Clemson?s 51st straight non-losing season.
? Clemson ended its season with a win for the first time since 1984.
? Eleven different Tigers had at least two sacrifice bunts.
For fans who like close games that come down to the wire, Clemson baseball games provided that kind of entertainment in 2008. Of the Tigers? 59 games, 28 were decided by three runs or less and 25 were decided by two runs or less. Clemson had one tie, a 10-5 record in one-run games, 2-7 record in two-run games, and 3-0 record in three-run games. Therefore, the Tigers were 12-12-1 in games decided by two runs or less and 15-12-1 in games decided by three runs or less.
The Tigers had an 11-18-1 ACC regular-season record, but Clemson lost six two-run games and five one-run games along with its one tie against league competition. Therefore, 11 of Clemson?s 18 ACC regular-season losses were by two runs or less.
Tigers Had 52-Week Streak in Polls
Clemson had a streak of 48 consecutive weeks being ranked in the top 25 by at least one of the three major polls dating from 2005 to the end of the 2007 season. And since the Tigers were ranked in the top 25 for the first four weeks in 2008, that streak went up to 52. However, Clemson was not ranked in any of the March 17 polls, ending its 52-week streak. Furthermore, with the Tigers? preseason top-25 rankings in 2008, it marked the 20th straight year that Clemson had at least one preseason top-25 ranking.
Tigers Have 187 Top-25 Wins Under Leggett
Clemson defeated #21 Coastal Carolina by a score of 9-6 on March 18 and #25 Georgia Tech 16-6 on May 11, then Clemson beat the #24 Yellow Jackets 10-4 in the ACC Tournament on May 24, as the Tigers had three wins over top-25 ranked teams in 2008. The Tigers had a 3-17 record against top-25 ranked teams in 2008. In 15 seasons at Clemson, Head Coach Jack Leggett has 187 wins over teams ranked in the top 25. Only four times in his 15 seasons has he had a losing record against teams in the top 25.
Leggett Leading a Consistent Winner
Head Coach Jack Leggett has a 680-309-1 (.687) record at Clemson in 15 seasons. The legendary Bill Wilhelm has the most wins of any Tiger coach with 1,161 in 36 seasons (1958-93) at Clemson. Leggett?s 680 wins are second-most in school history. No other Clemson coach has more than 70 wins while in Tigertown.
Through Leggett?s 15 seasons at Clemson, he has 680 wins. Only four other programs (Florida State, Wichita State, Rice, Miami (FL)) have more wins over that span from 1994-08.
Draw Was First in 21 Years
With a 6-6 tie in 10 innings at Duke on April 20, 2008, Clemson had its first tie since March 22, 1987, a 10-10 draw at Miami (FL). The tie in Durham, NC, which was the 30th draw in Tiger baseball history, was Jack Leggett?s first as a college head coach. It came in his 1,638th career game.
It was also Clemson?s first tie in an ACC regular-season game since April 16, 1969. That game featured a 4-4 draw in 13 innings at South Carolina when the Gamecocks were still in the ACC. Clemson?s other two ACC regular-season ties took place in 1956. On March 26, 1956, Duke and Clemson played to an 11-11 tie. Then on April 14, 1956, the Tigers and Wake Forest played to a 6-6 tie in four-and-a-half innings. Both of those 1956 contests took place at Clemson.
The last Tiger tie in a game played at Clemson was a 6-6 draw in six innings against Kent State in the second game of a doubleheader on March 24, 1969.
Tigers #26 in RPI
Entering NCAA Tournament play, Clemson had an RPI of #26. That rating was the highest of any team that did not make the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Clemson was the only team in the top 42 of the RPI not to make the NCAA Tourney.
The Tigers also played the nation?s #2-toughest schedule according to WarrenNolan.com. Of Clemson?s 59 games, 51 were against teams in the top 100 of the RPI. Clemson was also 8-0 against against teams with an RPI higher than #100. There were 296 schools that played Division I baseball in 2008.
Playing a tough schedule was nothing new for Head Coach Jack Leggett?s Tigers. According to the unofficial RPI at WarrenNolan.com, Clemson?s strength of schedule figures since 2004 have all been among the top 20. The 2004 (#5), 2005 (#4), 2006 (#1), and 2007 (#17) seasons all saw the Tigers play among the nation?s toughest schedules.
Mitchell, Parker Earn All-ACC Accolades
Junior righthander D.J. Mitchell and freshman utility player Kyle Parker were both named First-Team All-ACC in 2008. The team was compiled by a vote of the 12 ACC head coaches.
Mitchell had a 6-5 record and 3.47 ERA in 14 starts and six relief appearances. In 98.2 innings pitched, he allowed 97 hits (.258 opponents? batting average) and 40 walks with 106 strikeouts. He also allowed just 19 extra-base hits, including only five home runs.
Parker, who should have been in his senior year of high school after graduating from Bartram Trail High School in Jacksonville, FL a semester early, was one of only two freshmen to earn first-team honors, joining ACC Freshman-of-the-Year Chris Hernandez, a lefthander from Miami (FL).
Parker was one of the nation?s highest-rated quarterbacks who signed to play football at Clemson. In 2008, he hit .303 with 12 doubles, 14 homers, 50 RBIs, and a .400 on-base percentage in 57 games (55 starts).
