Clemson Baseball Preview for Myrtle Beach Regional


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Tigers #2 Seed in Myrtle Beach Regional

        Clemson
(38-21), ranked as high as #13 in the nation, is the #2 seed in the
Myrtle Beach (SC) Regional.  The Tigers are joined by #1-seed
Coastal Carolina, #3-seed Saint John's, and #4-seed Virginia
Commonwealth.  The double-elimination tournament will be held at
Coastal Federal Field from June 1-4.

    The Tigers will open up against
Saint John's (40-17) on Friday at 12:00 PM.  Clemson will be
the home team and occupy the third-base dugout.  Coastal Carolina
(48-11) and Virginia Commonwealth (37-21) will play Friday at 4:00
PM.  The two losers will play Saturday at 12:00 PM, while the two
winners will play Saturday at 4:00 PM.  The winner of the second
game Saturday will play in the championship round Sunday at 4:00 PM,
while the loser of the second game Saturday will play the winner of
the first game Saturday at 12:00 PM on Sunday.  If the unbeaten
team loses Sunday, the same two teams will play a game on Monday at
7:05 PM to determine the Myrtle Beach Regional champion.  All
games of the regional will be televised by ESPNU.

        The
winner of the Myrtle Beach Regional will play the winner of the
Tallahassee (FL) Regional from June 8-11.  The four teams in that
regional are #1-seed Florida State, #2-seed Mississippi State, #3-seed
Stetson, and #4-seed Bethune-Cookman.



Clemson's NCAA Tournament History

        The
2007 season marks Clemson's 33rd trip to an NCAA Regional dating
back to the 1947 season.  That year, Clemson actually advanced to
the Final Eight of the NCAA Tournament, but it is not considered a
College World Series season because only two teams went to the CWS in
those days.

     Clemson won the 1947 District
III Tournament in Charlotte by coming through the losers' bracket. 
The Tigers, coached by Randy Hinson, lost in the first round to
Alabama 8-2, then came back with a win over Auburn and two wins over
Alabama to advance.  Clemson's season ended when Yale, led by
future President George H.W. Bush, defeated the Tigers in New Haven,
CT by a score of 7-3.  Bush was 1-for-3 as the starting first
baseman.

        Clemson made
its first trip to Omaha and the College World Series in 1958 when the
Tigers again came through the losers' bracket.  After losing to
Florida in the first round, Clemson came back to defeat George
Washington, Florida State, and Florida twice to advance under first
year Head Coach Bill Wilhelm.  Clemson defeated Florida 15-14 and
3-1 on June 9 to advance.  Harold Stowe struck out 17 in that
second game on June 9, and that is still a Clemson single-game record
for strikeouts in an NCAA Tournament game.

  The Tigers advanced to Omaha in 1959, this time
with three easy wins; one over Georgia Tech and two over Florida
State.  One of the wins over the Seminoles was a 24-2 victory at
Gastonia, NC.  That tally is still tied for the most runs scored
by Clemson in an NCAA Tourney game.

        The
Tigers did not advance to Omaha again until 1976.  In fact,
Clemson made just one NCAA Tournament appearance between 1960 and
1974.  That was in 1967 when Clemson reached the Regional
Championship, but lost to Auburn 6-5.

       Clemson made it to
Omaha three out of five years between 1976-80.  Clemson won a
regional in Columbia, SC in 1976 with three straight victories, then
came through the losers' bracket in Miami (FL) in 1977 to advance to
Omaha.  The 1980 season was the first year Clemson played host to
a regional, as Clemson swept three games by scoring 45 runs, including
17 in a 17-12 win over South Carolina.

        Clemson
has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since the 1987 season,
making College World Series appearances in 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000,
2002, and 2006.  Clemson's streak of 21 consecutive regionals
is the third-longest streak in NCAA history, behind only Miami (FL)
(35) and Florida State (30).

     Overall, Clemson has been to a
regional in 33 seasons, sixth-best all-time.  Clemson's
all-time record in NCAA play is 94-68, a 58.0 winning
percentage.

