ACC Tournament Preview & Notes
Clemson to Play in the 39th ACC Tournament
Clemson (32-24), the #5 seed, will open its ACC Tournament slate by playing #4-seeded Virginia (36-16-1) on Thursday at 11:00 AM on the second day of the ACC Tournament. The Tigers will be the designated visiting team and occupy the first-base dugout.
The Tigers will then play #1-seeded Florida State (43-12) on Friday at 3:00 PM. Clemson will be the designated home team and occupy the third-base dugout in that game.
On Saturday, Clemson’s third game will be against #8-seeded Georgia Tech (32-24) at 11:00 AM. The Tigers won a coin flip, therefore they will be the designated home team and occupy the third-base dugout against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
The games will be played at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, NC. It will be the second time the ACC Baseball Tournament is held in Greensboro and the first time since 2010. The round-robin format, in its sixth year, features two separate four-team brackets that guarantees all eight teams will play a minimum of three games and maximum of four games during the ACC Tournament.
The other bracket is comprised of #2-seeded North Carolina, #3-seeded N.C. State, #6-seeded Miami (FL), and #7-seeded Wake Forest. The winner of each bracket will meet in the ACC Championship Game on Sunday at 12:00 PM. That contest will be televised live by ESPN2 and the winner of the game will receive an automatic bid into the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Clemson’s first three games in the ACC Tournament will be televised live by Regional Sports Network, which includes Fox Sports South, Sun Sports, CSN Mid-Atlantic, and Fox Sports North Plus. The three games will also be available live via webcast at ESPN3.
All of Clemson’s ACC Tournament games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all Tiger games.
The Series (Virginia)
Clemson and Virginia have met 149 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 102-47 lead in the series dating back to the 1955 season. Earlier this season, the Cavaliers swept the Tigers at UVa Baseball Stadium by a combined score of 16-7.
Last year at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Cavaliers swept the three-game series, which included two one-run victories. Virginia has won 17 of the last 19 games in the series after the Tigers won 100 of the first 130 matchups.
The Tigers hold a 10-7 lead in ACC Tournament games. The last time the two teams met in the ACC Tourney was in both team’s opener in 2009. Virginia won that game at Durham (NC) Bulls Athletic Park by a score of 6-5. The Cavaliers have won each of the last four meetings in the ACC Tournament dating to Clemson’s last win in 2000. All 17 neutral-site meetings between the two teams have taken place in the ACC Tournament.
Jack Leggett has a 31-27 record against Virginia as Clemson’s head coach, including a 2-5 mark in the ACC Tournament. Leggett was 2-0 against Virginia as head coach at Vermont, meaning he is 33-27 all-time against the Cavaliers.
The Series (Florida State)
Clemson and Florida State have met 124 times on the diamond, with the Seminoles holding a 66-57-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1958 season. The Tigers have won seven of the last 10 games in the series after Florida State won five of the previous six meetings.
Earlier this season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson won the first two games over the top-ranked Seminoles by scores of 7-2 and 9-7 before Florida State won game-three 9-5. Last season in Tallahassee, the Tigers won the final two games of the series by scores of 7-4 and 8-5 after Florida State won game-one 8-6. Then in the ACC Tournament at Durham, NC, the Seminoles topped the Tigers 6-3.
The Seminoles hold an 11-8 lead in ACC Tournament games. The last time the two teams met in the ACC Tourney was the aforementioned 2011 matchup. The all-time series is tied 12-12 in neutral-site contests.
Jack Leggett has a 33-39 record against Florida State as Clemson’s head coach, including a 5-10 mark in ACC Tourney games. All 72 of Leggett’s games coached against Florida State have been against a top-25 ranked Seminole team. Under Legget, the Tigers are also 28-35 against a top-10 Seminole squad, 19-26 against a top-five Florida State team, and 3-5 against a top-ranked Seminole team.
The Series (Georgia Tech)
Clemson and Georgia Tech have met 209 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 105-101-3 lead in the series dating back to the 1902 season. The two teams have faced each other at least one time every year since 1974.