He excelled against ACC competition as well. In 29 ACC regular-season games, Parker hit .336 with six doubles, 10 homers, 34 RBIs, and a .441 on-base percentage. He tied for second in homers, was second in RBIs, and was fifth in slugging percentage (.673) in ACC regular-season games among all players.
Attendance Strong Again in 2008
Clemson averaged 4,668 fans in its 30 home dates in 2008, the third-best average in school history, as the Tigers drew 140,040 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson?s top-five average attendance figures have all been established since 2004.
NCAA & ACC Stat Rankings
Two Tigers finished the 2008 season in the top 25 in the nation in a statistical category. Matt Vaughn?s 11 saves tied for 18th in the nation and D.J. Mitchell?s 106 strikeouts tied for 22nd in the nation.
Several other Tigers finished in the top 10 in the ACC in statistical categories. Mitchell was fourth in the ACC in strikeouts, tied for fourth in complete games, sixth in innings pitched, and seventh in ERA. He also led the league in innings pitched in ACC regular-season games. Vaughn was third in the ACC in saves and eighth in appearances as well.
Freshman Kyle Parker tied for sixth in the ACC in home runs and was tied for second in homers in ACC regular-season games. He was also second in RBIs and fifth in slugging percentage in conference contests.
Three Tigers Picked in MLB Draft
Three Tigers were taken in the Major League Draft on June 5,6, 2008. Junior righthander D.J. Mitchell was selected in the 10th round by the Yankees. He became the first Tiger to be drafted by the Yankees since 1990. Mitchell had a 6-5 record and 3.47 ERA in 20 appearances (14 starts) in 2008. He also allowed 97 hits and 40 walks with 106 strikeouts in 98.2 innings pitched. His strikeout total was the most by a Tiger since 1996, when Kris Benson struck out 204.
Senior catcher Doug Hogan was taken in the 18th round by the Rangers. He hit .271 with 11 homers, a team-best 51 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 2008. Hogan was chosen in the 16th round of the 2007 draft by the Indians, but he elected to return to Clemson for his senior season, when he earned his degree in financial management.
Junior lefthander Ryan Hinson was selected in the 31st round by the Pirates. He had a 3-5 record and 4.74 ERA in 19 appearances (10 starts) in 2008. In 68.1 innings pitched, he struck out 62 against only 22 walks.
With the three selections, Jack Leggett has had a total of 73 players drafted in his 15 seasons as head coach at Clemson. Thirteen of those 73 players were drafted twice, meaning a Tiger has been drafted 86 times in his tenure. Thirteen more Tigers have signed free-agent contracts as well.
Freshman Southpaws Similar in Many Ways
Craig Gullickson (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) and Casey Harman (South Burlington, VT) come from vastly different parts of the country, but both have many things in common. Both were freshman lefthanders, and both were versatile in that they provided innings out of the bullpen as long relievers and both gave the Tigers spot starts in weekday games.
Their statistics were very similar as well. In 42.2 innings pitched over six starts and 13 relief appearances, Gullickson had a 4.64 ERA and allowed 22 earned runs and 14 walks with 33 strikeouts. Harman pitched 44.0 innings over two starts and 25 relief appearances. He allowed 19 earned runs (3.89 ERA) and 10 walks with 44 strikeouts. Therefore, the two combined for 77 strikeouts against only 24 walks in 86.2 innings pitched.
Boyd Goes Deep Twice in One Inning
Sophomore outfielder Wilson Boyd (Hickory, NC) hit just two home runs, both on the road, as a freshman in 2007. The 5?8?, 175-pounder easily surpassed that total in 2008, as he hit 11 home runs in 59 games in 2008. Boyd hit .300 with 12 doubles, one triple, 11 homers, and 44 RBIs. He also had a 14-game hitting streak and 10-game hitting streak in 2008.
In the series-finale against Mercer on February 24, Boyd highlighted a nine-run third inning in the Tigers? 10-3 win. In the frame, he hit a one-out, solo homer to right field. Later in the inning, he hit a two-out, three-run homer to right field to cap the scoring. It was just the fourth time in school history that a Tiger hit two home runs in an inning. The other three occurrences all came against Maryland, including Brooks Shumake (1982), Chuck Baldwin (1986), and Kyle Frank (2003).
Boyd also received the 2008 Bob Bradley Award as Clemson?s MVP in the four-game series against South Carolina. He went 6-for-16 (.375) with a double and stolen base in four starts against the Gamecocks. He won the same award in 2007 as well.
Delk Solidified Pitching Staff
Junior righthander Trey Delk (Elgin, SC) became one of Clemson?s top pitchers in the latter stages of 2008. The first-year Tiger played at Spartanburg Methodist College for two seasons (2006,07).
Against #10 South Carolina on April 16, he pitched the final 5.2 innings, allowing four hits, one unearned run, and one walk with three strikeouts.
In his next outing at Western Carolina on April 22, he made his first career start. In that game, he picked up his first career win by tossing 7.0 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in the Tigers? 6-0 win against a Catamount team that entered the game hitting .314 on the season.
Then at #25 Georgia Tech on May 11, he allowed just three hits, two runs, and one walk with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched to earn his first-ever ACC victory in the Tigers? 16-6 win. He did so on a day that saw strong winds blowing straight out.
