By Trey McCurry.
Clemson (32-24, 16-14 ACC) enters this week’s ACC Tournament at the NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, NC as the #5 seed and play in Pool A. The Tigers will open the tournament with #4 seed Virginia on Thursday at 11:00AM. Clemson will then take on #1 seed Florida State on Friday at 7:00PM before wrapping up pool play with #8 seed Georgia Tech Saturday morning at 11:00AM. Should Clemson win Pool A, the championship game is Sunday at 12:00PM.
The Series (Virginia)
Clemson and Virginia have met 149 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 102-47 lead in the series. The teams first met in 1955 and have played at least one game in every season sine then except for 2008. This year, the Cavaliers swept Clemson in Charlottesville by scores of 6-3, 5-1, and 5-3. Last year, Virginia swept the Tigers at Doug Kingsmore by scores of 5-0, 8-7, and 7-6. The Tigers hold a 10-7 lead in ACC Tournament meetings, with the Cavaliers winning the previous four Tournament matchups. Jack Leggett is 33-27 all-time against the Cavaliers, going 31-27 at Clemson (2-5 in the ACC Tournament) and 2-0 against Virginia while at Vermont.
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. The teams first met in the 1958 NCAA District III Playoffs and begin meeting as conference opponents in 1992. This season, the Tigers took two of three games from the Seminoles at Clemson (winning the first two games, 7-2 and 9-7, before dropping the final 9-5). Last season, the teams split four meetings with the Clemson winning a series in Tallahassee and Florida State picking up a 6-3 win over Clemson at the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles hold an 11-8 lead in ACC Tournament matchups, including winning four of the last five tournament meetings. Jack Leggett is 33-39 all-time against the Seminoles, with all games coming as Clemson’s head coach, and is 5-10 against Florida State in the ACC Tournament.
The Series (Georgia Tech)
Clemson and Georgia Tech have met 209 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a slim 105-101-3 lead in the series. The Yellow Jackets are the Tigers third-most played opponent behind South Carolina and Georgia. The teams first met in 1902 and have met every season since 1974, including at least two games per season since 1978. Earlier this year, Clemson won two of three games at Georgia Tech for its first series win in Atlanta since 1996. Last season, the Tigers won two of three games at Clemson before picking up a 9-0 win over Georgia Tech in Durham at the ACC Tournament. The Tigers hold a 16-9 lead in ACC Tournament matchups, including picking up wins over top-10 Georgia Tech teams each of the past two seasons. Jack Leggett is 43-37 all-time against Georgia Tech, going 40-32 as Clemson’s head coach (9-5 in the ACC Tournament) after going 3-5 against the Yellow Jackets at Western Carolina.
Virginia, led by ninth-year Head Coach Brian O’Conner, is 36-16-1 (18-12 ACC) on the season including a 0-1-1 mark at neutral sites. The Cavaliers are coming off a series win at Maryland and have won 12 of the last 14 games. Virginia is ranked #17 by Baseball America, #19 in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, and #24 by Collegiate Baseball. The Cavaliers are the defending Coastal Division champions and ACC Tournament champions. They were picked to finish third in the Coastal Division by ACC coaches in the 2012 preseason polls. Virginia is coming off a 56-12 (22-8 ACC) season that saw them make their second appearance in the College World Series in the past three years and had a final season ranking of #3 in 2011.
On the season, the Cavaliers are hitting .299 as a team with 96 doubles, 32 triples, 25 homers, 65 stolen bases, 240 walks, 87 HBPs, and 324 strikeouts while averaging 7.1 runs per game. Redshirt sophomore Stephen Bruno leads Virginia at the plate batting .370 with two triples, six homers, and 10 stolen bases to go with team-highs in doubles (20) and HBPs (14) and is tied for the team-lead with 47 RBI. Freshman Derek Fisher is hitting .297 with 11 doubles and is the team’s top power threat with team-bests in triples (8) and homers (7) and is tied for the team-lead with 47 RBI. Junior Chris Taylor has scored a team-high 54 runs while redshirt junior Jared King has team-bests in stolen bases (12) and walks (47).
The Virginia pitching staff has a 3.31 ERA this season allowing 423 hits (.241 opponents’ batting average) and 164 walks against 413 strikeouts in 478.0 innings. Junior Branden Kline (6-3, 3.89 ERA) is the staff ace with team-highs in innings (81.0) and strikeouts (84). Redshirt junior Scott Silverstein (2-4, 4.06 ERA) has a team-best 14 starts and has 42 strikeouts in 62.0 innings. Senior Shane Halley (9-1, 1.71 ERA) leads the team in wins and has 42 strikeouts in 47.1 innings over 21 appearances. Senior Justin Thompson is the team’s closer with 11 saves in a team-best 30 appearances.
