Baseball to Play Host to #18 UC Irvine This Weekend


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Clemson vs. UC Irvine


       
Clemson (1-2) will open its home schedule when it plays host to #18 UC Irvine
(6-2) this weekend in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  Game
times are 4:00 PM (Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 12:00 PM (Sunday).  All
three games will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of
Clemson.  Live stats will be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three
games.

 


The Series


       
Friday's game will be the first meeting between the two schools.  It will be
Clemson's first game against a team from the state of California since 2000,
when the Tigers faced Stanford in the College World Series.  It will also be
the first time a team from California will visit Doug Kingsmore Stadium since
1998, when eventual national champion Southern California played the Tigers in
the NCAA East Regional at Clemson.

 




The Starting Pitchers


       
In game one, UC Irvine will start junior righthander Chris Nicoll (2-1, 2.41
ERA) on the mound.  The Santa Maria, CA native has yielded just 14 hits and
four walks while striking out 18 in 18.2 innings pitched in three starts.  He
also has a .197 opponents' batting average.

     
The Tigers will counter with junior righthander Josh Cribb (1-0, 3.00 ERA) on
the mound Friday.  The Lake View, SC native earned the win against West
Virginia in the season-opener last Friday.  He allowed two runs on nine hits
while walking none in 6.0 innings pitched.  It will be Cribb's first ever
start at Doug Kingsmore Stadium and fourth overall in his career.

 
In game two, the Anteaters will send out sophomore righthander Justin Cassel
(2-0, 4.15 ERA) to the mound.  In three starts, the Northridge, CA native has
allowed 24 hits and only one walk while striking out 14 in 17.1 innings
pitched.

    
Clemson will counter with junior lefty Robert Rohrbaugh (0-0, 1.80 ERA)
Saturday.  The Littlestown, PA native allowed just one run on two hits in 5.0
innings pitched at Coastal Carolina last Saturday, but did not factor in the
decision.  Rohrbaugh was the team's most consistent starter in 2004.


UC Irvine's starter for game three has yet to be determined.

   
The Tigers will start junior righthander Kris Harvey (0-1) Sunday.  The
Catawba, NC native suffered only his second career loss against East Carolina
last Sunday, making his career record 10-2.  He allowed five runs on seven
hits in 3.2 innings pitched against the Pirates, but did not walk a batter and
struck out four.

 


UC Irvine Overview


       
The Anteaters, ranked as high as #18 in the national polls, are led by
first-year Head Coach Dave Serrano and enter the series at 6-2.  Last weekend,
they split two games with Brigham Young.  Two weekends ago, they swept #8
Washington in a three-game seires by a combined score of 19-6.  UC Irvine is
coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.

 
The team, which is 2-1 on the road this season, is hitting .299 overall, led
by Jaime Martinez and Matt Anderson, who are both 11-for-29 (.379).  Anderson
has a team-high 10 RBIs, while Mark Wagner has a team-best two home runs.  The
team has done an excellent job getting runners home, as it has left just 49
men on base compared to its opponents' 65.

       
UC Irvine's pitching staff has a 3.18 ERA and .259 opponents' batting
average.  The staff has combined to allow just 18 walks in 73.2 innings
pitched, while striking out 68.  The Anteaters, who have only used eight
different pitchers in 2005, have a total of five saves and three home runs
allowed as well.  Sophomore righthander Blair Erickson, who already owns the
Anteater career saves record, leads the team with two saves.  UC Irvine has
committed only four errors in eight games, good for a stellar .987 fielding
percentage.

 


Clemson Overview


       
Clemson enters the series against UC Irvine after going 1-2 in the Baseball at
The Beach tournament at Myrtle Beach, SC.  Clemson scored all nine of its runs
in the first nine innings in which it batted, but went scoreless in its last
17 innings.


       
The Tigers are hitting .204, led by freshman Taylor Harbin's .417 batting
average.  He hit a double in each of the three games last weekend, and has
three of the team's six doubles.  The Tigers also sport a 4.97 ERA and .273
opponents' batting average along with a 25-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 
Clemson is fielding at a .957 clip as well.

 


California Connection


       
When Clemson faces UC Irvine this weekend, three Tigers, all newcomers, will
be playing a team from their home state of California.  Sophomore
third-baseman Jorge Andrade, Jr. (San Diego), junior righthander Sean Clark
(Los Angeles), and freshman lefthander Daniel Moskos (Alta Loma) are all from
the "Golden State."  Andrade made two starts at third base and came off the
bench in the other, while Moskos made two relief appearances in the Baseball
at The Beach tournament.  Clark is rehabbing an injury, as he hopes to return
by late March.  Clemson also has two Tigers from the state of Washington,
Jesse Ferguson (Redmond) and Travis Storrer (Mount Vernon), giving the team
five players from the West Coast.

 


Tigers Go 1-2 at the Baseball at The Beach


       
Clemson went 1-2 in the Baseball at The Beach tournament at Myrtle Beach, SC
from February 18-20 to open the season.  The Tigers won their opening game 7-2
over West Virginia, but lost the last two games against host Coastal Carolina
and East Carolina.  The Tigers went their last 17 innings without scoring a
run.  Clemson hit .204 combined in the three games, including just 4-for-28
(.143) with runners in scoring position in the tourney and 1-for-15 in the two
losses.  Freshman Taylor Harbin had an impressive debut.  He was 5-for-12
(.417) with three doubles, a walk, and three steals in three attempts.  He
also did not strike out and was errorless in 12 chances at second base.  The
pitching staff had a 4.97 ERA and .273 opponents' batting average, but had 25
strikeouts against only eight walks, better than a 3-to-1 strikeout to walk
ratio.  Junior transfer Adrian Casanova also threw out two of four
basestealers in the tourney.