With his impressive appearances late in the season, he ended the year with a 4.01 ERA in five starts and nine relief appearances in 2008. In 42.2 innings pitched, he allowed 46 hits (.271 opponents? batting average) with 34 strikeouts.
Delk spent his first season after high school with the South Carolina program in 2005. He did not pitch in any games and received a red-shirt that year. In two relief appearances against the Gamecocks in 2008, he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing only four hits, no earned runs, and two walks with five strikeouts against one of the nation?s most-potent lineups.
Epps Stepped Up Early
Freshman outfielder Chris Epps (Stone Mountain, GA) made an instant impact in his first collegiate series against Mercer on February 23,24. In three games, he was 6-for-10 (.600) with five runs scored, a homer, four RBIs, and three walks to help the Tigers to a sweep of the Bears.
Epps was 3-for-3 with a walk in the season-opener, then he had a hit in each of his first two plate appearances the following game. Therefore, he had a hit in each of his first five official at-bats and reached base safely in each of his first six plate appearanes.
On the season, Epps hit .218, but he had a solid .406 on-base percentage thanks to 30 walks and two hit-by-pitches in just 101 at-bats. His walk per every 3.37 at-bats was the fifth-best mark is school history.
Freeman Made Successful Transfer
Sophomore infielder Mike Freeman (Orlando, FL) was in his first season at Clemson after spending the 2007 season at Georgia, where he hit .237 in 48 games (40 starts). But in 2008 in a Tiger uniform, his average climbed substantially.
He led the team with a .332 batting average along with a .401 on-base percentage in 54 games (52 starts). In ACC regular-season games, his batting average was even better. He batted .350 with a .406 on-base percentage in league games. In May, he had a streak of five games with two hits in each game. He also had at least two hits in eight of the last 10 games of 2008.
Hinson?s Big Week Led to ACC Honor
Junior lefthander Ryan Hinson (Rock Hill, SC) got back to his winning form in two outings in the last full week of March. In two appearances, including one in relief, he earned a save and victory, as he pitched 9.0 innings, allowing just six hits, two runs, and one walk with 11 strikeouts. He also faced just 33 batters (six over the minimum). For his efforts, he earned ACC Co-Pitcher-of-the-Week honors.
He earned a save against Elon on March 26 by pitching 2.0 perfect innings in relief with three strikeouts. Then in a start at Maryland on March 30, he pitched 7.0 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts to earn the win.
On the season, Hinson was 3-5 with a save and 4.74 ERA. In 68.1 innings pitched over 10 starts and nine relief appearances, he allowed 22 walks with 62 strikeouts.
Hogan Had 24-Game Hitting Streak
Senior catcher Doug Hogan (Columbia, SC) ended 2007 on a 15-game hitting streak, and he had a hit in each of the first nine games of 2008, meaning he had a 24-game hitting streak. The streak came to an end in the first game of a doubleheader at Wake Forest on March 9.
His 24-game hitting streak tied for fifth-longest in Clemson history. During the streak, he was 39-for-99 (.394) with 11 doubles, a triple, seven homers, and 25 RBIs. Hogan, one of three team captains, was one of only two seniors on the 2008 squad.
Hogan hit .271 with 17 doubles, three triples, 11 homers, a team-best 51 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 59 games in 2008. He was one of only two Tigers (joining Wilson Boyd) to start every game in 2008.
One of his highlights of the season came in game-two of the series against Virginia Tech on April 26. With the Tigers trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning, he belted a two-out, three-run homer to tie the score. The Tigers eventually won that game 8-7 and swept the Hokies.
Hogan Went Off in Consecutive Games
Doug Hogan hit two home runs in back-to-back games in March. Against #21 Coastal Carolina on March 18, he hit a three-run homer and two-run homer, as he hit two homers with five RBIs against the Chanticleers. Then two days later in Clemson?s next game against Furman, he hit a grand slam and two-run homer, as he hit two homers with six RBIs against the Paladins. Therefore, he hit two home runs in back-to-back games, totaling four homers and 11 RBIs in those two contests. Hogan was named Eye on the Golden Spikes National Player-of-the-Week by USA Baseball thanks in part to his efforts in those two games.
Johnson Missed 2008 Season
Sophomore centerfielder Addison Johnson (Pfafftown, NC) missed the entire 2008 season. Johnson suffered a hamstring injury just prior to the start of the 2008 season. Then in late February, he suffered a hand injury that kept him out of action the rest of the year. Johnson received a red-shirt in 2008 and will return in 2009 as a red-shirt sophomore.
Johnson, slated to be Clemson?s leadoff batter in 2008, hit .286 with 35 runs scored, eight doubles, five triples, one homer, 23 RBIs, and eight steals in 61 games (58 starts) as a freshman on the 2007 team that played in the Starkville (MS) Super Regional. He hit .309 in ACC regular-season games and was one of the hottest Tigers in postseason play, as he hit .471 in five NCAA Tournament games.
Mitchell Kept Things Grounded
Junior righthander D.J. Mitchell (Rural Hall, NC) has a penchant for groundball outs. With the sinking action on all his pitches, he has made his mark by keeping the ball down in the strikezone and forcing opponents into groundball outs.
