Clemson Baseball Preview vs. Florida State


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Clemson vs. Florida State

        Clemson
(27-14, 11-4 ACC), ranked as high as #11, will play host to #24
Florida State (27-16, 6-6 ACC) this weekend in a three-game series at
Doug Kingsmore Stadium after a week off for final exams.  Game
times are 7:00 PM (Saturday), 2:00 PM (Sunday), and 4:00 PM (Monday). 
All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by the Clemson
Tiger Sports Network and can be heard live via the internet at
ClemsonTigers.com.  Live stats will also be available on
Clemson's website for all three games.  On Sunday, youngsters
will be allowed on the field to stand next to their favorite Tiger
during the National Anthem.

     The first two games will also
be televised live.  Saturday's game will be carried by Fox
Sports Net South and Sunday's game will be televised by the Sunshine
Network.  Game three game will be televised by Comcast/Charter
Sports Southeast and will air on the network at 7:00 PM Monday.




The Series

        Clemson
and Florida State have met 95 times on the diamond, with the Seminoles
holding a 53-41-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1958 season. 
Last year at Tallahassee, FL, the Seminoles won the final two games of
the series after the Tigers won the first game 8-4.  Two years
ago, Florida State swept the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 
They have also won 11 of the last 12 games in the series.

    The Tigers hold a 21-13 advantage
over Florida State all-time in games played at Clemson and are 19-9 in
games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  The two teams are tied
18-18 in ACC regular-season games.

        Tiger
Head Coach Jack Leggett is 17-26 against the Seminoles as Clemson's
head coach, including a 10-5 mark at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  All
43 games Leggett has coached against Florida State have been against a
Seminole team ranked in the top 10 by at least one poll.




The Starting Pitchers


        In game
one, Florida State will start sophomore lefthander Hunter Jones (3-2,
3.84 ERA) on the mound.  The Palm Beach Gardens, FL native has
made 12 starts and two relief appearances for 63.1 innings pitched. 
He has allowed just 16 walks while striking out 54.  He is also
holding opponents to a .254 batting average.

  The Tigers will counter with junior lefty Tyler
Lumsden (3-2, 3.49 ERA) Saturday.  The Roanoke, VA native has
started eight games and has pitched 49.0 innings.  Lumsden has
allowed 49 hits and 21 walks while striking out 54, including 19 in
12.1 innings pitched over his last two starts against quality
teams.

   In game two, the Seminoles will start
freshman lefty Brian Schultz (4-0, 2.73 ERA).  The Lakeland, FL
native will be making his first start of his career, as he has made a
team-high 23 relief appearances.  In 29.2 innings pitched, he has
struck out 40 against 16 walks and is holding opponents to a .162
batting average.  He also has a save.

   The Tigers will counter with sophomore
righthander Jason Berken (5-1, 2.09 ERA) on the mound Sunday. 
The De Pere, WI native has started eight games, but has only pitched a
total of 4.0 innings (thanks to being on pitch counts) in his last two
starts after missing over two weeks with pain in his elbow.  In
38.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 21 hits and 17 walks while
striking out 37.  He has gone 23.0 innings pitched over his last
five starts without allowing an earned run.  He is also holding
opponents to a .156 batting average.

       In game three,
Florida State will send out senior righthander Eddie Cannon (7-4, 3.87
ERA).  The Sebring, FL native has started a team-high 13 games
this year and is holding opponents to a .239 batting average.  In
74.1 innings pitched, he has struck out 67 against only 14 walks.

        Clemson will
counter with sophomore lefty Robert Rohrbaugh (2-2, 2.82 ERA) Monday. 
The Littlestown, PA native has made six starts and seven relief
appearances.  In 44.1 innings pitched, he has allowed 39 hits, 13
walks, and no home runs.  In his last five starts, all in ACC
play, he has pitched a total of 33.1 innings, allowing 29 hits and
nine earned runs, including no more than two earned runs in any of
those starts.



Florida State Overview

        Florida
State, led by 25th-year Head Coach Mike Martin, enters the series
after being swept at home by Georgia Tech last weekend.  The
Seminoles sport a 27-16 overall record and 6-6 mark in ACC play, where
they are tied for fifth place with N.C. State (9-9).  Florida
State is also 4-9 on opponents' home fields, but 10 of the 13 games
have been against teams in the top 16.

  The team is hitting .290, led by Eddy
Martinez-Esteve's .382 batting average.  Florida State has hit
55 home runs, led by Esteve's 12 long balls, 13 doubles, and 47
RBIs.  Stephen Drew also has 10 home runs and 30 RBIs to go along
with a .342 batting average.  He has also walked 34 times and has
a .500 on-base percentage.  As a team, Florida State is averaging
5.4 walks per game on offense and has a .397 on-base percentage. 
The Seminoles have stolen 51 bases in 61 attempts as well.