   
In the season-opener against West Virginia, junior righthander Josh Cribb
pitched 6.0 effective innings to earn the win in the Tigers' 7-2 victory on
February 18.  It was Clemson's first season-opening victory since 2002, as the
Tigers improved to 10-0 all-time against the Mountaineers.  Cribb earned the
victory pitching less than 50 miles from his hometown of Lake View, SC.  He
scattered nine hits and two runs without allowing a walk.  Freshmen Brad Chalk
and Taylor Harbin had two hits apiece to pace the Tigers' 10-hit attack.  A
five-run second inning put Clemson up for good.  Clemson did not commit an
error in 42 chances in the field.  West Virginia had 10 hits, including six
doubles, but could not piece together a big inning.

    
In the second game, pinch-hitter DJ Burns hit a walkoff single in the ninth
inning to give Coastal Carolina a 3-2 win over the Tigers on February 19. 
Clemson scored two runs in the first inning, highlighted by Kris Harvey's
run-scoring single.  The Tigers held the lead until the eighth inning, when
Mike Costanzo's RBI groundout tied the score 2-2.  The Chanticleers, the home
team, then won the game in the ninth.  Costanzo also earned the win in
relief.  Four Tiger pitchers combined to allow just four hits, including two
hits and one run by starter Robert Rohrbaugh.  Clemson stranded 10 runners on
base.


       
In game three, East Carolina scored 10 runs in the first five innings and
cruised to a 10-0 victory on February 20.  Mike Flye limited the Tigers to
just three hits in 7.0 innings pitched to earn the win.  Meanwhile, the
Pirates, coached by former Tiger player and assistant coach Randy Mazey, had
13 hits, including at least one by nine different players.  Tiger starter Kris
Harvey suffered the loss, only the second of his career.

 


Number Nuance


       
Three Tiger freshmen started all three games at the Baseball at The Beach
tourney.  Brad Chalk, Stan Widmann, and Taylor Harbin started "up the middle,"
a rare occurrence for a trio of freshmen.  Coincidentally, all three started
at the same position (designated number) as their jersey number, as #8 Chalk
started in centerfield, #6 Widmann started at shortstop, and #4 Harbin started
at second base.  All three were rated among the top-35 freshmen in the country
by Baseball America in the preseason.




 


Newcomers Make Mark


       
A total of 19 Tigers who had yet to see action in the field in a Tiger uniform
entering the season made the trip to this past weekend's tournament, and 15
saw action in at least one game.  Of the 15 newcomers, six made at least one
start in the field.  Those six combined to make 15 out of a possible 24
position starts.  The newcomers also had 56 of the 93 at-bats (60 percent).

 


Harbin Has Impressive Debut


       
Freshman infielder Taylor Harbin was the Tigers top hitter in the
season-opening tourney at Myrtle Beach last weekend.  In three games, he was
5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles and three steals, while he did not commit
an error in 12 chances in the field.  The Travelers Rest, SC native batted
second in the lineup in all three games behind leadoff batter and fellow
true-freshman Brad Chalk.

 


Rohrbaugh Receiving Little Run Support


       
Junior lefthander Robert Rohrbaugh (Littlestown, PA) continued on February 19
where he left off last year, being the recipient of little run support. 
Against Coastal Carolina, he pitched 5.0 innings, allowing only one run on two
hits.  The Tigers, who were leading at the time of his departure, went on to
fall to the Chanticleers 3-2, therefore Rohrbaugh did not factor in the
decision.


       
Rohrbaugh, who was only 4-5 in 2004 despite being the team's most consistent
starter, received the same lack of run support last year.  In his 12 starts,
he went at least 5.1 innings in all but two of his starts and allowed more
than three earned runs on only three occasions, including a high of five.  But
Clemson scored just 59 runs in the 12 games in which he started, and most of
those runs were scored long after Rohrbaugh had left the game and was not
eligible for a victory.  That equates to just 4.9 runs per game when Rohrbaugh
made a start.  The Tigers averaged 6.9 runs per game overall in 2004.

 


Clemson's Field Rated Tops in the Nation


       
Doug Kingsmore Stadium's playing surface is one of the best in the country
thanks to the dedication of many members of the Clemson Grounds Crew.  Mike
Echols, Supervisor of Athletic Grounds for the past four years and former
Tiger golfer (1981-83), heads up the team that was recently honored.

  
In January of 2005, the American Baseball Coaches Association and Turface
Athletics awarded Echols and the grounds crew, which includes many volunteers,
as having the best collegiate baseball field in the country based on their
exemplary infield and turf maintenance programs.  Clemson received a crystal
trophy recognizing its excellence in maintenance, one ton of Turface MVP
sports field conditioner, and $400 designated for field maintenance equipment.

       
"Mike and his staff exemplify what Clemson is all about," said Head Coach Jack
Leggett.  "They exhibit tremendous pride and a never-ending work ethic.


       
"We play on many fields and are familiar with a lot of grounds crews.  But our
players and coaches always comment that we have the best.  The pride in their
work is far above any I've ever seen.  Our players, coaches, and fans
appreciate their dedication to Clemson Baseball and our facility."

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