In 2007, his first season to appear on the mound in a Tiger uniform, he had 69 groundball outs compared to just 31 flyball outs. In 2008, he had similar results, as he threw 116 groundball outs and 53 flyball outs. Therefore in his career, he has 185 groundball outs compared to only 84 flyball outs, better than a 2-to-1 ratio.
In 2008, Mitchell had a 6-5 record and 3.47 ERA. In 98.2 innings pitched over 14 starts and six relief appearances, he allowed 97 hits (.258 opponents? batting average) and 40 walks with 106 strikeouts. The 106 strikeouts were the most by a Tiger since 1996, when Kris Benson had 204.
His stats in ACC regular-season games were even better. He had a 4-3 record, 3.03 ERA, and .250 opponents? batting average in 10 starts against league foes.
Against Virginia Tech on April 27, he pitched one of his best games as a Tiger to earn the win. In 7.1 innings pitched, he allowed just three hits (all singles), no earned runs, and four walks with 10 strikeouts in Clemson?s 10-2 victory.
Nester Made Most of His Opportunities
Freshman catcher John Nester (Greer, SC) played 30 games, including only seven starts, and totaled 39 at-bats in 2008, but he made the most of his opportunities, as he hit three home runs. Twice he came off the bench and hit long balls, including against Mercer on February 24 when he hit a solo homer, and when he hit a two-run homer against High Point on February 27. He also hit a solo homer against North Carolina-Greensboro on March 12 to help Clemson come back for a 6-5 victory.
On the season, Nester was 10-for-39 (.256) with three homers and five RBIs. With starting catcher Doug Hogan playing his final season at Clemson in 2008, Nester is in line to compete for the starting job behind the plate in 2009.
Parker Hits Three Homers in One Game
Freshman Kyle Parker (Jacksonville, FL) had an afternoon to remember in the second game of a doubleheader at Wake Forest on March 9. He entered the game with just one homer and two RBIs in his first eight games as a Tiger.
In his ninth game, Parker went 5-for-5 with a school-record-tying three home runs, a double, five runs scored, seven RBIs, and 15 total bases against the Demon Deacons. He hit a two-run double in the second inning, a solo homer in the fourth inning, another solo home run in the sixth inning, and a single in the eighth inning. He then stepped up to the plate with the Tigers trailing 11-8 in the ninth inning and hit a towering three-run home run, his third of the game, to tie the score. Clemson scored another run in the ninth inning to rally from an 11-4 deficit to win 12-11 in the series-finale.
Parker became the 12th Tiger in history to hit three home runs in a game and the first since Taylor Harbin accomplished the feat as a freshman at N.C. State in 2005. Denny Walling, who played in the Major Leagues for 18 years, also hit three homers in a game at Wake Forest in Clemson?s 7-2 win on April 19, 1975. Eight of the last nine Tigers to hit three homers in a game have done so on the road.
On the season, the utility player batted .303 with 44 runs scored, 12 doubles, 14 homers, and 50 RBIs. He was named First-Team All-ACC thanks to those numbers.
The fact that he donned a Tiger uniform at all in 2008 is a story in itself. Parker, a standout quarterback who was rated as the #34 prospect in the nation on the gridiron by ESPN.com, graduated from high school a semester early to enroll at Clemson in January. In fact, he should have been playing for the baseball team at Bartram Trail High School in the spring, 2008 semester.
Parker is on a football scholarship at Clemson and was with the Tiger gridders during spring practice along with playing on the diamond.
Parker Excelled Against the ACC
Kyle Parker was at his best in ACC regular-season games in 2008. Overall, the freshman utility player hit .303 with 12 doubles, 14 homers, and 50 RBIs in 57 games (55 starts). But in ACC regular-season games, he hit .336 with six doubles, 10 homers, and 34 RBIs along with a .673 slugging percentage. In ACC regular-season games, he tied for second in the league in homers, was second in RBIs, and was fifth in slugging percentage.
Those numbers do not count a two-run homer he hit in the 11th inning at Duke on April 20 in a game that reverted back to the score at the end of the 10th inning due to unplayable field conditions. The ACC was arguably the top conference in the nation in 2008. All that for a player who should have been in his senior year of high school.
Parker Named ACC Player-of-the-Week
Kyle Parker was named ACC Player-of-the-Week for his performances during the last full week of April. The freshman utility player batted .375 with six runs scored, two doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs, six walks, a .545 on-base percentage, and 1.063 slugging percentage in five games.
In the three-game series against Virginia Tech from April 25-27, he went 5-for-10 (.500) with five runs scored, two doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs, and three walks against no strikeouts to lead the Tigers to the sweep. He had a 1.600 slugging percentage and .615 on-base percentage as well.
In game-two of the series on April 26, he went 3-for-4 with a double, two homers, and five RBIs, including the game-winning, three-run homer in the eighth inning, in Clemson?s 8-7 win. The only time he was retired was when he flied out to the fence in left field, just missing another long ball.
Parker a First-Team Freshman All-American
Utility player Kyle Parker was named a first-team freshman All-American by Baseball America. Parker, listed as the first-team designated hitter, joined Miami (FL) lefthander Chris Hernandez as the only two ACC players to make the first team.
