By Trey McCurry.
Clemson (14-13) hosts Winthrop (9-20) on Tuesday night at 6:30PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Clemson and Winthrop have met 21 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 17-4 lead in the series. The teams first met in 1981 and last played in 2007. In that last meeting, Clemson won 6-4 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to stop a two-game Eagle win-streak in the series (6-3 in 2006 and 8-2 in 2005). Each of the last nine games, and 16 of the 21 games, in the series have been played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The teams have met once in the NCAA Tournament, a 9-5 Clemson win in the 1995 East Regional at Clemson. The Tigers are 13-3 against Winthrop all-time at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Jack Leggett is 9-3 all-time against the Eagles, going 6-3 at Clemson (all games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium) and was 3-0 against Winthrop while at Western Carolina.
Winthrop, led by second-year Head Coach Tom Riginos, is a member of the Big South Conference. The Eagles are 9-20 (2-4 Big South) on the season, and are 3-9 away from home (2-6 on opponents’ home fields) in 2012. Winthrop enters the game off a series win at Gardner-Webb over the weekend after winning a midweek game at Furman. The Eagles have faced some big-time competition so far this season, dropping two games at home to Georgia Tech, losing three games at Georgia, and falling in individual games to Oregon State and Arizona State. Winthrop was picked to finish fourth in the Big South in the conference’s preseason poll and is coming off a 27-30 (15-12 Big South) season in 2011.
On the season, the Eagles are hitting .212 as a team with 36 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 21 stolen bases, 83 walks, and 204 strikeouts while averaging 3.4 runs per game. Junior Max Vogel leads Winthrop with a .286 batting average with a double and five RBI while redshirt senior Justin Hopper is hitting .266 with three doubles, two homers, and seven RBI. Junior Patrick Gamblin leads the team in homers (3), HBPs (9), and stolen bases (9) to go along with six doubles and 17 RBI. Junior Matt Lobacz is tied for the team-lead with seven doubles and has a team-best 21 RBI while junior Jason Driver also has seven doubles and a team-high 18 runs. Sophomore TJ Olesczuk has the team’s only two triples while senior Chas Crane has a team-best 19 walks.
The Winthrop pitching staff has a 4.97 ERA this season allowing 289 hits (.288 opponents’ batting average) and 100 walks against 210 strikeouts in 257.0 innings. Junior Matt Pierpont and Eric Ruth lead the staff with seven starts each. Pierpont (3-4, 3.73 ERA) leads the team in wins and innings (50.2) and has 42 strikeouts while Ruth (2-2, 4.95 ERA) has only nine walks against a team-best 43 strikeouts. Senior Austin Stuart has a team-high 13 appearance and two saves while freshman Preston Johnson also has two saves.
Clemson enters the series 14-13 (5-7 ACC). Last weekend, the Tigers took two of three close games from #7 Miami (FL) after splitting midweek games at #18 Georgia (10-5 win) and at home against Presbyterian College (8-4 loss). Clemson is 12-7 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium this season.
On the season, the Tigers are hitting .266 as a team with 40 doubles, four triples, 17 homers, 27 stolen bases, 114 walks and 163 strikeouts while averaging 5.1 runs per game. Sophomore Steve Wilkerson leads Clemson at the plate batting .390 with seven doubles, a triple, 15 RBI, 22 runs, and a team-best five stolen bases while also having 13 multi-hit games (in 24 games) along with two four-hit games. Senior Phil Pohl is hitting .323 with four doubles, four homers, 16 runs, and leads the team in RBI (26) and HBPs (8). Junior Richie Shaffer, batting .319, is the team’s top power threat and leads the team in doubles (11), homers (6), runs (23), and walks (28). Senior Jason Stolz, redshirt junior Thomas Brittle, and graduate Brad Felder all have four stolen bases while Felder also has four homers.
The Clemson pitching staff has a 3.46 ERA this season allowing 242 hits (.263 opponents’ batting average) and 98 walks against 212 strikeouts in 242.0 innings. Sophomore Kevin Pohle leads the pitching staff with a 3-1 record and 1.82 ERA and has a team-best 34.2 innings pitched over seven appearances (five starts). Junior Kevin Brady has a team-leading 37 strikeouts in 33.2 innings while junior Dominic Leone has 25 strikeouts in 33.2 innings. Junior Scott Firth is 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 21.1 innings over 11 appearances while junior Jonathan Meyer has 22 strikeouts in 25.2 innings in a team-high 12 appearances. Sophomore Matt Campbell has 22 strikeouts along with a team-high two saves, while freshman Daniel Gossett, Firth, and Meyer have each recorded a save.
