Clemson Baseball Preview vs. James Madison


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Clemson vs. James Madison

        Clemson
(0-0), ranked as high as #1 in the nation, will open its 2006 schedule
when it plays host to James Madison (0-0) this weekend in a three-game
series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  Game times are 4:00 PM
(Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 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

        Clemson
and James Madison have met 15 times on the diamond, with the Tigers
holding a 13-2 lead in the series dating back to the 1976 season. 
The two teams last played a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore
Stadium from February 25-27, 2000.  Clemson swept that series by
a combined score of 22-8.  The Tigers have also won seven games
in a row over the Dukes, all at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  James
Madison's last win over the Tigers was on May 10, 1979 at
Harrisonburg, VA by a score of 7-4.

    Clemson leads 12-0 all-time in games
played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett
is 7-0 against the Dukes as Clemson's head coach, all being played
at home.  Leggett and Clemson matched up against a #25 James
Madison team in 1995, as the Tigers came away with 5-0 and 16-6
victories.  Leggett was also 0-2 against James Madison as head
coach at Vermont, therefore is 7-2 all-time versus the Dukes.



The Starting Pitchers

        In game
one, James Madison will start junior righthander Travis Miller on the
mound.  Last year, the Harrisburg, PA native made just two
appearances, both in relief, and allowed one run on four hits in 6.0
innings pitched with eight strikeouts.

    The Tigers will counter with junior
righty Jason Berken on Friday.  The De Pere, WI native missed all
of 2005 due to an arm injury.  In 2004, he was 5-1 with a 2.53
ERA in 10 starts.  He also had a .181 opponents' batting
average.  Clemson has played 74 games and there have been 631
calendar days since Berken's last appearance on the mound.

  In game two, the Dukes will start senior lefty
Greg Nesbitt on the mound.  The Drumore, PA native made five
starts and one relief appearance in 2005.  He was 1-2 with a 7.66
ERA in 24.2 innings pitched, and allowed 37 hits and nine walks with
15 strikeouts.

       Clemson will
counter with junior righthander Stephen Faris on Saturday.  The
Richmond, VA native was 6-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts and 10 relief
appearances in 2005.  He also allowed just 89 hits and 25 walks
with 79 strikeouts in 97.0 innings pitched on his way to earning
Second-Team All-ACC honors.

        In game
three, James Madison will send out sophomore righthander Ryan Reid on
the mound.  The Portland, ME native was 3-5 with a 5.75 ERA in 12
starts and four relief appearances as a freshman in 2005.  He
also allowed 98 hits and 21 walks with 76 strikeouts in a team-high
81.1 innings pitched.

The Tigers will start senior righty Josh Cribb on
Sunday.  The Lake View, SC native was Clemson's best pitcher
during the late stages of 2005, when he had a 3.54 overall ERA and 8-5
record in 15 starts and four relief appearances.  He also yielded
119 hits and 24 walks with 97 strikeouts in 109.1 innings pitched.


James Madison Overview

        The
Dukes are led by ninth-year Head Coach Spanky McFarland and have yet
to play a game this year.  They are coming off a 2005 season with
a 20-35 overall record and 8-16 record in the Colonial Athletic
Conference.

  The team returns 19 lettermen in 2006 while only
losing five, and eight of the nine position starters from a year ago
also return.  Furthermore, the team returns 10 pitchers while
only losing three.

  Senior infielder Nate Schill is one of the team
leaders at the plate.  Last season, the Audubon, NJ native hit
.303 with six homers and 41 RBIs.  He is the brother of Vaughn
Schill, who was a star shortstop at Duke in the late 1990s.

       Senior infielder
Michael Cowgill led the team in homers (14) and RBIs (49) a season
ago.  He also had a .425 on-base percentage and led the team in
slugging percentage (.647).

        Junior
shortstop Davis Stoneburner is the brother of future Tiger righthander
and infielder Graham Stoneburner.  Graham, a Richmond, VA native,
signed with the Tigers this past fall and will be a freshman during
the 2007 season.

    Another Duke has ties to the Clemson
program in junior utility player Mitchell Moses.  He is the older
brother of former Tiger signee Matt Moses, who was drafted in the
first round in 2003 and never enrolled at Clemson.


Clemson Overview

        Clemson
enters the opening series against James Madison ranked #1 in the
nation by Baseball America.  The Tigers are coming off a 43-23
season in 2005 when it came within one win of the College World
Series.  The Tigers return eight position starters, losing only
Kris Harvey.  Harvey was tied for second in the nation in home
runs with 25.  The Tigers also return most of their pitching
staff.

      Two Tigers who will play
prominent roles this weekend against James Madison (located in
Harrisonburg, VA) are natives of Virginia.  Third-baseman Herman
Demmink is from Midlothian, while righthander Stephen Faris, who is
slated to start game two of the series, is from Richmond.


82.6

        That is
the percentage of starts made by Tiger players in 2005 that return in
2006.  Clemson returns eight of its nine position starters,
losing only first-team All-American Kris Harvey.  The Catawba, NC
native was tied for second in the nation in homers with 25 a season
ago, as his power numbers will be missed.  However, all eight
position starters that take the field are back, including freshman
All-Americans Brad Chalk (CF) and Taylor Harbin (2B).  If one
excludes the DH position and just looks at the eight starters in the
field, Clemson returns 96.4 percent of the starts made by Tiger
players in 2005.

        The
pitching staff also returns much of the starts.  Lefthander
Robert Rohrbaugh (16), Harvey (13), a righty, and righthander Jeff
Hahn (2) were all drafted and are not back for 2006, however, all nine
other Tiger hurlers who made an appearance on the mound in 2005
return.  And Clemson is bolstered with the return of righthander
Jason Berken, who missed the entire 2005 season due to injury after he
was expected to be the Friday starter.  The Tigers also welcome
the addition of Steve Richard, who was Maine's #1 pitcher in 2005 on
the Black Bear's NCAA Tournament team.