        Clemson
is 49-28 (.636) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play,
including a 32-5 record (.865) in home NCAA Tourney games. 
Leggett has taken Clemson to a regional all 14 years he has been
Clemson's head coach, and the Tigers have advanced to the College
World Series five times.  Leggett has also taken Clemson to a
super regional six of the first eight years that format has been in
existence.


Tigers Earn 21st Straight NCAA Appearance

        Clemson
enters the 2007 NCAA Tournament with a 38-21 overall record, earning
its 21st straight NCAA Tournament appearance.  The streak is
third-longest in NCAA history.


Scouting #1-Seed Coastal Carolina

       
Top-seed and #10-ranked Coastal Carolina (48-11) enters the
Myrtle Beach Regional after capturing the Big South Conference
Tournament title at Rock Hill, SC last weekend.  The
Chanticleers, who are 31-3 at home, had a 17-4 record during their
conference regular season.  The 2007 season marks the seventh
time in school history they have played in an NCAA Tournament.

Coastal Carolina is led by 12th-year Head Coach Gary
Gilmore.  After suffering a four-game losing streak in April, the
team has gone 20-4 in the last 24 games.

Coastal Carolina is hitting .322 with a .414 on-base
percentage, thanks to 273 walks, and 72 home runs.  The
Chanticleers, who are fielding at a .971 clip and have allowed just 23
steals, have totaled a remarkable 110 sacrifice bunts and 62 stolen
bases in 84 attempts as well.

   Tommy Baldridge is hitting a team-best
.393 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs.  David Sappelt is batting .366
with 17 doubles, seven triples, 10 homers, and 49 RBIs, while Chris
Raber is hitting .329 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs.  Dom Duggan
leads the squad with 27 sacrifice bunts, while Derek Martin (19), Matt
Rademacher (18), Raber (11), and Tyler Bortnick (10) have also totaled
double digits in sacrifice bunts.

     The pitching staff has a 3.41
ERA and .260 opponents' batting average.  The staff has also
totaled 19 saves and 372 strikeouts against only 135 walks. 
Sophomore righthander David Anderson has a team-high 10 saves along
with a 3.25 ERA in 28 appearances.

  Clemson and Coastal Carolina have met 40 times
on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 34-6 lead in the series
dating back to 1986.  The two teams had played every year since
1988 until 2006, when they did not play.  However, the two teams
played at Clemson earlier this year on March 7, and the Tigers came
away with a 4-0 victory.

  In 2005, the Tigers won both games of a
two-game, midweek series at Clemson by scores of 14-5 and 8-1. 
Earlier that season in a tournament in Myrtle Beach, SC at Coastal
Federal Field, the Chanticleers won 3-2.  That was just the
second game of the careers of current Tiger junior starters Taylor
Harbin and Brad Chalk.

        Prior to
that 2005 game, the previous 19 games in the series were played at
Clemson.  Clemson is 26-4 against the Chanticleers in games
played at Clemson and 21-4 against Coastal Carolina under Head Coach
Jack Leggett.

      Clemson has an 8-2 lead
in the series in games played at Coastal Carolina.  In addition
to Coastal Carolina's win in 2005 in Myrtle Beach, Clemson's other
loss was on February 16, 1986 by a score of 9-3.

     Clemson opened the 1989 season
at Coastal Carolina with a 22-5 win.  Clemson had 10 doubles in
that game, still the Clemson single-game record for doubles. 
Mike Couture had three of those doubles to tie a school single-game
record.

        Clemson won
20 games in a row over Coastal Carolina between March 27, 1990 and May
7, 1999.  The Chanticleers broke the streak with a 4-2 win at
Clemson on May 8, 1999.  Since the 20-game Clemson winning
streak, the Tigers have a 9-4 advantage in the series.

        If
Clemson and Coastal Carolina meet in the NCAA Regional this weekend,
it will be the second time in two weeks that the two schools have met
in an NCAA Tournament.  On May 19 in Atlanta, GA at the Golf Club
of Georgia Lakeside Course, the two schools tied for 10th at the NCAA
East Regional golf tournament.  Only 10 teams advance to the NCAA
National Tournament, so Clemson and Coastal Carolina faced off in a
playoff.  Coastal Carolina defeated Clemson by one stroke on the
fourth playoff hole to win the final berth to the NCAA Tournament. 
The playoff took two hours and 35 minutes to play, just four minutes
shorter than the baseball game between the two schools played at
Clemson earlier this year.



