Elon Preview

Elon Preview

Baseball

Elon Preview

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By Staff Report.

Clemson (10-7), ranked as high as #15 in the nation, will host Elon (15-6) in a two-game, midweek series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday.  First pitch for both games is scheduled for 6:30 PM.  The games will be available live via webcast on TigerCast at ClemsonTigers.com.  The games will also be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM) out of Clemson and can be heard live on the internet at WCCPFM.com.  Live stats will be available at ClemsonTigers.com as well.

The Series

Clemson and Elon have met 17 times (all at Clemson) on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 10-7 lead in the series.  In 1920, Elon defeated the Tigers 6-3.  The two teams did not meet again until 80 years later, when Clemson came away with a 17-5 victory in 2000.

In 2010, Elon won both games of the midweek series by scores of 15-10 and 4-3 (10 innings).  Clemson won both games over Elon in 2009 by scores of 5-3 and 8-7.  In 2008, the Tigers also won both games by scores of 5-4 and 2-1.

Jack Leggett is 10-6 against Elon as Clemson’s head coach and was 1-3 against the Phoenix as Western Carolina’s head coach.  Therefore, he is 11-9 all-time against Elon.

The Starting Pitchers

In game-one, Elon will start senior righthander Thomas Girdwood (2-1, 5.40 ERA) on the mound.  The Charlotte, NC native has made five relief appearances and two starts for a total of 16.2 innings pitched.  He has allowed 12 hits (.203 opponents’ batting average) and nine walks with 13 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with graduate righthander Justin Sarratt (0-1, 1.93 ERA) on Tuesday.  The Gaffney, SC has made five relief appearances and one start for a total of 14.0 innings pitched.  He has yielded 11 hits (.212 opponents’ batting average) and one walk with 11 strikeouts.

Both team’s starting pitchers for Wednesday’s game have yet to be determined.

The Phoenix

Elon, led by 15th-year Head Coach Mike Kennedy, enters the series at #15 Clemson with a 15-6 overall record and 6-0 SoCon mark after sweeping Western Carolina on the road over the weekend.  The Phoenix, who is 10-3 on opponents’ home fields, has won 10 of its last 12 games after starting the season with a 5-4 record.

Elon is averaging 7.4 runs per game and hitting .264 with a .385 slugging percentage and .397 on-base percentage.  The team has totaled 33 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs, 19 sacrifice bunts, and 47 stolen bases.

Jake Luce is hitting a team-high .380 with nine doubles, one triple, one homer, and 12 RBIs.  Neal Pritchard is batting .370 with three homers and 14 RBIs, while Niko Fraser leads the team in RBIs (19) and stolen bases (11).  Eleven different Elon players have multiple stolen bases in 2011.

The pitching staff has a 4.98 ERA and .271 opponents’ batting average along with 144 strikeouts against 88 walks in 195.1 innings pitched.  Senior righthander Mitch Conner has a 1-1 record, 1.64 ERA, and a team-high three saves in 11.0 innings pitched over 10 relief appearances.  The Phoenix is fielding at a .965 clip as well.

The Tigers

Clemson, ranked as high as #15 in the nation, enters the series against Elon with a 10-7 overall record and 3-3 ACC mark after sweeping Duke at home over the weekend.  The Tigers sport a 9-4 home record in 2011.

The Tigers are averaging 8.2 runs per game and hitting .333 with a .467 slugging percentage and .433 on-base percentage.  Clemson has also totaled 36 doubles, six triples, 10 homers, and 25 stolen bases.

Spencer Kieboom is hitting a team-high .429 with 12 RBIs.  Phil Pohl is batting .422 with six doubles, two homers, and 14 RBIs in only 45 at-bats.  Jeff Schaus is up to .339 with eight doubles and 17 RBIs, while Chris Epps is batting .300 with four homers, 12 RBIs, and five stolen bases.

The pitching staff has a 3.58 ERA and .238 opponents’ batting average in 151.0 innings pitched.  The staff has allowed 37 walks against 127 strikeouts.  Senior righthander Alex Frederick has a .185 opponents’ batting average and one of the team’s two saves.  The Tigers are fielding at a .957 clip as well.

Worth Noting

•    In 17 games this season, Tiger players have combined for 51 multi-hit games (3.0 per game), but no Tiger has had more than three hits in a game.
•    Clemson relievers have combined for a 2.96 ERA and .217 opponents’ batting average in 2011.
•    In nine games off the bench, Dominic Attanasio is 7-for-10.

