Clemson Opens 2000 Season in ACC Disney Blast Friday
Clemson begins its 103rd season of baseball in the third-annual ACC Disney Blast in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Clemson, along with ACC teams North Carolina and Wake Forest, will face Rice, Miami (FL), and Central Florida from Jan. 28-30. The Tigers last played in the Orlando area in 1998 when the Tigers defeated Auburn, Central Florida, and South Florida to capture the Olive Garden Classic championship.
The Tigers (42-27 in '99) will open the tournament against #7 Rice at 11:00 AM on Jan. 28. The two teams last met in the 1997 Central Regional in Lubbock, TX. The Owls were victorious 10-6 and hold a 2-1 advantage in the series. Senior righthander Ryan Mottl (4-8, 6.14 ERA in '99) will start on the mound for Clemson. Mottl has 23 career wins and looks to recapture his form from the '97 and '98 seasons. Senior righthander Jeff Nichols (15-4, 4.84 ERA in '99) will start on the mound for the Owls (38-21 in '99).
Clemson will play the sixth game of the tournament on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 PM against defending national champion and #4 Miami (FL). The Hurricanes won two of three games in Fort Mill, SC last season. The Hurricanes lead the series 19-12-1. Senior transfer and righthander Scott Berney (6-5, 5.33 ERA in '99 at Connecticut) will start on the mound for the Tigers. The Hurricanes (50-13 in '99) will send out sophomore righthander Troy Roberson (1-1, 4.64 ERA in '99).
Clemson will face #23 Central Florida in its third game on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 12:15 PM. The two teams have met only once, ironically in the Olive Garden Classic in Kissimmee, FL in 1998. Clemson defeated the Golden Knights 7-6 in that game. Sophomore lefthander Thomas Boozer (6-3, 6.98 ERA in '99) will start for the Tigers. The Golden Knights (38-21 in '99) will start senior righthander and transfer Casey Kennedy (4-6, 3.86 ERA in '99 at Virginia).
Tigers Picked to Finish Third in ACC by Coaches
Defending ACC regular-season champions Florida State has been chosen to finish in the conference's top spot in 2000 according to the nine ACC head coaches. The Seminoles, who were the runner-ups to Miami (FL) in the National Championship game in 1999, return seven starters. The Seminoles received seven of the nine first-place votes. Georgia Tech, who failed to make the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in over a decade last season, received 67 points to place second. With 66 points, Clemson placed third. The Tigers received one first-place vote, as did defending ACC Champion Wake Forest, who placed fourth with 53 points.
2000 ACC Coaches Predicted Order of Finish
Rk Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Florida State (7) 79
2. Georgia Tech 67
3. CLEMSON (1) 66
4. Wake Forest (1) 53
5. North Carolina 48
6. N.C. State 31
8. Maryland 16
9. Duke 14
Boyd Primed for Stellar Junior Season
Junior centerfielder Patrick Boyd (Palm Harbor, FL) is coming off an All-America season in 1999 where he hit .390 with 17 homes, 70 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases, all with a sore shoulder most of the season. He has been tabbed a preseason First-Team All-American by NCBWA and Baseball America. Baseb all America also picked Boyd as the #2 college prospect for the 2000 draft.
Tiger Freshmen Look to Make Immediate Impact
Freshmen Jeff Baker (Woodbridge, VA) and Jarrod Schmidt (Marrieta, GA), two big reasons Clemson's 1999 recruiting class was ranked #1 in the nation by Baseball America, are slated to start at shortstop and first base, respectively, in the season-opening games for the Tigers. Baker, a fourth-round pick by the Indians, was the star of the USA Junior National Team that captured the world championship in Taiwan in '99. Schmidt, a 23rd-round pick of the Marlins, comes from one of the top high school baseball programs in the country at Lassiter High School outside of Atlanta, GA and was the MVP of the Connie Mack World Series in the summer of '99. In all, eight true freshmen will be with the team when Clemson travels to Orlando for the ACC Disney Blast. They include Chad Bendinelli (RHP), Ryan Childs (RHP), Paul Harrelson (RHP), Ryan Hub (OF), B.J. LaMura (RHP), and Steve Pyzik (C) along with Baker and Schmidt.