Scouting #2-Seed Clemson

       
Second-seed and #13-ranked Clemson (38-21) enters the NCAA
Tournament coming off two wins in three games at the ACC Tournament. 
Clemson was 18-12 during the ACC regular season, finishing in second
place in the Atlantic Division.  Clemson is making its 21st
straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the third-longest streak in NCAA
history, and 33rd overall.

      The Tigers, who are 10-9
on opponents' home fields and 3-1 in neutral-site games, are led by
14th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett.  His 646 wins are fourth-most
in college baseball during his tenure.  The Tigers are also 9-7
against top-25 ranked teams in 2007, including winning eight of their
last 10.

    The team is hitting .288 with a .372
on-base percentage.  Brad Chalk is hitting a team-best .385 with
a .514 on-base percentage.  Doug Hogan is hitting .327 with 11
homers and 41 RBIs, while Marquez Smith is batting .325 with 11 homers
and 50 RBIs.  Andy D'Alessio has hit a team-best 14 homers,
while Taylor Harbin has added nine homers and 55 RBIs.

  The pitching staff has a 3.66 ERA and .259
opponents' batting average.  It has combined to strike out 497
against 214 walks.  Daniel Moskos has a team-high six saves and
3.12 ERA, while Stephen Clyne has a 2.34 ERA along with three saves in
29 relief appearances.  The team is fielding at a .972 clip as
well.


Scouting #3-Seed Saint John's

       
Third-seed Saint John's (40-17) enters the NCAA Tournament
after winning one of three games in the Big East Conference Tournament
at Brooklyn, NY last weekend.  The team, who was 20-7 in
conference regular-season games, started the season 0-7, but has gone
40-10 since.  One of those wins came against #8 Rice on March 6,
a 7-6 victory at Houston, TX.  Saint John's, who is 17-5 on
opponents' home fields and 2-8 in neutral-site games, is making its
30th NCAA Tournament appearance, eighth-most in NCAA history.

Saint John's is led by 12th-year Head Coach Ed
Blankmeyer.  The last time Clemson played against Saint John's
in 1993, Clemson's starting first baseman was current Red Storm
Assistant Coach Mike Hampton.  Hampton had a 2-for-4 day with a
double and RBI, and added 14 putouts.  Hampton played two seasons
for the Tigers (1993,94) and had a career batting average of .341. 
He played in 121 games, including 106 as a starter, and totaled 14
homers and 92 RBIs.  He also had 34 doubles and 42 stolen
bases.

Hampton was a first-team All-American by Collegiate
Baseball and NCBWA, and a Second-Team ABCA and Baseball America
All-American in 1994 when he helped Clemson to a 57-18 record, still
the second-most wins in a season in school history.  Clemson was
ranked #1 in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament that year, but
the Tigers did not reach the College World Series.  Jack Leggett
was an assistant coach in 1993 in Hampton's first year, then was the
head coach in Hampton's second season at Clemson.

   Saint John's is hitting .330 with a .398
on-base percentage and 81 stolen bases in 109 attempts.  Gil
Zayas is hitting .363 with 21 doubles and 53 RBIs, while Brian Kemp is
batting .361 with a team-high 25 steals.  Sam DeLuca is hitting
.352 with 18 doubles and 45 RBIs, and has walked 22 times against only
eight strikeouts.  Anthony Smith has added 11 homers and 47 RBIs
as well for Saint John's, who is fielding at a .968 clip.

  Senior first-baseman Ryan Mahoney, a transfer
from South Carolina, is hitting .304 with 13 homers and 58 RBIs, both
team-highs.  Mahoney is the brother of former Tiger catcher and
righthander Collin Mahoney (2002-04), who played on Clemson's 2002
College World Series team.

       The pitching staff
has a 3.47 ERA and .262 opponents' batting average.  It has
also allowed just 20 homers and 161 walks with 398 strikeouts. 
Sophomore righthander Colin Lynch has a 2.45 ERA and 11 saves in 24
relief appearances.