Earlier this season at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets won the first game 6-5 in 13 innings before Clemson responded with 13-7 and 11-8 victories in the final two games. Last season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tigers won the first (4-2) and last (3-1) games of the series, while Georgia Tech won game-two 5-1. Then in the ACC Tournament in Durham, NC, Clemson blanked the Yellow Jackets 9-0.
The Tigers hold a 16-9 lead in ACC Tournament games and have won four games in a row. The last time the two teams met in the ACC Tourney was the aforementioned 2011 matchup. Georgia Tech’s last victory over the Tigers in the ACC Tourney came in 2006, the year Clemson captured the ACC Tournament title. Clemson leads the all-time series 19-7 in neutral-site contests as well.
Jack Leggett has a 40-32 record against Georgia Tech as Clemson’s head coach, including a 9-5 mark in ACC Tournament games. Leggett was 3-5 against the Yellow Jackets as Western Carolina’s head coach, meaning he is 43-37 all-time against Georgia Tech.
The Starting Pitchers (Virginia)
Virginia will start junior righthander Branden Kline (6-3, 3.89 ERA) on the mound. The Frederick, MD native has made 13 starts and one relief appearance for a total of 81.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 75 hits (.244 opponents’ batting average) and 37 walks with 84 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with freshman righthander Daniel GossettDaniel Gossett
Fr. RH Pitcher
#23 6-0, 160
View Full Profile (6-3, 4.83 ERA) on Thursday. The Lyman, SC native has made nine relief appearances and eight starts for a total of 63.1 innings pitched. He has given up 54 hits (.231 opponents’ batting average) and 30 walks with 73 strikeouts.
The Starting Pitchers (Florida State)
Florida State will start freshman lefthander Brandon Leibrandt (6-2, 2.93 ERA) on Friday. The Alpharetta, GA native has made 14 starts for a total of 73.2 innings pitched. He has allowed 66 hits (.244 opponents’ batting average) and 23 walks with 61 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with junior righty Dominic LeoneDominic Leone
Jr. RH Pitcher
#6 5-11, 195
View Full Profile (6-4, 5.18 ERA) on Friday. The Norwich, CT native has made 14 starts for a total of 74.2 innings pitched. He has yielded 78 hits (.282 opponents’ batting average) and 35 walks with 58 strikeouts.
The Starting Pitchers (Georgia Tech)
Georgia Tech’s starting pitcher for Saturday’s game has yet to be determined.
The Tigers will start sophomore righthander Kevin PohleKevin Pohle
So. RH Pitcher
#21 6-3, 180
St. Louis, MO
View Full Profile (6-3, 3.25 ERA) on Saturday. The Saint Louis, MO native has made 12 starts and two relief appearances for a total of 69.1 innings pitched. He has surrendered 70 hits (.268 opponents’ batting average) and 28 walks with 38 strikeouts.
Virginia, led by ninth-year Head Coach Brian O’Connor and ranked as high as #17 in the nation, enters the ACC Tournament with a 36-16-1 overall record and an 18-12 ACC mark after winning two of three games at Maryland to close the regular season. The Cavaliers, who finished second in the ACC Coastal Division, sports an 0-1-1 record in neutral-site contests in 2012.
Virginia is averaging 7.1 runs per game and hitting .299 with a .430 slugging percentage and .401 on-base percentage thanks to 240 walks and 87 hit-by-pitches against 324 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 96 doubles, 32 triples, 25 home runs, and 65 stolen bases in 96 attempts.
Stephen Bruno leads the team with a .370 batting average along with six homers, 20 doubles, two triples, 47 RBIs, 47 runs, and 10 steals. Derek Fisher is batting .297 with seven homers, 11 doubles, eight triples, 47 RBIs, and 41 runs, while Jared King (12) and Chris Taylor (10) have totaled double-digit steal totals.