Projected Starting Lineups
C #23 Tyler Donovan (*SO/.188 BA with 2 2Bs, 5 RBI, 2 runs, and 2 BBs in 19 games in 2012)
1B #22 Matt Lobacz (JR/.222 BA with 7 2Bs, 21 RBI, 10 runs, and 1 SB in 29 games in 2012)
2B #2 Leighton Daniels (SO/.215 BA with 2 2Bs, 9 RBI, 6 runs, and 7 BBs in 23 games in 2012)
SS #18 Jason Driver (JR/.214 BA with 7 2Bs, 4 RBI, 18 runs, and 12 BBs in 27 games in 2012)
3B #5 Chas Crane (SR/.159 BA with 3 2Bs, 1 HR, 4 RBI, and 19 BBs in 23 games in 2012)
LF #7 Patrick Gamblin (JR/.250 BA with 6 2Bs, 3 HRs, 17 RBI, and 9 SB in 29 games in 2012)
CF #19 TJ Olesczuk (SO/.239 BA with 3 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 2 HRs, and 11 RBI in 29 games in 2012)
RF #3 Justin Hopper (*SR/.266 BA with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 7 RBI, and 7 BBs in 25 games in 2012)
DH #27 Max Vogel (JR/.286 BA with 1 2B, 5 RBI, 2 runs, and 8 BBs in 24 games in 2012)
C #22 Spencer Kieboom (JR/.202 BA with 2 2Bs, 1 HR, 10 RBI, and 11 BBs in 24 games in 2012)
1B #12 Jon McGibbon (SO/.203 BA with 2 2Bs, 1 HR, 11 RBI, and 12 BBs in 24 games in 2012)
2B #17 Steve Wilkerson (SO/.390 BA with 7 2Bs, 1 3B, 15 RBI, and 22 runs in 24 games in 2012)
SS #2 Jason Stolz (SR/.288 BA with 4 2Bs, 1 HR, 8 RBI, and 4 SB in 27 games in 2012)
3B #8 Richie Shaffer (JR/.319 BA with 11 2Bs, 1 3B, 6 HRs, and 24 RBI in 27 games in 2012)
LF #13 Jay Baum (FR/.270 BA with 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 runs, and 5 BBs in 19 games in 2012)
CF #4 Thomas Brittle (*JR/.246 BA with 2 2Bs, 1 3B, 6 RBI, and 11 runs in 22 games in 2012)
RF #3 Brad Felder (GR/.211 BA with 2 2Bs, 4 HRs, 10 RBI, and 4 SB in 22 games in 2012)
DH #9 Phil Pohl (SR/.323 BA with 4 2Bs, 4 HRs, 26 RBI, and 8 HBPs in 27 games in 2012)
Projected Starting Pitchers
Winthrop will start freshman lefthander Josh Strong. The Orlando, FL native is 0-1 with a 11.30 ERA in seven appearances (one start) in 2012. In 14.1 innings, he has allowed 25 hits (.379 opponents’ batting average) and nine walks against nine strikeouts.
Clemson will counter with freshman righthander Daniel Gossett. The Lyman, SC native is 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA in eight appearances (three starts) in 2012. In 20.0 innings, he has allowed 21 hits (.269 opponents batting average) and 10 walks against 22 strikeouts.
- This is the first game between the teams since 2007.
- The teams met at once a year from 2001-2007, with Clemson winning four of the seven games.
- Three Winthrop coaches have Tiger connections: Head Coach Tom Riginos (assistant coach at Clemson from 2003-10), assistant coach Ben Hall (utility player in 2005-06), and volunteer assistant Wilson Boyd (outfielder from 2007-10).
- Clemson is 38-18-2 all-time on April 3 with a 25-7-1 mark at home.
- Steve Wilkerson is on a 15-game hitting streak for the Tigers.
- The two teams have played two common opponents so far in 2012, Western Carolina and Georgia. The Eagles are 0-4 against the two, while the Tigers are 1-1.
- The Tigers are 10-1 when scoring six runs or more and 4-12 when scoring less than six runs, with two of those wins coming this past weekend against #7 Miami (FL).