Tigers & Demon Deacons To Tangle in Top-3 Clash This Weekend
Clemson, SC - Top-ranked Clemson (36-5, 10-2 ACC) will play host to #3 Wake Forest (35-6, 14-3 ACC) in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium beginning Friday at 7:15 PM. Game two Saturday will start at 7:00 PM and will be televised by Fox Net Sports South. The series finale Sunday will start at 2:00 PM. All three games will be broadcast on Clemson Tiger Sports Properties and can be heard live via the internet at www.clemsontigers.com. Live stats will also be available on Clemson's website.
The Tigers last faced a top-three team in 2001, when they played at #1 and eventual national champion Miami (FL) in the Super Regional. Prior to that, the last top-three team Clemson faced was #1 Stanford in the 2000 College World Series. The Tigers were ranked #3 when they played the Cardinal.
Clemson holds a 96-42-1 lead in the series dating back to 1901, including a 33-6 advantage all-time at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The series has been much closer in the last four years, as Wake Forest holds an 8-6 advantage from 1998-2001. Head Coach Jack Leggett is 17-10 against the Demon Deacons while at Clemson, including a 9-3 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers took two of three games from Wake Forest last season and in 2000 at Clemson won two of three. The three games that year were decided by a total of four runs. Prior to 2000, Wake Forest had a six-game winning streak against Clemson.
Wake Forest, led by 15th-year Head Coach George Greer, is coming off mid-week wins at Charlotte (15-3) and at Virginia Tech (10-3). The Demon Deacons, who are 13-2 on opponents' home fields, are hitting .323. Jamie D'Antona leads Wake Forest with 15 homers and 64 RBIs to go along with his .335 average. Adam Bourassa is hitting a team-best .417 with 14 steals, while Nick Blue is hitting .377 with 19 stolen bases. The Demon Deacons also sport a .963 fielding percentage. Wake Forest is 4-1 against top-five teams and 7-3 against top-25 teams in 2002. It is also on an 11-game winning streak, tying for the third-longest in school history. The Demon Deacons' #3 ranking is their highest ever as well.
Clemson's hottest hitter of late has been Kyle Frank, who is riding a 13-game hitting streak after Wednesday's 3-for-3 performance at #5 South Carolina. The junior outfielder has also hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games and is hitting .385 with 14 doubles on the season. Khalil Greene leads the team with a .446 average to go along with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. Michael Johnson and Jeff Baker have also pitched in with 16 home runs apiece. Baker, who did not start Wednesday's game at South Carolina due to a strained quadracept, is listed as day-to-day. Clemson is hitting .336 and has a .972 fielding percentage. Clemson, who is on a five-game winning streak of its own, is 3-0 against top-five teams and 8-2 against top-25 teams in 2002.
The Demon Deacons, who have a 4.48 team ERA, will start sophomore righty Kyle Sleeth (8-0, 2.99 ERA) Friday. Sleeth has 70 strikeouts against only 24 walks to go along with his .226 opponents' batting average. Junior lefthander Seth Hill (3-0, 3.38 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season Saturday, while junior righty Ryan Braun (1-0, 5.91 ERA) will make his third appearance and start of the year in Sunday's game.
Clemson, who has a 3.65 team ERA, will send out senior righthander Steve Reba (9-1, 3.29 ERA) Friday. Reba has a 29-8 career record and allowed just one run on 10 hits in 8.1 innings pitched last year at Wake Forest in earning the win. Reba is 13-0 in his last 15 starts dating back to last season as well. Junior righty B.J. LaMura (4-1, 2.60 ERA) will take to the hill Saturday. LaMura made a brief relief appearance at Wake Forest last season, allowing two runs in 1.0 innings pitched. Sunday's starter has yet to be determined.