The pitching staff has a 3.31 ERA and .241 opponents’ batting average along with 413 strikeouts against 164 walks in 478.0 innings pitched. Senior righthander Justin Thompson has all 11 of the team’s saves along with a 2.52 ERA and 35 strikeouts against 12 walks in 35.2 innings pitched over 30 relief appearances. Virginia, who has allowed 52 steals in 70 attempts, is fielding at a .973 clip as well.
Florida State, led by 33rd-year Head Coach Mike Martin and ranked as high as #1 in the nation, enters the ACC Tournament with a 43-12 overall record and 24-6 ACC mark after winning two of three games over N.C. State last weekend. The Seminoles, who tied the ACC record with 24 league wins, sports an 0-1 record in neutral-site games.
Florida State is averaging 6.8 runs per game and hitting .285 with a .417 slugging percentage and .407 on-base percentage thanks to 315 walks and 84 hit-by-pitches against 374 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 119 doubles, 10 triples, 34 home runs, and 57 stolen bases in 78 attempts.
James Ramsey, the 2012 ACC Player-of-the-Year, is hitting .380 with 11 homers, six triples, 10 doubles, 45 RBIs, 67 runs, 52 walks, a .520 on-base percentage, and nine steals. Jayce Boyd is batting .399 with three home runs, 20 doubles, 54 RBIs, and eight steals, while Devon Travis is hitting .315 with five homers, 20 doubles, and 32 RBIs. Justin Gonzalez has a team-high 12 stolen bases as well.
The pitching staff has a 3.49 ERA and .247 opponents’ batting average along with 402 strikeouts against 191 walks in 490.0 innings pitched. Junior righthander Robert Benincasa has 13 of the team’s 18 saves. In 32.0 innings pitched over 26 relief appearances, Benincasa is 4-0 with an 0.56 ERA, a .143 opponents’ batting average, and 45 strikeouts against only five walks. Florida State, who has allowed 55 steals in 84 attempts, is fielding at a .969 clip as well.
The Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech, led by 19th-year Head Coach Danny Hall, enters the ACC Tournament with a 32-24 overall record and 12-18 ACC mark after winning one of three games over Miami (FL) to close the regular season. The Yellow Jackets, who finished fourth in the ACC Coastal Division, sports a 2-1 record in neutral-site contests in 2012.
Georgia Tech is averaging 6.3 runs per game and hitting .294 with a .427 slugging percentage and .373 on-base percentage thanks to 215 walks and 47 hit-by-pitches against 380 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 110 doubles, 15 triples, 41 home runs, and 77 stolen bases in 106 attempts.
Brandon Thomas leads the team with a .359 batting average along with four homers, 13 doubles, five triples, 38 RBIs, 46 runs, a .471 on-base percentage, and 12 steals. Sam Dove is batting .335 with 11 stolen bases, while Jake Davies is hitting .324 with nine homers and 58 RBIs. Daniel Palka has added a .304 batting average, 12 homers, 18 doubles, two triples, 45 RBIs, and 40 runs. Kyle Wren (16) and Mott Hyde (10) have double-digit steal totals as well.
The pitching staff has a 4.40 ERA and .259 opponents’ batting average along with 420 strikeouts against 219 walks in 500.2 innings pitched. Sophomore righty Zane Evans has five of the team’s eight saves, while fellow sophomore righthander Alex Cruz is 7-3 with a 2.04 ERA and .171 opponents’ batting average in 61.2 innings pitched over 27 relief appearances. Georgia Tech, who has allowed 58 steals in 80 attempts, is fielding at a .961 clip as well.
Clemson enters the ACC Tournament with a 32-24 overall record and 16-14 ACC mark after being swept at Wake Forest last weekend. The Tigers, who finished third in the ACC Atlantic Division, sports a 2-1 record in neutral-site contests in 2012.
The Tigers are averaging 5.8 runs per game and hitting .273 with a .389 slugging percentage and .362 on-base percentage thanks to 240 walks and 47 hit-by-pitches against 349 strikeouts. Clemson has also totaled 88 doubles, 15 triples, 37 homers, and 58 stolen bases in 76 attempts.
