Tigers Regain Momentum Heading into FSU Series

by - Correspondent -

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Prior to last weekend's series at Maryland, Jack Leggett had a meeting with his Clemson baseball team.

The Tigers were coming off a two-game series split at Old Dominion - winning the first game 1-0 and dropping the second, 3-2. While he was happy with the Tigers' pitching, Leggett was irate at his team's offense. Or, more to the point, lack of offense.

So Leggett talked. And the player's listened. And this is what they heard.

"The pitching was holding up its end," Leggett said Thursday. "But the offense wasn't. We weren't being aggressive enough at the plate. We weren't looking for the fastball early in the count and taking advantage of it, and it was costing us."

Evidently the message got through.

In the five games since - three wins at Maryland and two over No. 25 Coastal Carolina - the Tigers have pounded out 74 hits, 54 runs and have added 22 points to the team batting average (.290). During the streak, the Tigers are hitting at an impressive .352 clip.

The five game winning streak has the Tigers sitting at 14-9 for the season, and gives them much-needed momentum heading into this weekend's series at No. 6 Florida State (27-6) in Tallahassee.

"They're a good ball club and that's a tough place to play," said Leggett. "Those fans get rolling down there and it really creates a great atmosphere, which I love. But we've got to keep focused and stay aggressive, because they're going to bring some really good pitching at us."

The Seminoles will open the series Friday night with lefthander Barret Browning (2-0, 1.91). Browning, in 10 appearances (eight starts) has allowed just 11 runs and struck out 40 in 47 innings. He has yet to allow a home run.

A pair of righthanders will follow on Saturday and Sunday - Michael Hyde (6-2, 3.93) and Bryan Henry (1-1, 1.38).

"All of those guys are excellent," Leggett said. "We've just got to stay aggressive at the plate, and hit our pitch when it comes. We need to get into their bullpen as quickly as possible."

The Tigers will counter with Josh Cribb (2-2, 3.22) Friday, Kris Harvey (3-1, 3.68) Saturday and Robert Rohrbaugh (2-1, 3.81) on Sunday.

Both teams enter the series 5-1 in ACC play.


- The Seminoles are hitting .311 as a team and are led by sophomore centerfielder Shane Robinson. The Tampa native is riding a 38-game hitting streak, which is tied for the ninth-longest in NCAA history. With a hit in each of the three games against Clemson, he would tie the ACC record of 41 games held by former Tiger Rusty Adkins, who set the mark over two seasons (1965-66).

- Robinson is also hitting an ACC-best .492 with 16 doubles, two homers, 27 RBIs, a .558 on-base percentage, and 27 steals in 29 attempts along with his outstanding range in the outfield.

- Brant Peacher is hitting .405, while Gibbs Chapman leads the team in homers (4) and RBIs (31). Chapman has also stolen 15 bases in 16 attempts. FSU has 68 steals in 85 attempts.

- Clemson's pitching has been spectacular of late, as its ERA has fallen to 3.19 (thanks to allowing just 23 runs in the last 11 games) and opponents' batting average to .258. The staff also has a 2.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio, currently the second-best figure in school history.

- Stephen Faris has been a stopper out of the bullpen, as he leads the ACC with an 0.39 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched. He has allowed just 13 hits and eight walks while striking out 20 in 23.1 innings pitched.

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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