Clemson Baseball Preview vs. North Carolina
Clemson vs. North Carolina
Clemson (5-2), ranked as high as #19 in the nation, will travel to Chapel Hill to take on #2 North Carolina (8-1) in a three-game series at Boshamer Stadium this weekend in both team’s ACC opener. Game times for the top-20 battle are 3:00 PM (Friday), 2:00 PM (Saturday), and 1:00 PM (Sunday). The Friday and Saturday games will be shown live via webcast at ACCSelect.com. All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games.
Clemson and North Carolina have met 168 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 93-74-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1902 season. The Tigers have not played at North Carolina since the 2004 season, when Clemson won two of the three games.
In 2008 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tar Heels swept Clemson by a combined score of 20-9. The Tar Heels also beat Clemson in the 2006 College World Series, giving them a current four-game winning streak over Clemson. That winning streak is tied for their longest in history over Clemson.
The Tar Heels hold a 36-35 lead in games played in Chapel Hill. Both team have hosted the other team 71 times in their history. The Tigers also have a 74-55 record against North Carolina in ACC regular-season games.
Jack Leggett is 28-18 against the Tar Heels as Clemson’s head coach, including a 12-6 record at Boshamer Stadium. Of Leggett’s 46 games coached against North Carolina, 27 have been against a top-25 ranked Tar Heel team, as Leggett is 14-13 in those 27 contests. Leggett was also 0-3 against North Carolina as the head coach at Western Carolina, therefore he is 28-21 all-time against the Tar Heels.
The Starting Pitchers
In game-one, North Carolina will start junior righthander Alex White (2-0, 3.18 ERA) on the mound. The Greenville, NC native has made two starts for a total of 11.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 12 hits (.267 opponents’ batting average) and three walks with 14 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with senior righthander Trey Delk (1-0, 1.93 ERA) on Friday. The Elgin, SC native has made two starts for a total of 9.1 innings pitched. He has yielded eight hits (.235 opponents’ batting average) and three walks with seven strikeouts.
In game-two, the Tar Heels will send out senior righty Adam Warren (1-0, 1.59 ERA) on the mound. The New Bern, NC native has made two starts for a total of 11.1 innings pitched. He has given up six hits (.150 opponents’ batting average) and three walks with 14 strikeouts.
Clemson will counter with sophomore righthander Graham Stoneburner (0-1, 6.00 ERA) on Saturday. The Richmond, VA native has made two relief appearances and one start for a total of 6.0 innings pitched. He has allowed nine hits (.346 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with 10 strikeouts.
In game-three, North Carolina will start sophomore righthander Matt Harvey (3-0, 3.00 ERA) on the mound. The Mystic, CT native has made two starts and one relief appearance for a total of 9.0 innings pitched. He has allowed three hits (.107 opponents’ batting average) and two walks with 18 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with freshman lefty Chris Dwyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Sunday. The Swampscott, MA native has made two starts for a total of 11.2 innings pitched. He has given up two hits (.054 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with 12 strikeouts.
The Tar Heels
North Carolina, led by 11th-year Head Coach Mike Fox and ranked as high as #2 in the nation, enters the series against #19 Clemson with an 8-1 record after defeating Gardner-Webb 10-3 on Wednesday. The Tar Heels also swept Seton Hall in three games on February 27,28. All nine of the Tar Heels’ game have been played at home.
North Carolina is averaging 7.9 runs per game and hitting .331 with a .489 slugging percentage and .425 on-base percentage. The team has also totaled 19 doubles, four triples, and seven homers along with four stolen bases in 11 attempts.
Mark Fleury is hitting a team-high .444 with four doubles, three homers, and 17 RBIs along with a .538 on-base percentage. Kyle Seager is hitting .438, Dustin Ackley is batting .433, and Ben Bunting is hitting .400.
The pitching staff has a 2.22 ERA and .205 opponents’ batting average along with 117 strikeouts against 30 walks in 81.0 innings pitched. That equates to a 3.9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 13.0 strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched mark. The team is fielding at a .970 clip as well.
Clemson, ranked as high as #19 in the nation, enters the series at #2 North Carolina with a 5-2 record after slugging UNC Asheville 17-2 on Wednesday behind 15 hits. All seven of the Tigers’ previous games have been at home.
The Tigers are hitting .248 with a .350 slugging percentage and .377 on-base percentage thanks to more walks (48) than strikeouts (44). The team has totaled 18 stolen bases, including a team-high seven by Addison Johnson.
Ben Paulsen, who is 12-for-22 (.545) in the last five games, is hitting a team-best .464 with one homer and seven RBIs. He has totaled three hits in four of the last five games. Matt Sanders has two of the team’s five home run, while freshman Brad Miller has six RBIs and three stolen bases.
The pitching staff has a 2.35 ERA and .203 opponents’ batting average. The staff has allowed just 13 walks against 71 strikeouts, good for a 5.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ryan Hinson has made a team-high five relief appearances with no walks and nine strikeouts, while fellow lefty reliever Casey Harman has 11 strikeouts against only one walk in 6.1 innings pitched. The team is fielding at a .982 clip as well.
Five Tigers hail from the state of North Carolina, Wilson Boyd (Hickory), John Hinson (Asheville), Johnson (Pfafftown), Matt Sanders (New Bern), and Josh Thrailkill (Arden).
Paulsen’s Hits in Threes
Junior first-baseman Ben Paulsen (Acworth, GA) leads the team with a .464 batting average in seven games this season. He also has one double, one homer, seven RBIs, and a .515 on-base percentage. Of late, there has been many a “3” in the boxscores, as he had totaled exactly three hits in four of the last five games. During that stretch, he is 12-for-22 (.545).
Tigers Slug North Carolina-Asheville 17-2
Behind 15 hits, #19 Clemson slugged North Carolina-Asheville 17-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 4. The Tigers scored seven runs, all with two outs, in the first two innings and five more runs in the third inning. Clemson walked 14 times and struck out just once. Ben Paulsen, one of 10 Tigers with a hit, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Kyle Parker added three RBIs. Brad Miller also scored three runs and walked four times. Eleven different Tigers scored a run as well. Seven Tiger pitchers combined to allow just four hits, while the Bulldogs sent out nine different pitchers to the mound. Justin Sarratt pitched an inning in relief to earn the win.