  Clemson and Saint John's have met on the
baseball diamond five times, all in the Bill Wilhelm era.  Four
of the previous five have taken place at neutral sites.

        The first
meeting was held at Clemson on the last day of March in 1975. 
Bob Mahony, who is currently an associate director with IPTAY,
Clemson's athletic scholarship fundraising department, pitched a
five-hit shutout in leading Clemson to a 4-0 victory.  Mahony
struck out six and walked five in recording the only shutout of his
Tiger career.  Future 15-year Major Leaguer Denny Walling had a
2-for-3 day with an RBI, while Billy Wingo added a pair of hits.

        The two
teams played a pair of games at Boardwalk & Baseball in Orlando,
FL in 1988.  The Tigers won the first game on May 22 by a score
of 16-1.  Future Major League pitcher Mike Milchin had a 4-for-6
day at the plate as a first baseman, and Mike Couture had a 3-for-4
day with the team's only home run, as Clemson scored seven runs
during the first two innings.

     Clemson won the second game of
the two-game series by a score of 6-5 the next day in a game that was
nationally televised on ESPN.  The Tigers scored two runs in the
eighth inning and two in the bottom of the ninth to capture the win. 
Randy Mazey doubled home the tying run, then scored the winner on a
wild pitch with two outs.

       The teams played a
third game that year in the NCAA Tournament.  ESPN televised the
game in Orlando between the two teams, then did not televise the NCAA
meeting played in New Britain, CT, just 15 minutes from ESPN
headquarters.  Clemson defeated Saint John's 11-1 in the third
round game at Beehive Stadium.  Alan Botkin pitched a complete
game, and allowed eight hits and one run.

  Henry Threadgill was the hitting star for the
Tigers with a 5-for-5 day at the plate, tying the Clemson record for
hits in an NCAA Tournament game.  He also had a Clemson NCAA
game-record three stolen bases and added four RBIs.  Clemson was
10-10 on the basepaths in the game.  Again, Couture hit
Clemson's only home run.

       The Red Storm won
the last meeting on March 16, 1993 in Fresno, CA.  Saint John's
scored six runs over the first three innings to gain the victory over
Clemson starter Mike Holtz, who went on to pitch seven years in the
Major Leagues.  Dexter McCleon, who is still a cornerback in the
NFL with the Houston Texans, had a 3-for-5 day with a double to lead
the Tiger offense.  Leadoff batter Jeff Morris had three hits as
well.

        Current
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett has faced Saint John's just once,
and it was in the NCAA Tournament.  As head coach at Western
Carolina on May 25, 1985, his Catamounts defeated Saint John's 9-6
in a third-round NCAA Tournament game in Columbia, SC.  It was
Leggett's second career win in NCAA Tournament play.


Scouting #4-Seed Virginia Commonwealth

       
Fourth-seed Virginia Commonwealth (37-21) enters the Myrtle
Beach Regional after winning the Colonial Athletic Association
Tournament title last weekend.  After amassing an 18-11
conference mark during the regular season, the Rams went 4-0 in their
conference tournament to earn the league's automatic bid into the
NCAA field.  The 2007 season marks their ninth appearance in the
NCAA Tournament as well.

    Virginia Commonwealth, led by
13th-year Head Coach Paul Keyes, has a 12-11 record on opponents'
home fields and 3-0 record in neutral-site contests.  The Rams
opened the series with one win in four games at #18 San Diego. 
After an 8-1 loss to #5 Virginia on April 10, the Rams' record stood
at 19-14.  But they have gone 18-7 since, including their current
five-game winning streak.  Virginia Commonwealth has not lost
more than two games in a row all season as well.

    The team is hitting .303 with a .377
on-base percentage, 28 home runs, and 99 stolen bases in 137
attempts.  Virginia Commonwealth is also fielding at a .967
clip.

     Jard Bolden is hitting a
team-best .393 with five homers, 49 RBIs, and 17 steals.  Sergio
Miranda is batting .370, while Chris Jackson's batting average
stands at .339 along with a team-best 56 RBIs.  Kwan Evans has
added a team-high 18 stolen bases as well.