Tigers Earned 19th Straight NCAA Appearance

        Clemson
finished the 2005 season with a 43-23 overall record, earning its 19th
straight NCAA Tournament appearance.  It was also the 20th
consecutive season the Tigers won at least 39 games.

        Clemson
advanced to the Waco (TX) Super Regional, losing in three games, after
going 3-0 in the Clemson (SC) Regional.  It was the Tigers'
fifth super regional appearance in the seven years of its
existence.



Worth Noting

*       Clemson
will play its first six and last seven regular-season games of the
season at home.  In between, the Tigers will play 20 road games
among the remaining 43 games.

*       With Boston
College giving the ACC 12 teams in 2006 and the fact that each team
still plays only 30 regular-season conference games, each team will
not play a single league foe.  Clemson will not play North
Carolina during the regular season in 2006.


Polls

        Clemson
remained in the #1 spot in the Baseball America poll on Monday,
replacing Texas in the top spot two weeks ago after the Longhorns were
swept in three games at San Diego from February 3-5.  The Tigers
are also #5 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.  There will not be
another Sports Weekly poll released until later this month, as Clemson
was ranked #3 in its preseason poll.

     The #1 ranking is the first
for the Tigers since May 13, 2002, when Clemson was ranked #1 in all
three major polls.  It is the earliest #1 ranking for the Clemson
program in history, as the earliest #1 ranking prior to this was on
March 20, 2000, when Collegiate Baseball had the Tigers #1.  It
is also the 17th week Clemson has been ranked #1 by at least one of
the major polls in just over 12 seasons under Head Coach Jack
Leggett.


Tigers Picked to Finish First in ACC By Coaches

        Clemson
was picked to finish first in the ACC by the 12 league coaches in the
preseason.  The Tigers received eight first-place votes and had
139 points, ahead of second-place Georgia Tech, who had 128 points and
two first-place votes.  North Carolina was picked third with 126
points and two first-place votes.



Baseball America's Bests

        Prior
to each season, Baseball America breaks down the nation's best
players by tools, class, and other superlatives.  This year,
several Tigers are on its lists.

      Among players with the
best tools, Brad Chalk has the ACC's best outfield arm, Andy
D'Alessio is the ACC's best defensive first baseman, and Taylor
Harbin is the ACC's best defensive second baseman.

  Among players by class, righthander David Kopp
is the nation's 16th-best sophomore, Harbin is the nation's
23rd-best sophomore, shortstop Stan Widmann is the nation's
32nd-best sophomore, and Chalk is the nation's 44th-best
sophomore.

      Among future draft
prospects, righthander Jason Berken is rated as the ACC's ninth-best
prospect for the 2006 draft, while Kopp is the ACC's fourth-best
prospect for the 2007 draft.

   Righthander Steve Richard, a transfer from
Maine, is listed as the ACC's fifth-best newcomer as well.


Harbin on Player-of-the-Year Watch List

       
Sophomore second-baseman Taylor Harbin (Travelers Rest, SC) is
one of 120 players on the 2006 Wallace Award Watch List, which goes to
the nation's top player.  He is also a preseason first-team
All-American according to Collegiate Baseball after earning
second-team All-America honors by the same publication in 2005. 
He became the first Tiger freshman in history to earn All-America
honors after hitting .343 with 28 doubles, 10 homers, and 63 RBIs in
starting all 66 games at second base.



Storrer Enters 2006 on a 10-Game Hit Streak

        Senior
outfielder Travis Storrer (Mount Vernon, WA) enters the 2006 season on
a 10-game hitting streak.  He also hit safely in 29 of the last
30 games of the 2006 season.


Berken Returns

        Jason
Berken will make his first appearance on the mound in 632 days when he
starts the opening game of the season on Friday.  The De Pere, WI
native suffered an arm injury that required "Tommy John" surgery
in 2004, causing him to miss the entire 2005 season.  He was
slated to be the Friday starter last season and bolsters an already
strong pitching staff in 2006.

In two seasons, the team co-captain has a 9-3 record
and 2.90 ERA in 18 starts and 11 relief appearances for a total of
105.2 innings pitched.  He also has allowed just a .229
opponents' batting average.


Cribb Control

        Senior
righthander Josh Cribb (Lake View, SC) exhibited excellent control as
both a starter and reliever in 2005.  In 15 starts and four
relief appearances, he had a 3.54 ERA against outstanding
competition.  He also struck out 97 against only 24 walks (four
of which were intentional), good for a 4.0-to-1 strikeout-to-walk
ratio.

        In over
three seasons with the Tiger program, he has made 17 starts and 35
relief appearances for a total of 195.0 innings pitched.  He has
a 3.65 career ERA and has allowed just 45 walks while striking out
174.  His 2.08 walks per nine innings pitched mark is second-best
in school history.  His 3.87 strikeout-to-walk ratio is also
second-best in school history.



Richard on Stopper-of-the-Year Watch List

        Junior
righthander Steve Richard (pronounced rih-SHAHRD) was one of 30
players named to the NCBWA Stopper-of-the-Year Award Watch List on
February 6.  The Billerica, MA native, who transferred to Clemson
in the offseason after starring for two seasons at Maine, is one of
five ACC hurlers on the list.  He made 26 starts and five relief
appearances during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, amassing a 13-3 record
and 2.49 ERA in 170.0 innings pitched.  He is slated for the
closer role for the Tigers in 2006, and is rated as the fifth-best
newcomer in the ACC by Baseball America.

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