The Jacksonville, FL native and Tiger quarterback hit .303 with 12 doubles, 14 homers, 50 RBIs, and a .400 on-base percentage in 57 games in 2008. Parker, who led the team in home runs, also batted .336 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 29 ACC regular-season games. He tied for second in the ACC in homers and was second in RBIs in ACC regular-season contests.
Parker was the first Tiger to receive freshman All-America accolades since 2005, when Brad Chalk and Taylor Harbin were honored. Parker was also named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.
Paulsen Emerged as a Sophomore
Sophomore first-baseman Ben Paulsen (Acworth, GA) hit .310 with 18 doubles, one triple, 13 homers, and 49 RBIs in 2008. He also had a good eye at the plate. Paulsen walked 27 times and was hit-by-pitch six times, therefore he had a .393 on-base percentage. He led or tied for the team-lead in runs scored (46), hits (70), doubles, and slugging percentage (.571).
Despite the Tigers suffering a three-game sweep at #2 Miami (FL) in the first weekend in April, Paulsen shined. He went 6-for-12 (.500) with one double, two homers, and seven RBIs in the series. He had at least two hits, one run scored, and one RBI in each of the three games against one of the nation?s best teams. Paulsen also hit a two-out, three-run homer at Duke on April 20 to tie the score 6-6.
Against Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC on May 7, he went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored, and two RBIs. He has performced especially well at Fluor Field. In three career games there, he is 9-for-13 (.692) with three doubles, one homer, seven runs scored, and seven RBIs.
Sanders Got Hot at the Right Time
Junior infielder Matt Sanders (New Bern, NC) picked a good time of the year to get hot at the plate. After his batting average was sitting at .235 at the end of April, he saw it climb to near .300 by the end of the season. In his last 14 games, he hit a team-best .404 (19-for-47) with nine runs scored, three doubles, one homer, and seven RBIs.
Sanders was a big reason Clemson swept Central Florida in Orlando from May 15-17. In game-two of the series, he had a career day. He went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs in Clemson?s 7-3 win. Then in the series-finale, his eighth-inning, solo homer tied the score 5-5. The Tigers went on to win 8-5. In the three-game series at Central Florida, he was 5-for-10 (.500) with a double, homer, and three RBIs.
Overall in 2008, he hit .297 with nine doubles, two homers, 18 RBIs, and a team-tying-high six sacrifice bunts. He was also outstanding defensively at third base, as he committed only five errors and had a .951 fielding percentage. He also hit .310 in ACC regular-season games.
Sarratt a Steady Sophomore
Sophomore righthander Justin Sarratt (Gaffney, SC) was a big reason the Tigers were 10-5 in one-run games in 2008. In 45.2 innings pitched over two starts and 25 relief appearances, Sarratt had a 4.34 ERA and allowed just six walks with 26 strikeouts.
He made two relief appearances during Clemson?s three-game sweep at Central Florida in May. In a combined 3.1 innings pitched, he allowed just two hits, no runs, and no walks while earning a win on May 17.
Sarratt established his name in the top 10 in the school recordbook in two single-season categories in 2008. His 1.18 walks per nine innings pitched mark was second-best in school history, while his 4.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio was seventh-best in Tiger history.
Schaus Led Team in On-Base Percentage
Freshman outfielder Jeff Schaus (Naples, FL) hit .315 in 59 games (58 starts) in 2008. He also found his way on base at an outstanding rate, as he had a team-best .415 on-base percentage thanks to a team-high 33 walks.
Starting with the Duke series from April 18-20, when he went 8-for-13 (.615), he was on a tear. He had at least two hits in seven straight games and hit safely in 19 of the last 22 games, including a 12-game hitting streak at one point. During those 22 games, he was 36-for-90 (.400) with 25 runs, five doubles, three homers, 17 RBIs, a .466 on-base percentage, and two stolen bases. Schaus also raised his season batting average 63 points from .252 to .315 in the last 22 contests.
Schaus was among the league?s best freshman hitters. In ACC regular-season games, he hit .360 with a .462 on-base percentage. Both those figures led the team. They also were the best marks in the ACC by a freshman.
He had a career day at #25 Georgia Tech on May 11. In Clemson?s 16-6 win, he went 5-for-6 with a double, two runs scored, and four RBIs.
Stoneburner?s Long Wait Over
Red-shirt freshman righty Graham Stoneburner (Richmond, VA) had to wait quite a while to make his debut on the mound. After missing his senior season at Mills E. Godwin High School due to injury, he suffered a torn ACL just prior to the 2007 season at Clemson.
After receiving a medical red-shirt in 2007, he started on the mound against Mercer on February 24 and pitched 5.0 scoreless innings of three-hit ball (all singles) to earn the victory. Stoneburner also allowed only one walk with three strikeouts.
In 2008, he had a 6-5 record and 5.55 ERA in 14 starts and two relief appearances. He also walked just 21 batters with 52 strikeouts in 71.1 innings pitched.
Stoneburner?s numbers at home were outstanding. In 39.2 innings pitched in seven starts at home, he had a 5-2 record and allowed just 33 hits (.226 opponents? batting average), 10 earned runs (2.27 ERA), and 10 walks with 26 strikeouts.