Richie ShafferRichie Shaffer
Jr. 3rd Base
#8 6-3, 205
View Full Profile, Clemson’s only native from the state of North Carolina, leads the team with a .344 batting average along with 18 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 45 RBIs, 51 walks, a .470 on-base percentage, and seven steals. Thomas BrittleThomas Brittle
RS Jr. Outfielder
#4 5-8, 170
View Full Profile is hitting .313 with seven doubles, eight triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, and a team-high 11 stolen bases. Steve WilkersonSteve Wilkerson
So. 2nd Base
#17 6-1, 185
View Full Profile is batting .316, while Phil PohlPhil Pohl
#9 5-11, 215
View Full Profile has totaled eight homers and a team-high 50 RBIs.
The pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA and .270 opponents’ batting average in 511.0 innings pitched. The staff has allowed 210 walks against 413 strikeouts, good for a 1.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior righty Scott FirthScott Firth
Jr. RH Pitcher
#20 6-0, 165
Buffalo Grove, IL
View Full Profile has a 4-0 record, 2.30 ERA, two saves, and a .234 opponents’ batting average in 43.0 innings pitched over 20 relief appearances. The Tigers are fielding at a .973 clip as well.
Clemson’s ACC Tournament History
This is the 39th ACC Baseball Tournament, and Clemson has been to the finals in 21 of the previous 38 tournaments, nine more than any other school. Clemson has won nine ACC Tournaments in history, more than any other school, including in 2006 when it defeated N.C. State 8-4 in the championship game. Clemson has a 102-60 record in ACC Tournament games. The Tigers also have the most All-ACC Tournament selections (54) in history.
Prior to capturing the 2006 title, the Tigers had not won it all since 1994. That was Jack Leggett’s first year as Clemson’s head coach. Clemson defeated Florida State 4-1 in the championship game held in Greenville (SC) Municipal Stadium.
Leggett has been on the field to accept the championship trophy three times in all. In 1993, then Head Coach Bill Wilhelm was suspended for the championship game. Leggett, then the top assistant for the Tigers, was in charge for that 1993 title game, an 11-7 win over N.C. State. Clemson’s nine ACC Tournament titles came in 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2006. Wilhelm is credited with the first seven tournament titles.
Clemson has been a consistent team in tournament play. The Tigers have won at least two tournament games in 32 of their previous 38 appearances. While Clemson has won the title just once since 1994, the Tigers have been to the championship round seven of the last 18 years. Clemson is also one of only two teams to play in all 38 ACC Tournaments. The Tigers join Virginia as the only teams to play in every ACC Tourney.
Only 15 times in the 38-year history has the #1 seed captured the title. Clemson has done it six times, Georgia Tech and North Carolina three times, and Florida State, Miami (FL), and Virginia once.
The Tigers have won the ACC Tournament with a perfect record five times. The Tigers were 3-0 in 1976 and 1978 in winning both events at Clemson, then they had a 4-0 record in winning the title at Raleigh, NC in 1980. Clemson’s only other perfect run through the tournament came in 1991, when a Tiger team that won a school-record 60 games had a 5-0 mark in the ACC Tournament held at Greenville, SC.
This will be the 16th time the tournament is held in the state of North Carolina after it was played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in 2009 and 2011 as well as NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro in 2010. Prior to 2009, the previous time it was played in the Tar Heel State was in 1999, when it was played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The 2013 tournament is scheduled to be played at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Clemson has a winning record against every ACC team (excluding Boston College, who has not faced the Tigers in the event) in tournament play with the exception of Florida State and Virginia Tech. Clemson is 8-11 against the Seminoles and 0-1 against the Hokies in the ACC Tournament. The Tigers are also 8-4 against Duke, 16-9 versus Georgia Tech, 12-0 against Maryland, 2-1 versus Miami (FL), 16-11 against North Carolina, 18-11 versus N.C. State, 10-7 against Virginia, and 12-5 versus Wake Forest. That computes to a 102-60 record and 63.0-percent winning mark. Only Florida State (66.3) has a better winning percentage than Clemson in ACC Tournament play.
