By Trey McCurry.
Clemson (2-1), ranked as high as #5 in the nation, will face three teams in the First Pitc Invitational this weekend. The Tigers first game will be against Cincinnati on Friday at 4:00PM at Doug Kinsmore Stadium. Clemson will then take on Charleston Southern Saturday at 1:00PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers will conclude the weekend with a game against Michigan State at Fluor Field in Greenville on Sunday at 1:00PM. Clemson will be the designated visiting team.
The Series (Cincinnati)
Clemson and Cincinnati have met three times on the diamond, with the Bearcats holding a 2-1 lead in the series. The first meeting between the two teams occurred at Clemson in 1936, a 9-4 Cincinnati win. The next two meetings both occurred in 1980 at the Rollins Invitational at Winter Park, FL. In the first game, Cincinnati won 10-7. In the second meeting three days later, the Tigers topped the Bearcats 8-2.
The Series (Charleston Southern)
In the series dating back to 1976, Clemson leads 14-0. The Tigers are 11-0 against the Buccaneers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, including a victory in the 1996 NCAA East Regional. In the team’s last meeting in 2004, Clemson won 3-2 at Clemson. Jack Leggett is 8-0 all-time against the Bucs with all eight games coming as the Clemson Head Coach.
The Series (Michigan State)
In the series dating back to 1935, Michigan State leads 9-6-1. However, all but three of these meetings occurred prior to 1959. The Tigers have won all the past three meetings, all in the past two seasons. In 2009, Clemson defeated Michigan State in Clemson 15-2 and the following day 6-1 at Fluor Field. Last season at Fluor Field, the Tigers defeated the Spartans 10-2.
Cincinnati, led by 16th-year Head Coach Brian Cleary, is a member of the Big East Conference. They are 1-2 on the season. The Bearcats opened the season last weekend in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge. They defeated Ohio State 11-5 in game one before dropping their next two games, 7-3 to Illinois and 8-4 to Michigan State. The Bearcats were picked by Big East coaches to finish seventh in the Big East in 2011 and are coming off a 29-29 (13-14 Big East) season in 2010.
Last weekend, the Bearcats hit .300 as a team with five doubles, one triple, and 15 walks to go with 16 strikeouts. Freshman Justin Glass leads the Bearcats at the plate as he is batting .545 (6-for-11) with one double, two walks, three runs, and three RBI on the season. Sophomore Jake Proctor is batting .417, while junior Jake Saylor is hitting .385 and leads the team with two doubles and four RBI.
The Cincinnati pitching staff has a 7.50 ERA this season allowing 40 hits and nine walks against 15 strikeouts. Junior Corey Hough is 1-0 allowing two hits, three walks, and no runs against two strikeouts in 4.0 innings. Freshman Jason Pascuzzi leads the team with four strikeouts in 3.0 innings, while senior Dan Jensen leads the team with 5.0 innings pitched.
Charleston Southern, led by third-year Head Coach Stuart Lake, is a member of the Big South Conference. They are 2-2 on the season. After dropping two of three games at home against North Florida to open the season, the Buccaneers defeated Furman 5-3 on Tuesday. Charleston Southern will play Michigan State at Fluor Field on Friday in their first game of the First Pitch Invitational. The Buccaneers were picked by Big South coaches to finish eighth in the Big South in 2011 and are coming off a 17-38 (6-20 Big South) season in 2010.
In four games, Charleston Southern is hitting .293 with seven doubles, one triple, and two homers. They have 12 walks with five stolen bases and have scored 15 runs on the season. Junior Walt Quattlebaum leads the team at the plate batting .538 and is one of five Bucs with two RBI. Senior Brantley Meier is hitting .438 with a double and leads the team with two stolen bases. Seniors Nick Chinners and Derek Smith have each hit one homer for Charleston Southern.
The Charleston Southern pitching staff has a 4.25 ERA this season allowing 40 hits and 12 walks against 28 strikeouts. Senior Anthony Markham is 1-0 in two appearances with five hits, four runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts over 7.1 innings. Junior Ali Williams leads the team with three appearances while junior Corey Deighan has two saves in two appearances allowing only one hit and striking out four in 2.0 innings.
Michigan State, led by third-year Head Coach Jake Boss, Jr. is a member of the Big Ten. They are 3-0 on the season after sweeping through their games in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge last weekend. The Spartans opening the season with a 2-1 win over Notre Dame before collecting wins over Seton Hall (5-4) and Cincinnati (8-4). They were picked by Big Ten coaches to finish fourth in the Big Ten in 2011 and are coming off a 34-19 (11-13 Big Ten) season in 2010.