Stoneburner Tossed Shutout vs. N.C. State
Graham Stoneburner pitched a two-hit shutout in Clemson?s 2-0 victory over N.C. State at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 23. In 9.0 innings pitched, he allowed just two singles (one of which was an infield hit), no runs, and one walk with seven strikeouts in throwing 118 pitches and facing only 31 batters. He earned Perfect Game National Pitcher-of-the-Week and ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors for his effort.
He did not allow an N.C. State baserunner to reach third base, while only one advanced to second base in the game, which lasted only one hour and 58 minutes. The individual shutout was the Tigers? first since June 4, 2005, when Josh Cribb blanked #22 College of Charleston 6-0 in the Clemson Regional.
Stoneburner also picked up two wins in two starts during one week against North Carolina-Greensboro and Boston College the week prior to his outing against the Wolfpack. In 9.0 innings pitched during those two outings, he combined to allow just six hits, one run, and one walk with eight strikeouts. He also faced just 31 batters.
Closing Suited Vaughn Well
Junior righthander Matt Vaughn (Summerville, SC) served as a middle reliever and spot starter during his first two seasons at Clemson. But in 2008, he became the Tigers? closer, and he did the job very well.
Vaughn, who had a team-best 3.15 ERA in 29 relief appearances and one start, had 11 saves in 2008. The 11 saves were third-most in a season in school history. In 40.0 innings pitched, the team co-captain allowed 40 hits (.256 opponents? batting average) and 12 walks with 43 strikeouts.
Widmann Made Triumphant Return
Junior shortstop Stan Widmann (Hurst, TX) overcame a serious neck injury that forced him to miss all but six games in 2007. He was healthy in 2008 and made a successful return to the lineup against Mercer in the season-opening series. He was 4-for-11 (.364) with three runs scored as the leadoff batter and did not commit an error in 11 chances in the field.
Overall in 2008, he hit .238 with 10 doubles, one triple, two homers, 29 RBIs, and a team-high 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He has been outstanding on the basepaths during his entire career, as he has swiped 39 bases in 42 career tries. He is also a perfect 17-17 on stolen bases in ACC regular-season games in his career.
One of his highlight of the 2008 season came against North Carolina-Greensboro on March 12. With two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, he stepped to the plate with the Tigers trailing 5-3. He lined the first pitch through the left side for a two-run single to tie the score. On the play, a throwing error allowed Alex Lee, who started the play at first base, to score the winning run.
On May 13 against College of Charleston, he hit a three-run homer in the second inning and two-run homer in the seventh inning. They were his first two home runs of the season and were a part of a five-RBI night.
The fact that he returned at all was a testament to the outstanding physical condition Widmann was in when he suffered the injury. He was forced to wear a halo for months during his rehabilitation. Head Coach Jack Leggett could relate, as he also suffered a serious neck injury and had to wear a halo after a skiing accident in 1999.
Tigers Opened Season By Sweeping Mercer
Clemson, ranked #13 in the country, swept Mercer in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on February 23,24. The Tigers outscored the Bears 28-13, as 16 of Clemson?s runs came in the third inning. Clemson hit .350 against Mercer?s .238 batting average and walked 14 times while striking out just 10 times. Chris Epps went 6-for-10 to lead the Tigers, while Wilson Boyd was 5-for-12 with three homers and six RBIs. Doug Hogan added five hits, including three doubles and a homer, as well. Clemson played outstanding defense, committing just one error, and had a 4.00 ERA in the series.
In game-one on February 23, which was the first game of a doubleheader, Clemson totaled 16 hits and broke open the game with five runs in the third inning en route to a 12-5 victory over the Bears. Wilson Boyd, Doug Hogan, and Epps all had three hits apiece, while Alex Lee added two hits and four RBIs. Boyd and Hogan both hit two-run homers as well. Stan Widmann added two hits and two runs scored after missing all but six games the year before due to a serious neck injury. Starter Ryan Hinson picked up the win, as he allowed two runs on five hits in 5.0 innings pitched.
In game-two on February 23, which was the second game of a doubleheader, the Tigers scored a combined six runs in the second and third innings and held on for a 6-5 win over Mercer. The Bears took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning only to see the Tigers respond with four runs in the bottom of the second inning, highlighted by Hogan?s bunt single and subsequent throwing error that scored two runs. Epps added a two-run homer in the third inning, his first at Clemson, giving him a hit in each of his first five at-bats as a Tiger. The Bears scored a run in the ninth inning, but they could get no closer. Starter D.J. Mitchell earned the win, as he allowed just three hits and three runs in 5.0 innings pitched. Matt Vaughn also earned the save.
In game-three on February 24, Clemson scored nine runs in the third inning and cruised to a 10-3 win over Mercer to sweep the series. Boyd hit a solo homer and three-run homer in the frame to become just the fourth Tiger in history to hit two long balls in an inning. The first batter of the third inning was retired before Clemson broke the game open with nine runs on eight hits. John Nester added his first career homer in the seventh inning as well. Starter Graham Stoneburner pitched 5.0 scoreless innings of three-hit ball to earn the win in his first outing as a Tiger.