Florida State, led by 33rd-year Head Coach Mike Martin, is 43-12 (24-6 ACC) on the season including a 0-1 mark at neutral sites. The Seminoles are Atlantic Division Champions and are coming off a series win over #13 NC State. Florida State is ranked #1 in the country by Baseball America and in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and #5 in Collegiate Baseball. The Seminoles were picked to finish second in the Atlantic Division (behind Clemson) by league coaches and also received a single vote as overall ACC champions. Florida State is coming off a 46-19 (19-11 ACC – Atlantic Division champs) season, Tallahassee Super Regional appearance, and final ranking of #8 in 2011.
On the season, the Seminoles are hitting .285 as a team with 119 doubles, 10 triples, 34 homers, 57 stolen bases, 315 walks, 84 HBPs, and 374 strikeouts while averaging 6.8 runs per game. Florida State is led at the plate by two veterans, senior captain James Ramsey and junior Jayce Boyd. Boyd is batting .399 leads the team with 54 RBI and is tied for a team-best 20 doubles along with three homers, 39 runs, and 29 walks while Ramsey, hitting .380, has team-highs in triples (6), homers (11), and runs (67) with 10 doubles, 45 RBI, and 52 walks. Junior Devon Travis is tied for the team-lead in doubles (20) while senior Sherman Johnson has a team-best 57 walks in 55 games. Redshirt sophomore Stephen McGee has a team-high 16 HBPs while junior Justin Gonzalez leads the team with 12 stolen bases.
The Florida State pitching staff has a 3.49 ERA this season, allowing 456 hits (.247 opponents’ batting average) and 191 walks against 402 strikeouts in 490.0 innings. The staff is led by two freshmen, righthander Mike Compton and lefty Brandon Leibrandt, who have each made 14 starts. Compton (10-1, 2.96 ERA) leads the team in wins and has 50 strikeouts in 70.0 innings while Leibrandt (6-2, 2.93 ERA) has team-highs in innings (73.2) and strikeouts (61). Redshirt sophomore Gage Smith has made a team-best 32 appearances while junior Robert Benincasa is the team’s closer with 13 saves.
The Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech, led by 19th-year Head Coach Danny Hall, is 32-24 (12-18 ACC) on the season including a 2-1 mark at neutral sites. The Jackets enter the series off a home series loss to #21 Miami (FL). Georgia Tech was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division by ACC coaches in the 2012 preseason polls and also received four votes as overall ACC champion. The Yellow Jackets coming off a 42-21 (22-8 ACC) record, Atlanta Regional appearance, and a final season ranking of #19 in 2011.
On the season, the Jackets are hitting .294 as a team with 110 doubles, 15 triples, 41 homers, 77 stolen bases, 215 walks, 47 HBPs, and 380 strikeouts while averaging 6.3 runs per game. Junior Brandon Thomas leads Georgia Tech at the plate batting .359 with 13 doubles, five triples, four homers, 38 RBI, 46 runs, 28 walks, and 12 stolen bases while junior Sam Dove is hitting .335 with 14 doubles, two homers, 27 RBI, 45 runs, 24 walks, and 11 stolen bases. Senior Jake Davies, batting .324, has a team-best 58 RBI with nine doubles and nine homers. Sophomore Daniel Palka, hitting .304, is the team’s top power threat with team-bests in doubles (18) and homers (12) along with a team-high 13 HBPs while fellow sophomore Kyle Wren leads the team with six triples, 51 runs, 31 walks, and 16 stolen bases.
The Georgia Tech pitching staff has a 4.40 ERA this season allowing 493 hits (.259 opponents’ batting average) and 219 walks against 420 strikeouts in 500.2 innings. Junior Buck Farmer (7-3, 3.36 ERA) leads the Jacket staff with team highs in wins, starts (14), innings (93.2), and strikeouts (104). Sophomore Alex Cruz (7-3, 2.04 ERA) also has seven wins in a team-best 27 appearances and is holding opponents to a .171 batting average. Sophomore Zane Evans (0-1, 4.40 ERA) is the team’s closer with a team-leading five saves.
Clemson, led by 19th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett, is 32-24 (16-43) on the season including a 2-1 mark at neutral sites. The Tigers are coming off a three-game sweep at Wake Forest to wrap up a stretch of six games in six days. Clemson was picked to win the Atlantic Division by ACC coaches in the preseason poll and is coming off a 43-20 (17-13 ACC) season, Clemson Regional appearance, and final ranking of #16 in 2011.