Florida State's pitching staff boasts a 4.31 ERA,
led by Kevin Lynch's 2.29 ERA in 20 relief appearances.  Brian
Schultz has made a team-high 23 relief appearances and has a 2.73 ERA
to go along with 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched.  Four
different Seminoles have accounted for the team's seven saves. 
Rhett James has three saves to lead the squad.  Florida State,
who has ranked atop the ACC in ERA in 10 of the last 11 seasons, has
struck out 362 in 384.0 innings pitched and is holding opponents to a
.252 batting average.  The team is also fielding at a .954
clip.




Clemson Overview

        Clemson
enters the series against Florida State on a six-game winning streak
after sweeping N.C. State last weekend.  The team has also won 18
of its last 22 games and 14 straight at home, including two in walkoff
fashion against the Wolfpack.  The Tigers are 27-14 overall and
11-4 in ACC play, good for second place in the ACC standings.

     Clemson, who is 18-5 at home
this season, is hitting .298 as a team, led by Brad McCann's .383
batting average.  He also has hit 10 home runs and driven in 42
runs in 41 games.  Lou Santangelo has added 12 home runs and 36
RBIs in 40 starts behind the plate, while Tony Sipp has stolen a
team-high 14 bases in just 30 games in the field.  Perhaps the
team's hottest hitting is freshman first-baseman Andy D'Alessio. 
He is 19-for-49 (.388) in his last 14 starts to raise his average to
.308.  He also leads the team with a .326 batting average in ACC
play.

    Sipp has also been one of the
hottest pitchers for the Tigers of late.  The lefty has allowed
just one earned run in his last seven outings (12.2 innings pitched). 
Clemson, whose ERA in conference action is 2.59, has a 3.77 overall
ERA and .251 opponents' batting average.  The staff has also
allowed double-digit hits in just three of the last 19 games and has
not allowed more than five earned runs in 22 straight games. 
Clemson is also fielding at a .966 clip.

       The Tigers have
two players who are natives of the state of Florida, including
D'Alessio (Naples) and Stephen Clyne (Parkland).




Tigers Sweep Wolfpack Thanks to Arms

        Clemson
allowed just seven earned runs and a .192 batting average in a
three-game sweep over N.C. State from April 23-25 at Doug Kingsmore
Stadium.  The Tigers upped their home winning streak to 14 games
and upped its ACC mark to 11-4, 1.5 games ahead of third-place North
Carolina.  Clemson hit .250 in the series, led by Andy
D'Alessio's four hits and four walks in eight at-bats.  Lou
Santangelo also hit two homers.  The Tiger starters allowed just
three runs in 16.1 innings pitched while striking out 18.  The
staff as a whole allowed just two extra base hits all series and had a
2.33 ERA.  The Tigers outscored N.C. State 15-10 in the three
games and won two games with walkoff singles in the ninth inning.

      In game one, the Russell
Triplett lined a one-out single to drive home the winning run and give
the Tigers a 2-1 victory.  The Tigers trailed 1-0 after six
innings, but scored a run after a costly Wolfpack error.  Travis
Storrer's RBI bunt single tied the score in the seventh inning, then
Storrer scored the winning run after a one-out single in the ninth on
Triplett's liner.  N.C. State, who was ranked #3 in the nation
in fielding entering the week, committed three errors, threw two wild
pitches, and balked twice.  Wolfpack starter Michael Rogers and
Tiger starter Tyler Lumsden both pitched gems, but neither factored in
the decision.  Reliever Patrick Hogan earned the win by pitching
1.2 perfect innings.  The game saw just 12 hits combined,
including no extra base hits.

        In game
two, Zane Green hit a deep single to right-center to drive home
pinch-runner C.J. Gaddis and win the game with two outs in the ninth
inning, giving the Tigers a 4-3 win.  Green, who entered the
at-bat just 2-for-34 and on the season and hitless in his last 23
at-bats, hit a 2-2 pitch off closer Joey Devine to win Clemson's
third-straight game in the bottom of the ninth inning and second
straight with a walkoff single.  Jason Berken and Steven Jackson
combined for a no-hitter until the seventh inning, when N.C. State
tacked on a run after trailing 3-0.  The Wolfpack tied the score
3-3 in the eighth inning thanks to a two-run single by Jason St.
Julien.  Storrer hit an RBI triple and Santangelo hit a solo
homer to provide for two of Clemson's first three runs.  Tony
Sipp earned his first career win as a Tiger, while Berken upped his
streak of not allowing an earned run to 23 innings.