Clemson Toppled High Point 12-3
Behind four home runs, #13 Clemson blasted High Point 12-3 on February 27 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Ben Paulsen started the scoring with a three-run homer in the first inning. In the seventh inning, Kyle Parker, Wilson Boyd, and John Nester all hit homers in the Tigers? six-run inning. Paulsen was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and two walks, while Stan Widmann added three of Clemson?s 14 hits. Seven Tigers took the mound, including starter Craig Gullickson, who did not allow an earned run in 3.0 innings pitched to earn his first career victory. The Tigers also turned three double plays.
Clemson Rallied Late to Top Cougars 7-6
Clemson, ranked #13 in the nation, hit three homers and scored two runs in the eighth inning to rally past College of Charleston 7-6 at Patriots Point Stadium on February 29. With the Tigers trailing 3-0, Wilson Boyd and Doug Hogan hit back-to-back homers to tie the score in the third inning. Ben Paulsen?s solo homer in the sixth inning gave Clemson the lead, but the Cougars scored three runs in the seventh inning to regain the advantage. However, J.D. Burgess? RBI double and College of Charleston?s subsequent error on the play gave the lead back to the Tigers. Matt Vaughn pitched 2.0 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to record the save. Hogan, Paulsen, and Kyle Parker each had three hits to lead Clemson?s 13-hit attack, which included seven extra-base hits.
Gamecocks Took Two From Tigers in March
South Carolina, ranked #3 in the country, won both games of a home-and-home series over #13 Clemson on March 1,2. The Gamecocks outscored the Tigers by a combined score of 15-2 and outhit Clemson .329 to .250. South Carolina turned four Tiger errors into seven unearned runs. Alex Lee was 4-for-5 in the two games, while Wilson Boyd added four hits in eight at-bats. The two Clemson starting pitchers combined to allow just two earned runs in 11.1 innings pitched as well.
Reese Havens hit a grand slam and totaled five RBIs to lead South Carolina to a 10-1 victory over Clemson at Sarge Frye Field on March 1. Havens? two-out grand slam in the second inning came after a costly error, one of two by the Tigers that led to six unearned runs in the game. Clemson totaled eight hits but could not string them together, as it left nine runners on base to the Gamecocks? four. J.D. Burgess? double in the seventh inning plated Lee for the Tigers? lone run. Lee also went 2-for-2 with a walk. Mike Cisco pitched 7.1 strong innings to earn the win. Ryan Hinson suffered the loss even though he allowed just six hits, one earned run, and no walks with five strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched.
Blake Cooper and Curtis Johnson combined to limit Clemson to one unearned run on nine hits in South Carolina?s 5-1 win over Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 2. The Gamecocks scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning before the Tigers cut their lead in half in the bottom of the sixth on a South Carolina error. But the Gamecocks added a run in the seventh inning and two more in the ninth inning to cap the victory. Five Gamecocks had at least two hits, as they totaled 14 in the game. Boyd had three of the Tigers? nine hits, but Clemson was 1-for-18 with runners on base and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Clemson Rallied to Top Wofford 9-7
Clemson, ranked #17 in the nation, rallied from a 7-2 deficit to defeat Wofford 9-7 on March 5 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Terriers scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning thanks in part to three Tiger errors, then Clemson responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the score. Wilson Boyd?s two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning gave the Tigers the lead for good. Clemson outhit the Terriers 14-11, as Ben Paulsen and Jeff Schaus each had three hits. Matt Zoltak pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts to pick up the win, while Matt Vaughn pitched a perfect ninth inning to record the save. Five Tiger pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts as well.
Wake Forest Took Two in ACC Opener
Clemson, ranked #17 in the nation, lost two of three games against Wake Forest at Hooks Stadium on March 8,9. The Tigers hit .293, while the pitching staff had a 9.36 ERA. Wake Forest outscored the Tigers 29-26, as the three games were decided by a combined five runs. The Demon Deacons also hit .472 with runners in scoring position in the series. Kyle Parker was 5-for-8 with six runs scored, a double, three homers, and seven RBIs, while Matt Sanders was 4-for-8 with three RBIs in the series.
In game-one on March 8, Wake Forest outslugged Clemson 13-11 behind Allan Dykstra?s 4-for-4 performance with two homers and three RBIs. Clemson trailed 3-0 but rallied to take a 7-4 lead in the fourth, highlighted by Doug Hogan?s three-run homer. However, Wake Forest scored the next nine runs to take a 13-7 lead, including five runs in the sixth after the first two batters of the frame were retired. Clemson clawed its way back to a two-run deficit with four runs in the seventh, but the Tigers left runners at second and third base in the ninth. Sanders led Clemson?s 12-hit attack with three hits and three RBIs, while every Tiger starter scored at least one run on a day with strong winds blowing out to right field.
In game-two on March 9, which was the first game of a doubleheader, Wake Forest scored four runs in the sixth inning to defeat Clemson 5-3. D.J. Mitchell and Casey Harman limited Wake Forest to just five hits, but they combined to allow five walks. Demon Deacon starter Garrett Bullock only allowed five hits and three unearned runs in 7.1 innings pitched to earn the win. The Tigers scored two runs in the eighth inning, but they came up short thanks to leaving eight runners on base against five for Wake Forest.