Last weekend, the Spartans hit .343 as a team with eight doubles, two triples, one homer, and six walks with 14 strikeouts. Senior Brandon Eckerle is leading the team as the plate batting .667 (8-for-12) with two RBI and two stolen bases. Sophomore Torsten Boss is hitting .455 with two doubles and two RBI, while senior Jeff Holm is batting .364 with a double, triple, homer, and team leading five RBI.
The Michigan State pitching staff has a 2.42 ERA allowing 26 hits and 10 walks against 12 strikeouts in 26.0 innings. Senior Kurt Wunderlich is 1-0 in one start, pitching 7.0 innings and allowing six hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Freshman David Garner has not allowed a hit in 4.0 innings, while junior Trey Popp has the team’s only save.
Clemson enters the game 2-1 and ranked as high as #5 in the nation (Sports Weekly). The Tigers are also ranked #6 (Collegiate Baseball) and #11 (Baseball America) and are coming off a series win over Eastern Michigan. The Tigers outscored the Eagles 25-11, while outhitting them .337 to .228. On the weekend, Clemson also totaled 25 walks and eight steals, while the pitching staff had a 3.67 ERA and 26 strikeouts while allowing six walks.
Sophomore Spencer Kieboom leads the Tigers at the plate as he is batting .556 (5-for-9) with an ACC-high eight RBI. Jason Stolz is hitting .500 with an outstanding .700 on-base percentage, while John Hinson is at .455 with two doubles and a triple. Brad Miller leads the team in walks (6) and stolen bases (4-for-4) and Chris Epps has the Tigers only two homers.
Kevin Brady, David Haselden, and Scott Weismann lead the Tiger pitching staff. In 5.0 innings, Brady (1-0) has 10 strikeouts and has only allowed two hits. Haselden has a team-leading two appearances over 5.0 innings with a save, while Weismann (1-0) is the team’s top starter.
Projected Starting Lineups
C #22 Spencer Kieboom (SO/.556 BA with 1 2B and 8 RBI in 3 games)
1B #8 Richie Shaffer (SO/.091 BA with 2 BB in 3 games)
2B #2 Jason Stolz (JR/.500 BA with 3 BB and a HBP in 3 games)
SS #13 Brad Miller (JR/.375 BA with 5 runs, 6 BB, and 4 SB in 3 games)
3B #4 John Hinson (JR/.455 BA with 2 2B, 1 3B, and 6 runs in 3 games)
LF #3 Jeff Schaus (SR/.250 BA with 4 BB and a HBP in 3 games)
CF #30 Will Lamb (JR/.231 BA in 3 games)
RF #26 Chris Epps (SR/.182 BA with 2 HR in 3 games)
DH #9 Phil Pohl (JR/.375 BA with 3 RBI in 3 games)
C Jake Saylor (JR/.385 BA with 2 2B and 4 RBI in 3 games)
1B Nic Spence (JR/.125 BA with 3 BB and 1 RBI in 3 games)
2B Sam Vandenheuvel (JR/.300 BA with 2 BB and 1 RBI in three games)
SS Chris Peters (SR/.250 BA with 1 2B, 2 BB, and 2 RBI in three games)
3B Matt Williams (FR/.182 BA in three games)
LF Jake Proctor (SO/.417 BA with 1 2B, 1 BB, and 1 RBI in 3 games)
CF Jamell Cervantez (JR/.300 BA with 3 BB and 2 RBI in 3 games)
RF Justin Riddell (SR/.182 BA with 1 3B, 2 BB, and 2 RBI in 3 games)
DH Justin Glass (FR/.545 BA with 1 2B, 2 BB, and 3 RBI in 3 games)
C Drew Woodall (SO/.333 BA with 1 RBI and 1 BB in 3 games)
1B Nick Chinners (SR/.429 BA with 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 BB, and 2 RBI in 4 games)
2B Brandon McKinney (SR/.000 BA with 1 BB in 4 games)
SS Walt Quattlebaum (JR/.538 BA with 1 BB, 1 SB, and 2 RBI in 4 games)
3B Jaren Sustar (SO/.188 BA with 1 2B and 2 RBI in 4 games)
LF Brian Welch (FR/.286 BA with 1 2B and 2 RBI in 3 games)
CF Brantley Meier (SR/.438 BA with 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB, and 1 RBI in 4 games)
RF Tom Burkett (SR/.188 BA with 1 2B and 1 SB in 4 games)
DH Derek Smith (SR/.375 BA with 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 SB, and 2 RBI in 4 games)
C #32 Joel Fisher (FR/.500 BA with 1 2B in 1 game)
1B #27 Jeff Holm (SR/.364 BA with 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, and 5 RBI in 3 games)
2B #10 Ryan Jones (SO/.364 BA with 1 2B and 1 RBI in 3 games)
SS #13 Justin Scanlon (JR/.333 BA with 1 2B and 1 RBI in 3 games)
3B #7 Torsten Boss (SO/.455 BA with 2 2B, 1 3B, and 2 RBI in 3 games)
LF #6 Jordan Keur (SO/.200 BA 1 2B and 1 RBI in 3 games)