  In game three, the Tigers jumped out to a 7-1
lead and held on for a 9-6 win over N.C. State, giving Head Coach Jack
Leggett his 500th win at Clemson in just his 11th season.  After
the two teams traded runs in the third inning, Clemson scored three
runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, highlighted by Brad
McCann's long two-run homer.  N.C. State responded with five runs
in the seventh, thanks to two Tiger errors and a grand slam by Mike
Jensen.  But Sipp, who also stole three bases and scored two
runs, closed the door with 2.0 shutout innings pitched in relief and
Hogan pitched a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save of the season. 
Robert Rohrbaugh allowed two runs on four hits while striking out
seven in 6.0 innings pitched to record the victory.  Santangelo,
who had a game-high three hits and team-high three RBIs, added a solo
homer in the eighth inning.  After the game, the Clemson Grounds
Crew dug up home plate and presented it to Leggett in honor of winning
#500.




Tigers Tough to Beat at Home Under Leggett

        In his
11th season, Head Coach Jack Leggett has a 500-208 overall record at
Clemson, including a 197-98 mark against ACC teams.  He has been
especially tough in home ACC series, where he has a 103-24 (.811)
record.  The conference team with the most success has been
Florida State, who has only won five games in 15 tries at Doug
Kingsmore Stadium.

    Even when an opposing ACC team is
victorious at Clemson, it usually means that team only won one of
three games.  In 43 ACC home series under Leggett, Clemson has
lost only two series, losing two of three to N.C. State in 1996 and
getting swept by Florida State in 2002.  Georgia Tech also split
a pair of games in a rain-shortened series in the 1997 season.




Tigers #9 in RPI

        The
only rating system the NCAA uses to determine selections and seedings
is the RPI, or the Ratings Percentage Index.  Although the NCAA
does not release its official RPI, Boyd Nation has come up with an RPI
index that is all but the same as the official RPI.  He uses
numbers from previous seasons to verify his formulas.

        In the
April 26 release (listed at BoydsWorld.com), his RPI index has Clemson
#9, a five-spot jump from last week and 20-spot jump in the last two
weeks.  The Tigers play one of the toughest schedules in the
nation during the 2004 season.  Clemson can thank a tough
non-conference schedule for its high RPI ranking.  The RPI only
counts games against Division I teams and is for games through April
25.



Leggett Reaches 500-Win Mark at Clemson

        Head
Coach Jack Leggett won his 500th game as Clemson's head coach on
April 25 when the Tigers defeated N.C. State 9-6.  He has a
500-208 (.706) record at Clemson in his 11th season.  The
legendary Bill Wilhelm has the most wins of any Tiger coach with 1,161
in 36 seasons (1958-93) at Clemson.  Leggett's 500 wins are
second-most in school history.  No other Clemson coach has more
than 70 wins while in Tigertown.  Through Leggett's first 10
seasons at Clemson, he had 473 wins.  Only three other programs
had more victories over that span from 1994-03.  Leggett also has
an 877-498 (.638) record in his 25th year as a collegiate head
coach.




Triplett, Green Hit Walkoff Singles

        Against
N.C. State on April 23, Russell Triplett lined a single down the
left-field line in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 2-1 win. 
In the next game, Zane Green, who was hitless in his last 23 at-bats,
hit a ball deep to the gap for a single to give the Tigers a 4-3 win
over the same Wolfpack team in walkoff fashion.  Ironically, the
game before the N.C. State series on April 21, Clemson won the game in
the bottom of the ninth, but not on a walkoff hit.  An error by
the Western Carolina pitcher allowed two runs to score to give Clemson
an 8-7 victory.  Therefore, the Tigers won games in the bottom of
the ninth three times in the span of three games.

        It was
the second time in as many years that Clemson hit walkoff hits to win
games in back-to-back games, as Michael Johnson and Brad McCann hit
walkoff homers in consecutive games in 2003.  Clemson has had a
walkoff hit to win a game 25 times under Head Coach Jack
Leggett.



Closing In

        A big
reason for Clemson's 9-10 start to 2004 was its inability to win
close games, as the Tigers lost those 10 games by a combined 23 runs. 
Through 19 games, Clemson was 0-6 in games decided by two runs or
less, including 0-4 in one-run games.  But in the last 22 games,
which has seen the Tigers go 18-4, Clemson is 6-1 in one-run games to
improve to 6-5 in one-run games overall.  Clemson has lost by
more than four runs just once this year, that being a 7-1 loss to Elon
on March 24.