In game-three on March 9, which was the second game of a doubleheader, Parker hit three homers with seven RBIs in Clemson?s 12-11 comeback win over Wake Forest. Parker, who went 5-for-5 with five runs scored, a double, and 15 total bases, became the 12th Tiger in history to hit three homers in a game, as his last was a three-run shot that tied the score in the ninth. Stan Widmann?s two-out, run-scoring single later in the frame scored the winning run. The Tigers, who were behind by seven runs at one point, trailed 11-5 entering the eighth inning, but they scored three runs in the eighth and four runs in the ninth. Four Tiger pitchers held Wake Forest scoreless and hitless in the final four innings, as Trent Rothlin earned his first career win and Matt Vaughn recorded the save.
Tigers Won Two Close Games Over Spartans
Clemson, ranked #24 in the nation, won two one-run games against North Carolina-Greensboro at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 11,12. The Tigers outscored the Spartans 17-15 and outhit them .313 to .310. Ben Paulsen was 4-for-8 with two homers and four RBIs in the series, while Kyle Parker, Mike Freeman, and Stan Widmann added three hits apiece.
In game-one on March 11, Clemson built an 11-0 lead through six innings and held on for an 11-10 win over North Carolina-Greensboro. Paulsen hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Freeman hit a grand slam, his first career home run, in the sixth inning. But the Spartans scored six runs in the seventh inning and four runs in the ninth inning. They had the tying run on first base before Matt Vaughn struck out Tim Carrier to end the game and earn the save. Clemson?s 4-7 hitters (Paulsen, Parker, Jeff Schaus, Freeman) combined for 11 hits and eight RBIs, including five by Freeman. The win marked the first time since 1950 that Clemson allowed double-digit runs in back-to-back games and still won both contests.
In game-two on March 12, Clemson scored four runs in the ninth inning to defeat North Carolina-Greensboro 6-5. The Tigers trailed 5-2 entering the ninth inning before Paulsen led off with a home run. Three walks loaded the bases, then Widmann hit a two-out, two-run single to left field to tie the score. The errant throw to the plate allowed Alex Lee to score the winning run. John Nester added a solo home run in the eighth inning. The Spartans outhit the Tigers 9-6, but four Spartan pitchers combined for seven walks. Matt Zoltak picked up the win in relief with a perfect ninth inning.
Boston College Edged Clemson Twice
Clemson, ranked #24 in the nation, lost two of three games against Boston College from March 14-16 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers outscored the Eagles 26-15 and outhit Boston College .351 to .250. Wilson Boyd went 10-for-16 (.625) with two doubles, a triple, six RBIs, and four stolen bases in the series. Clemson also had a 2.67 ERA and struck out 27 against just four walks in the series, but it committed five errors that led to seven unearned runs and two losses by a combined three runs.
In game-one on March 14, Tony Sanchez?s two-run homer in the seventh inning lifted Boston College to a 6-4 victory over Clemson. The Tigers held a 3-2 lead entering the seventh inning, but a costly throwing error on a routine groundball and a two-out flyball that fell for a run-scoring double preceded Sanchez?s long ball. Clemson outhit the Eagles 12-8, stole four bases, and had 15 batters reach base, but the Tigers hit into three double plays. Eagle starter Terry Doyle scattered 10 hits in 6.0 innings pitched to earn the win. Tiger starter Ryan Hinson allowed just two earned runs and one walk with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched, but he suffered the loss. Boyd had a game-high three hits and two stolen bases, while Doug Hogan added two hits and two RBIs.
In game-two on March 15, Boston College scored five runs in the final two innings and held on for a 7-6 victory over Clemson. The Tigers scored three runs in the first two innings, but the Eagles scored the game?s next seven runs. Garret Smith?s two-out, run-scoring single in the eighth inning put Boston College ahead for good. After the Eagles added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, Boyd hit a two-run triple and Hogan hit a run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Tigers fell one run short. Michael Belfiore went 3-for-5 with four RBIs to pace the Eagles, who outhit Clemson 12-9. Jeff Schaus was 3-for-4 to lead the Tigers. Clemson committed three errors that led to four unearned runs.
In game-three on March 16, Clemson scored seven runs in the first inning and nine runs in the sixth inning in its 16-2 victory over Boston College. The Tigers? eight-hit first inning was highlighted by John Hinson?s two-run triple, while the seven-hit sixth inning was highlighted by Kyle Parker?s two-run homer. Parker was 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while Boyd went 5-for-6 with two doubles and two RBIs to lead Clemson?s 19-hit attack. Twelve different Tigers had at least one hit and 11 scored at least one run. Starter Graham Stoneburner allowed three hits, one run, and no walks with eight strikeouts in 6.0 innings pitched to earn the win.
Hogan Led Tigers Over Chanticleers 9-6
Doug Hogan hit two homers and drove in five runs to lead Clemson to a 9-6 victory over #21 Coastal Carolina on March 18 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers built an 8-0 lead after two innings, as Hogan hit a two-run homer in the first inning and three-run long ball in the second inning. John Hinson also added his first career home run, a two-run shot in the second inning. The Chanticleers narrowed the score to 9-6 on Tommy Baldridge?s two-run homer in the ninth inning, but it was not enough. Five of Clemson?s six hits went for extra bases. Wilson Boyd?s 14-game hitting streak came to a