      The pitching staff has a
4.47 ERA and .275 opponents' batting average along with 366
strikeouts against 166 walks.  Junior righthander Luke Pisker has
a 9-1 record, 1.87 ERA, and 11 saves in 30 relief appearances. 
In 62.2 innings pitched, he has allowed just 41 hits (.189 opponents'
batting average) and 22 walks with 54 strikeouts.

  Clemson has never faced Virginia Commonwealth on
the diamond.  Virginia Commonwealth played in the 1998 East
Regional at Clemson, SC, but the Tigers and Rams did not meet in the
six-team regional.

    Head Coach Jack Leggett has faced
Virginia Commonwealth twice.  As head coach at Vermont, Leggett
and the Catamounts defeated the Rams in both meetings.



Worth Noting

*       Clemson
started the season just 1-5 against top-25 ranked teams.  But in
the last 10 games against top-25 ranked teams, the Tigers are
8-2.



Polls

        Clemson
jumped to the #18 spot in the Baseball America poll and #13 in the
Collegiate Baseball poll on Monday after going 2-1 in three games last
week.  Clemson also dropped to #17 in the Sports Weekly
poll.

        The
Tigers' #1 ranking by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball on
February 12 was their first since February 27, 2006, when Clemson was
ranked #1 by those same two polls.  The Tigers have been ranked
#1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the major polls in Head Coach Jack
Leggett's 14th season at Clemson.


29

       
That's how many of Clemson's 59 games have been against
teams that will play in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, which equates to
over 49 percent.  Clemson has a 15-14 record against the teams in
the field, including an 8-8 record away from home.  The Tigers
have played 10 different teams that are in the tournament. 
Clemson has played one top-eight national seed in Florida State, and
the Tigers were 3-1 in four meetings with the Seminoles, all games
played in the state of Florida.


Juniors Started at Coastal Federal Field

        The
trio of Taylor Harbin, Stan Widmann, and Brad Chalk were a staple
"up the middle" on defense for the Tigers their first two seasons. 
Though Widmann has missed most of 2007 due to a neck injury, those
three juniors played their first games as Tiger freshmen at Coastal
Federal Field in Myrtle Beach, SC to open the 2005 season in Baseball
at The Beach.

    The Tigers opened up against West
Virginia in the round-robin tournament on February 18.  The
Tigers defeated the Mountaineers 7-2 behind Harbin's 2-for-4
performance.  In fact, Harbin hit a double in his first plate
appearance as a Tiger, the first of his 67 career doubles.  Chalk
was 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the game as well.

       The Tigers fell in
their next two games in the tourney, including a 3-2 loss on D.J.
Burns' walkoff single in the ninth inning.  East Carolina then
handed Clemson a 10-0 defeat.

       In the three-game
tourney, Harbin was 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles and three
steals, Chalk was 3-for-12 (.250) with a double and two RBIs, and
Widmann was 1-for-10 (.100).

       Junior pitchers
Daniel Moskos and David Kopp along with catcher Doug Hogan also made
their debut in a Tiger uniform in the tournament.

       
Sophomore lefthander Ryan Hinson has some history at Coastal
Federal Field as well.  After the Rock Hill, SC native's senior
year at Northwestern High School, he played in the South Carolina
North/South All-Star game at Myrtle Beach.  He earned MVP honors
in the game for his efforts on the mound and at the plate.


Fielding Near Record Pace

        The
six-highest team fielding percentages by a Tiger team have occurred in
the last seven years, including the record of .9725 in 2006.  The
high percentages are a testament to the countless hours Head Coach
Jack Leggett and the players spend on fielding, whether during
practice or on the players' own time.  This season is no
different.  Clemson has committed 66 errors in 59 games, good for
a .9717 fielding percentage.  That mark is just behind the
school-record mark set in 2006.


Clemson Set Home Attendance Record

        For the
fourth year in a row, Clemson set the school record for average home
attendance.  The Tigers drew 163,537 fans for their 34 home dates
in 2007, an average of 4,810 per date.  That mark broke the
previous record of 4,742, set in 2006.