Clemson was the dominant team when the ACC Tournament was played at Greenville, SC from 1987-95. In those nine tournaments, Clemson posted a 36-12 record, won the event four times, and finished second on two other occasions. Clemson won at least three games in eight of the nine tournaments held in Greenville as well.
The ACC Tournament began in 1973 and has been held every year but one since then. In 1979, Clemson won the regular-season title and was declared the conference champion. The tournament was not held because of a scheduling conflict between school exam schedules and the tourney. Clemson has been declared conference champion 14 times in history, more than any other school.
• Clemson has cumulatively outscored its opponents in all nine innings and in extra innings in 2012.
• In Clemson’s 30 ACC regular-season games, Tiger pitchers combined for only one error in 67 chances (.985 fielding percentage).
• Clemson is tied for fifth in the nation in double plays (59) on defense. That is a reason Clemson is second in the ACC in fielding percentage (.973).
The Tigers finished in third place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings with a 16-14 league record. It was the 18th time in 19 seasons under Head Coach Jack Leggett that the Tigers had a winning league record.
Florida State won the division title with a 24-6 record, while N.C. State was second at 19-11. The Seminoles also won the overall ACC title at 24-6. In the overall ACC standings, Clemson tied for fifth place with Miami (FL). Wake Forest (13-17) was seventh, while Georgia Tech (12-18) was eighth. North Carolina won the ACC Coastal Division crown with a 22-8 mark. Virginia finished fourth at 18-12 as well.
Four Tigers Named to All-ACC Team
Four Tigers were named First or Second-Team All-ACC in 2012. Senior designated hitter Phil Pohl and junior third-baseman Richie Shaffer were both named First-Team All-ACC, while junior outfielder Thomas Brittle and sophomore second-baseman Steve Wilkerson were named Second-Team All-ACC. The team was compiled by a vote of the 12 ACC head coaches.
Pohl, who was a Second-Team All-ACC pick in 2011, leads the team with 50 RBIs and is hitting .296 with 10 doubles, eight homers, 28 runs, and two steals. Shaffer leads the team with a .344 batting average. Shaffer, who was also a First-Team All-ACC selection in 2011, has totaled 10 homers, 18 doubles, two triples, 45 RBIs, 44 runs, 51 walks, a .470 on-base percentage, and seven steals in 2012.
Brittle, who had a 22-game hitting streak during the regular season, is hitting .313 with seven doubles, eight triples, two homers, 33 RBIs, 38 runs, a .400 on-base percentage, and 11 stolen bases along with making many diving and run-saving catches in centerfield. Wilkerson is batting .316 with 12 doubles, three triples, 29 RBIs, 46 runs, and eight steals. Wilkerson has had hitting streaks of 19 games and 15 games in 2012.
Shaffer Cornering the Market on First-Team Honors
A total of 98 Tigers in history have been named First-Team All-ACC on the diamond, including corner infielder Richie Shaffer. The junior is one of only a few Tigers to be named First-Team All-ACC in multiple seasons, as he earned that honor in both 2011 and 2012.
However, what makes Shaffer’s accomplishment special is the fact that he became the first Tiger in history to be named First-Team All-ACC at two different infield positions over the course of his career. That is something that the record-setting Khalil Greene did not even accomplishment. Greene played the 1999 and 2000 seasons as the regular third-baseman, but he only earned Second-Team All-ACC honors as a sophomore before moving to shortstop for his last two seasons, where he earned First-Team All-ACC honors in 2001 and 2002.
In 2011, Shaffer was a First-Team All-ACC first-baseman who hit .315 with 13 homers, 55 RBIs, and 62 runs in 63 games (63 starts). With the loss of third-baseman John HinsonJohn Hinson
#4 6-1, 180
View Full Profile after the 2011 season, Shaffer moved over to third base and has started all 56 games there in 2012. Shaffer is hitting a team-best .344 with 10 homers, 18 doubles, two triples, 45 RBIs, 44 runs, 51 walks, a .470 on-base percentage, and seven steals in 2012.
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