On the season, the Tigers are hitting .273 as a team with 88 doubles, 15 triples, 37 homers, 58 stolen bases, 240 walks, 47 HBPs, and 349 strikeouts while averaging 5.8 runs per game. Junior Richie Shaffer leads Clemson at the plate batting .344 and is the team’s top power threat, leading the squad in doubles (18), homers (10), and walks (51) along with 45 RBI, 44 runs, and seven stolen bases. Sophomore Steve Wilkerson is hitting .316 with 12 doubles, three triples, 29 RBI, and eight stolen bases with a team-best 46 runs while redshirt junior Thomas Brittle is batting .313 with seven doubles, two homers, and 33 RBI with a team-high eight triples and 11 stolen bases. Senior Phil Pohl is batting .296 with a team-best 50 RBI and 12 hit-by-pitches along with ten doubles and eight homers while graduate Brad Felder has six homers and nine stolen bases.
The Clemson pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA this season allowing 526 hits (.270 opponents’ batting average) and 210 walks against 413 strikeouts in 511.0 innings. Junior Dominic Leone (6-4, 5.18 ERA) is one of three pitchers with six wins and leads the team in starts (14) and innings (74.2) while recording 58 strikeouts. Sophomore Kevin Pohle (6-3, 3.25 ERA) also has six wins and has 38 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. Freshman Daniel Gossett (6-3, 4.83 ERA) is the final pitcher with six wins and has also recorded two saves to go along with his team-best 73 strikeouts in 63.1 innings. Junior Jonathan Meyer (2-5, 4.31 ERA) has a save in a team-best 22 appearances while fellow junior Scott Firth (4-0, 2.30 ERA) has 39 strikeouts in 43.0 innings over 20 appearances. Firth, Gossett, sophomore Matt Campbell, redshirt sophomore Mike Kent, and freshman Patrick Andrews are all tied for the team lead in saves (2).
Projected Starting Pitchers (Virginia)
Clemson will start freshman righthander Daniel Gossett. The Lyman, SC native is 6-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 17 appearances (eight starts) in 2012. In 63.1 innings, he has allowed 54 hits (.231 opponents’ batting average) and 30 walks against 73 strikeouts.
Virginia will counter with junior righthander Branden Kline. The Frederick, MD native is 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) in 2012. In 81.0 innings, he has allowed 75 hits (.244 opponents’ batting average) and 37 walks against 84 strikeouts.
Projected Starting Pitchers (Florida State)
Florida State will start freshman lefthander Brandon Leibrandt. The Alpharetta, GA native is 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 14 starts in 2012. In 73.2 innings, he has allowed 66 hits (.244 opponents’ batting average) and 23 walks against 61 strikeouts.
Clemson will count with junior righthander Dominic Leone. The Norwich, CT native is 6-4 with a 5.18 ERA in 14 starts in 2012. In 74.2 innings, he has allowed 78 hits (.282 opponents’ batting average) and 35 walks against 58 strikeouts.
Projected Starting Pitchers (Georgia Tech)
Georgia Tech’s starting pitcher for Saturday’s game has yet to be determined.
Clemson will start sophomore righthander Kevin Pohle. The St. Louis, MO native is 6-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) in 2012. In 69.1 innings, he has allowed 70 hits (.268 opponents’ batting average) and 28 walks against 38 strikeouts.
- Clemson will be the visiting team against Virginia on Thursday and occupy the first-base dugout. The Tigers will be the home team against both Florida State on Friday and Georgia Tech on Saturday, occupying the third-base dugout.
- Clemson is 8-5 all-time on May 24 with a 5-3 mark at neutral sites. The Tigers are 11-4 all-time on May 25 with a 5-4 mark at neutral sites. Clemson is 12-4 all-time on May 26 with a 6-4 mark at neutral sites.
- Virginia has won 20 of the last 24 meetings against the Tigers after Clemson had won 11 of the previous 12.
- Florida State has been ranked in the top-25 in every meeting between the two teams since Jack Leggett took over at Clemson.
- Clemson and Georgia Tech met three times in the 2006 ACC Tournament in Jacksonville and met a total of seven times in 2006.
- Jack Leggett is 38-32 in the ACC Tournament since taking over in 1994, winning two titles and playing in five more title games.
Clemson in the ACC Tournament
- The Tigers are 102-60 all-time in the ACC Tournament and have appeared in all 39 tournaments (including this year).
- Clemson has nine titles in the ACC Tournament, the most all-time.
- The Tigers and Virginia are the only two teams to appear in every single ACC Tournament.
- Clemson is 1-2 in one previous tournament in Greensboro. Two years ago, the Tigers dropped games to #7-seed NC State (13-8) and #6-seed Virginia Tech (9-8) before beating #3-seed Georgia Tech (9-3).
- All-time in tournaments held in North Carolina, Clemson is 35-26 in 15 tournaments with two titles.