Rolling Along at Home

        After a
4-5 record in its first nine home games, Clemson has reeled off 14
straight wins at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to improve to 18-5 at home. 
The biggest reason for the home winning streak is the Tiger bats, who
are hitting a combined .333 in the last 14 home games.

        Kris
Harvey is leading the way with a .407 batting average to go along with
eight doubles, five homers, and 20 RBIs.  Brad McCann has added
five homers and 17 RBIs, while Lou Santangelo has five homers and 17
RBIs.




Good Night

        Clemson
is 15-2 in 17 night games this year, including a 10-0 record at home. 
The Tigers are hitting .313 at night, compared to their opponents
hitting just .236 at night.  Clemson's ERA is also 2.93 at
night, compared to its opponents' 6.64 ERA.  Sophomore
righthander Jason Berken has not allowed an earned run in 23.0 innings
pitched (five starts) at night in 2004.



Homebound

        After
playing half of its first 36 games away from home, Clemson is in the
process of playing a 14-game homestand in the friendly confines of
Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  The homestand includes three weekend
series, against N.C. State, Florida State, and Central Florida. 
All three teams have been ranked in the top 25 in 2004.  The
Tigers have won 14 straight home games after starting the season 4-5
and are 5-0 on the current homestand.




Tigers Climb in Poll, ACC Standings

        Clemson
is ranked #11 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll after a 5-0 week
that included a three-game sweep over N.C. State.  The Tigers
also moved into the top 25 of the two other polls.  The Tigers
are #22 according to Baseball America and #25 by Sports Weekly.

        With
the three victories versus the Wolfpack, the Tigers (11-4) are now 1.5
games out of first place and 1.5 games ahead of third-place North
Carolina (11-7).  Virginia leads the ACC with a 14-4 record.




Sipp Raising His Average, Lowering His ERA

        Junior
Tony Sipp (Moss Point, MS), Clemson's only lefthander out of the
bullpen, has been an asset to the Tigers this year.  He has
started 28 games in the outfield and has added speed on the
basepaths.  He leads the team in stolen bases with 14 and has
slowly raised his batting average after struggling at the plate early
in 2004.  Overall, he is hitting .243 and has a 4.39 ERA in 13
appearances.

       
However, he has been a big reason for Clemson's 18-4 record
in the last 22 games, both at the plate and on the mound.  During
that span, he is hitting .300 with seven steals and a .417 on-base
percentage.  He is also 1-0 with a save and a 1.29 ERA in eight
relief appearances (14.0 innings pitched).  During postseason
play, he, along with two-way players Kris Harvey and Collin Mahoney,
will be valuable because each team can only carry 25 players on its
roster.  In effect, Clemson will have 28 players on the
postseason roster.



Lumsden Striking Down the Competition

        Junior
lefthander Tyler Lumsden (Roanoke, VA) has a 3.49 ERA and 3-2 record
in eight starts and one relief appearance this season.  In 49.0
innings pitched, he has struck out 54, good for a 9.92 strikeouts per
nine innings pitched mark.  He has been especially hard to hit in
his last two starts against quality teams (at #10 North Carolia and
against N.C. State).  In those two starts, he struck out 19 in
just 12.1 innings pitched, all the while allowing just one earned
run.

        In five
ACC starts, he has a 3-1 record and 2.48 ERA along with 36 strikeouts
in 32.2 innings pitched.  In his three-year career, Lumsden has a
15-5 record and 189 strikeouts in 193.0 innings pitched.



Hogan Shutting the Door

       
Fifth-year senior righthy and tri-captain Patrick Hogan
(Columbia, SC) has become the Tigers' stopper out of the bullpen. 
In a team-high 16 relief appearances, Hogan has nine saves in 27.0
innings pitched (2.67 ERA).  The nine saves rank tied for
fifth-most in a season in Tiger history and ranks tied for seventh in
the nation entering this week's action.  He has also struck out
40 against only eight walks.  In four years, he has 17 career
saves, third-most in Clemson history.




Berken Battles

        The one
word Head Coach Jack Leggett likes to use when talking about sophomore
righthander Jason Berken (De Pere, WI) is "battler." 
Clemson's Friday starter has done just that this year, as he has a
5-1 record and 2.09 ERA in eight starts.  He has been especially
good in his last five start.  In a combined 23.0 innings pitched,
he did not allow an earned run in those five contests.

        On the
season, he has allowed just 21 hits in 38.2 innings pitched while
striking out 37.  Opponents are hitting only .156 overall and
righthanded batters are hitting only .128 off Berken as well. 
After missing two scheduled starts (at Virginia on April 9 and at
North Carolina on April 16) due to pain in his elbow, he pitched one
(scheduled) inning against Western Carolina on April 21 and 3.0
innings (pitch count) in starting roles.

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