Clemson, SC -
Clemson, ranked as high as #18, will travel to Statesboro, GA to take on Georgia Southern in a battle of outstanding pitching staffs this weekend at J.L. Clements Stadium. Game one Friday will start at 7:00 PM. Game two Saturday will begin at 4:00 PM, while the series finale Sunday will start at 1:30 PM. All three games will be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live via the internet at www.clemsontigers.com. However, live stats will not be available during the series.
Clemson holds a 45-27-1 lead in the series dating back to 1959. The two teams have met five times in the last two seasons, all at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson won four of those five games, including all three games in 2002 by a combined score of 44-11. The two teams met in the Clemson Regional on May 31 of last year, with the Tigers coming away with a 15-1 victory. Clemson last traveled to Statesboro in 1995, where the two teams split a two-game series.
Several Tigers have seen action against the Eagles. Jeff Hourigan was 4-for-8 with a homer in three games last year, while Kyle Frank is 8-for-18 (.444) with a homer, four RBIs, and seven runs scored in five career starts. Zane Green and Michael Johnson have also homered against Georgia Southern. Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett is 6-5 against the Eagles while at Clemson and was 6-6 while at Western Carolina, making his career record versus Georgia Southern 12-11.
The Eagles will start three righthanders in the series, led off by sophomore Brian Rogers (1-1, 4.43 ERA) in game one Friday. Junior Dennis Dove (3-0, 1.93 ERA) will start game two. Dove has 53 strikeouts and allowed just six walks and 23 hits in 32.2 innings pitched this season. Sophomore Brian Harrison (3-2, 3.58 ERA) will start game three. Harrison has struck out 26 while walking just six, as the Eagles as a team sport a 4.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched mark to go along with a 2.67 team ERA.
Sophomore lefthander Tyler Lumsden (3-0, 0.40 ERA) will start on Friday for the Tigers. Lumsden has earned ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honors two weeks in a row, and has not allowed a baserunner to reach third base in his last two starts (16.1 innings pitched). Freshman righthander Jason Berken (1-0, 1.00 ERA) will take to the mound in game two Saturday. Berken earned the win in his first career start Saturday against Old Dominion. Sophomore righthander Jeff Hahn (2-2, 4.86 ERA) will start game three. Clemson has a 3.03 team ERA.
Georgia Southern, 14-4 overall and winners of eight of nine games, is led by fourth-year skipper Rodney Hennon, who was a player for Leggett at Western Carolina in the early 1990s. The Eagles, who are 13-3 at home and hitting .322 as a team, are led by Carlos Love's .447 batting average. Rocky Baker is hitting .400 with three homers and 22 RBIs. The Eagles have stolen 30 bases in 37 attempts, led by James Payne's perfect 8-8 mark. The team also sports a stout .970 fielding percentage.
Clemson, 10-3 overall and winners of seven-straight games, is hitting .297 as a team and is led by Zane Green's .385 batting average. Green is a native of Lake Park in south Georgia. Brad McCann, another Georgia native (Duluth), is perhaps the hottest Tiger, hitting 9-for-18 with a homer and 10 RBIs in the last five games. Kyle Frank and McCann are tied for the team lead in RBIs with 14 apiece. Clemson, who is 1-3 in away games this season, sports an outstanding .974 fielding percentage.