CF #14 Brandon Eckerle (SR/.667 BA with 2 SB and 2 RBI in 3 games)
RF #28 Jeff Kinley (FR/.273 BA with 1 2B in 3 games)
DH #2 Jared Hook (SO/.167 BA with 1 BB in 3 games)
Projected Starting Pitchers (Cincinnati)
Cincinnati will start junior lefthander Brad Mergen. The Albany, MN native is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in one relief appearance in 2011. He has allowed two hits (.400 opponents’ batting average) and one walk in 1.1 innings pitched.
Clemson will counter with junior righthander Scott Weismann. The Boxborough, MA native is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in one start over 5.0 innings in 2011. He has allowed five hits (.250 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with four strikeouts.
Projected Starting Pitchers (Charleston Southern)
Charleston Southern will start senior righthander Anthony Markham. The Summerville, SC native is 1-0 in two relief appearances in 2011. In 7.1 innings, he has allowed five hits (.192 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with eight strikeouts.
Clemson will counter with junior righthander David Haselden. The Spartanburg, SC native is 0-0 with a save in two appearances in 2011. In 5.0 innings, he has allowed three hits (.188 opponents’ batting average) and no walks with three strikeouts.
Projected Starting Pitchers (Michigan State)
Michigan State will start sophomore righthander Andrew Waszak. The Rochester Hill, MI native is 1-0 in one start in 2011. He has allowed six hits (.273 opponents’ batting average) and six walks with three strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
Clemson will counter with sophomore righthander Kevin Brady. The Gaithersburg, MD native is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in one start over 5.1 innings in 2011. He has allowed two hits (.100 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with 10 strikeouts.
- Clemson is 19-1 all-time on February 25. That mark is good for the top winning percentage for a single day in Clemson history.
- This marks Clemson’s second year in the First Pitch Invitational. In the event last season, Clemson defeated Miami (OH) 11-0 and Furman 8-5 both at Clemson and Michigan State 10-2 at Fluor Field in Greenville.
- The Charleston Southern game is the first of six games against teams from the Big South for Clemson in 2011. The Tigers will host Coastal Carolina (April 5), Presbyterian College (April 12), Gardner-Webb (DH on May 7) while facing Presbyterian College at Fluor Field in Greenville (March 16) and traveling to Gardner-Webb (May 8).
- The Michigan State game marks the first of four Tiger games at Fluor Field in 2011. Clemson also faces South Carolina (March 5), Presbyterian College (April 12), and Furman (May 10). The Tigers will be the designated visiting team against both the Gamecocks and Paladins, while they will be the home team against the Blue Hose.
Clemson vs. the Conferences
- The Tigers are 32-7 all-time against teams currently in the Big East. This mark includes a 19-4 record in Clemson and a 5-1 record against teams that were in the Big East at the time of the game.
- This will be Clemson’s first meeting against a team from the Big East since a 3-2 win over St. John’s (NY) in the opening round of the 2007 Myrtle Beach Regional. The last time Clemson faced a Big East opponent in the regular season was the opening game of the 2005 season, a game that Clemson defeated West Virginia 7-2 in Myrtle Beach at the Baseball at the Beach Tournament.
- Clemson is 148-33 all-time against teams currently in the Big South Conference, including 105-17 against those same teams in games at Clemson.
- The Tigers have also played eight games against teams that are no longer in the Big South, but were at the time of the game. The Tigers were 5-3 in those contests, including 2-3 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
- Clemson is 24-22-1 all-time against the Big Ten. The Tigers are 19-18-1 against the Big Ten in games at Clemson and 5-4 at neutral sites.