Polls

The Tigers moved up one spot to #15 in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week after going 3-1 in four games last week.  Clemson also fell three spots to #19 in the Baseball America poll and dropped two spots to #19 in the Sports Weekly poll.  With Clemson’s top-25 ranking this week, it marks the 43rd week in a row the Tigers have been ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the three major polls dating back to the start of the 2009 season.

Clemson has had at least one final top-25 ranking in 14 of Head Coach Jack Leggett’s first 17 seasons in Tigertown.  The Tigers have also been ranked #1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the three major polls under Leggett.  Their last #1 ranking came on February 12, 2007 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Schaus Nearing Several Top-10 Lists

Senior outfielder Jeff Schaus (Naples, FL) returned for his senior season in 2011 after being drafted in the 27th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2010.  His numbers through his junior season already put him among some of the best Clemson outfielders in recent history.  And after a slow start to the 2011 season, he has come on strong of late and is nearing the top 10 in several career categories.

On the season, Schaus is hitting .339 with eight doubles, one triple, 17 RBIs, 11 runs, 12 walks and three hit-by-pitches against only six strikeouts, and a stolen base.  In the first eight games of the season, he did not tally an extra-base hit.  Therefore, he has his nine extra-base hits in the last nine games.  Schaus has also been stellar in his six ACC games this year, as he is 14-for-26 (.538) with six doubles, one triple, nine RBIs, and seven runs.

In the last nine games, he is 17-for-37 (.459) with eight doubles, one triple, 12 RBIs, and nine runs.  He was especially good in the Duke series from March 18-20, when he had three hits in each game and was 9-for-14 (.643) with four doubles, one triple, five RBIs, and seven runs in leading Clemson to a series sweep.

In 212 games (210 starts) in his career, he is hitting .320 with 49 doubles, five triples, 31 homers, 185 RBIs, 181 runs, 119 walks and 21 hit-by-pitches against only 89 strikeouts, and 23 stolen bases.  His marks for games, at-bats (806), hits (258), doubles, RBIs, total bases (410), runs, and walks are all within range of the top 10 in the Clemson recordbook.

Tigers Sweep Duke Behind 34 Runs on 49 Hits

The #16 Clemson Tigers swept Duke by a combined score of 34-16 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from March 18-20.  Clemson outhit the Blue Devils .430 to .238 and totaled 49 hits, including 14 doubles, two triples, and two homers, 16 walks, and five steals against a team that entered the series with a 2.70 ERA.  Jeff Schaus had three hits in each game, as he was 9-for-14 with seven runs, four doubles, one triple, five RBIs, two walks, and a steal in the series.  Richie Shaffer was 7-for-12, Jason Stolz was 6-for-12 with two doubles, and Phil Pohl was 6-for-13 with two doubles and three RBIs.  Chris Epps added two homers as well.  The Tiger pitching staff had a 4.00 ERA and 27 strikeouts against seven walks in the series.

In game-one on March 18, Clemson totaled 14 hits in its 9-6 win over Duke.  Clemson scored two runs in both the first and second innings, then Duke tied the score with four two-out runs in the top of the third inning.  But the Tigers responded with four two-out runs of their own in the bottom of the third inning to take the lead for good.  Jonathan Meyer then shut down Duke and allowed just one hit and no runs in 5.0 innings pitched in relief to earn the win.  Alex Frederick got the Tigers out of a jam in the ninth inning to record the save.  John Hinson went 3-for-5 with three runs, Schaus went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs, and Pohl went 2-for-5 with a game-high three RBIs.

In game-two on March 19, Clemson batted around in the first and fourth innings and tallied 18 hits in its 16-7 victory over Duke.  After Duke scored three runs in the top of the first inning, the Tigers answered with five runs in the bottom of the first.  The Blue Devils took the lead in the top of the fourth inning, but Clemson scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead for good.  Seven different Tigers totaled two runs, while Schaus, Shaffer, Epps, and Stolz all had three hits apiece.  Clemson also amassed six doubles, a home run by Epps, and nine walks along with two hit-by-pitches.  Kevin Pohle pitched 3.0 solid innings in relief to earn the victory.

In game-three on March 20, Clemson pounded out 17 hits in its 9-3 win over Duke.  The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after five innings and cruised to victory.  Schaus went 3-for-5 with a double, triple, two RBIs, and three runs as one of six Tigers with at least two hits in the game.  Shaffer and Spencer Kieboom added three hits apiece, while Epps went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.  Starter Scott Firth pitched 6.2 strong innings to earn the win.  He allowed just three hits, no earned runs, and one walk with five strikeouts.  In one stretch of 19 batters, Firth allowed just one baserunner, as that one reached on an error.  Three Tiger pitchers combined to limit Duke to three hits in the game.

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