Burgess Bringing It to the Plate

       
Freshman second-baseman J.D. Burgess (Pickens, SC) has been
steady all season in the field, but he is one of the hottest Tigers at
the plate of late.  It all started in Clemson's comeback win
over #2 Florida State on May 12.  Entering the game with a .183
batting average, he was 2-for-2 to help the Tigers to a thrilling 7-6
victory.  Including that game, Burgess has hit safely in eight of
the last nine games and is 12-for-29 (.414) with seven runs scored
during that stretch.  He has raised his season average to
.238.

        Burgess
also has a solid .974 fielding percentage, committing just five errors
in 190 chances.  He got his shot to play every day when shortstop
Stan Widmann went down with a season-ending neck injury in February,
and regular second-baseman Taylor Harbin moved to shortstop.



Kopp Earns All-ACC Tournament Honors

        David
Kopp earned All-ACC Tournament honors for his gem against #3 Florida
State on May 26.  The Margate, FL native led Clemson to a 5-1
victory in front of a Jacksonville, FL crowd comprised mostly of
Seminole fans.  It was Clemson's third win in four meetings
against Florida State in 2007, all games played in the state of
Florida.

  All he did was pitch a complete game, allowing
just six hits, one unearned run, and no walks with seven strikeouts
against the nation's best hitting team in terms of batting average. 
Florida State entered the tourney with a team batting average of
.360.

        It was
also a special performance considering the opposing pitcher. 
Seminole starter Bryan Henry entered the tournament with a 14-0 record
in 2007 and the most victories in the nation.  But the Tiger
junior outpitched the ACC Pitcher-of-the-Year, as Kopp nearly missed a
shutout when Florida State scored an unearned run in the ninth
inning.


Clemson Goes 2-1 in ACC Tournament

        Clemson
went 2-1 in the ACC Tournament at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville
(FL) from May 23-26.  The Tigers defeated #25 Miami (FL) 5-4 in
13 innings, then fell to Wake Forest 3-2.  Clemson rebounded to
defeat #3 Florida State 5-1, but did not advance to the ACC Tournament
Championship Game due to the tiebreaker in the new round-robin
format.  Clemson, who outscored its opponents by a combined score
of 12-8, hit .262 with a .360 on-base percentage in the tourney. 
Marquez Smith had two hits in each game and was 6-for-13 (.462) in
all.  J.D. Burgess was 4-for-10 (.400) as well.  The Tiger
pitching staff had a 1.50 ERA and .220 opponents' batting average
along with not allowing a home run.

    In the Tigers' first game of the
ACC Tournament on May 23, Alex Lee scored Addison Johnson on a suicide
squeeze bunt with one out in the 13th inning to lift Clemson to a 5-4
victory over #25 Miami (FL).  The Hurricanes scored a run in the
top of the 13th, but the Tigers tied the score on Burgess'
run-scoring single in the bottom of the 13th.  After Brad Chalk
was intentionally walked to load the bases, Lee bunted a 1-0 pitch
between the mound and third base, as Johnson easily scored the winning
run.  Alan Farina picked up the win in relief, as he allowed just
one hit and one unearned run with six strikeouts in 3.2 innings
pitched.

  In Clemson's second game of the ACC Tournament
on May 25, Brett Linnenkohl hit a walkoff single in the ninth inning
to lift Wake Forest to a 3-2 win over Clemson.  Clemson built a
2-0 lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, including a
run-scoring double by Doug Hogan in the fourth.  But the Demon
Deacons scored single runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. 
Wake Forest loaded the bases in the ninth thanks in part to two Tiger
errors, then Linnenkohl grounded a single up the middle with no outs
to plate the winning run.  Clemson totaled just six hits and was
only 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

        In the
Tigers' third game of the ACC Tournament on May 26, junior
righthander David Kopp pitched a complete game to lead Clemson to a
5-1 win over #3 Florida State.  The Margate, FL native pitched
his first career complete game, allowing six hits, one unearned run,
and no walks with seven strikeouts to earn All-ACC Tournament honors. 
The Tigers also handed Bryan Henry his first loss in 15 decisions in
2007.  Four of Clemson's five runs came with two outs,
including Johnson's two-out, run-scoring single in the second inning
that put the Tigers ahead for good.  Taylor Harbin was 2-for-4
with two runs scored, while Chalk added a triple and two RBIs.

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