With momentum on their side, the Clemson baseball team will attempt to gather more steam for the post-season when they wrap up their regular season with a three-game series against Wake Forest, beginning tonight at 6 p.m. at Winston-Salem. The teams will also play at 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Clemson, coming off a series victory over top-ranked, regular-season ACC champion Florida State, brings a 32-21 overall record, a 156-11 ACC mark, and a No. 20 RPI standing into the series.
The Deacons are 29-22 overall and 10-17 in ACC play, and are playing for their ACC tournament lives. The Deacons are currently in ninth-place in the overall ACC standings, one game back of Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. The Hokies play at North Carolina this weekend, while the Yellow Jackets are at home against Miami.
In the series opener on Thursday, the Deacons will send junior lefthander Tim Cooney (5-6, 3.76 ERA) against Clemson junior righthander Dominic Leone (6-3, 5.19).
Wake will pitch sophomore righty Jack Fischer (4-4, 3.21 ERA) in the second game, while junior lefthander Brian Holmes (6-2, 2.82) is scheduled as the Saturday starter.
Due to Clemson’s doubleheader against Florida State on Monday, the Tigers’ starting pitchers for game-two on Friday and game-three on Saturday have yet to be determined.
Other ACC series this weekend include Duke at Boston College, NC State at Florida State, and Virginia at Maryland.
Clemson and Wake Forest have met 172 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 121-50-1 lead in the series dating back to the 1901 season. The two teams have faced each other at least one time every year since 1954.
Last season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tigers won the first (2-0) and last (10-4) games of the series, while Wake Forest won game-two 9-3. In 2010 at Wake Forest Baseball Park, the Demon Deacons won two of the three games.
The Tigers hold a 46-27 lead in games played at Wake Forest and a 104-38-1 advantage in ACC regular-season games. Jack Leggett has a 42-18 record against Wake Forest as Clemson’s head coach, including a 17-10 mark in Winston-Salem. Leggett was 1-1 against the Demon Deacons as Western Carolina’s head coach, meaning he is 43-19 all-time against Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons
Wake Forest, led by third-year Head Coach Tom Walter, enters the series against Clemson with a 29-22 overall record and 10-17 ACC mark after defeating Charlotte 18-2 on Tuesday. The Demon Deacons are also coming off one win in three games at No. 21 Miami last weekend. Wake Forest, who is 4-8 in one-run games, is 22-5 at home compared to 7-17 on the road in 2012.
Wake Forest is averaging 6.3 runs per game and hitting .265 with a .398 slugging percentage and .368 on-base percentage thanks to 249 walks and 45 hit-by-pitches against 387 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 100 doubles, four triples, 40 home runs, and 73 stolen bases in 96 attempts.
Conor Keniry leads Wake Forest with a .303 batting average and 11 stolen bases. Evan Stephens is hitting .296 with 11 steals, while Carlos Lopez is batting .295 with 17 doubles, nine home runs, and 47 RBIs. Pat Blair has a team-high 19 steals. Mac Williamson is batting .282 with a team-high 17 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 11 steals.
The pitching staff has a 4.14 ERA and .256 opponents’ batting average along with 352 strikeouts against 218 walks in 447.1 innings pitched. Senior righthander Michael Dimock has 11 of the team’s 12 saves along with a 3.58 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched over 24 relief appearances.
Clemson enters the series at Wake Forest with a 32-21 overall record and 16-11 ACC mark after defeating Furman 9-2 on Tuesday. The Tigers, who are also coming off two wins in three games over #1 Florida State at home last weekend, are 9-6 on opponents’ home fields in 2012.
The Tigers are averaging 6.0 runs per game and hitting .277 with a .398 slugging percentage and .367 on-base percentage thanks to 232 walks and 45 hit-by-pitches against 332 strikeouts. Clemson has also totaled 84 doubles, 15 triples, 37 homers, and 54 stolen bases in 72 attempts.
Richie Shaffer, who has reached base via a hit or walk in 31 consecutive games and is the lone Tiger from the state of North Carolina, leads the team with a .343 batting average along with 16 doubles, two triples, 10 homers, 43 RBIs, 50 walks, seven steals, and a .472 on-base percentage. Steve Wilkerson is hitting .324 and is riding a 14-game hitting streak. Thomas Brittle is batting .323 with six doubles, eight triples, 33 RBIs, and 10 steals. Phil Pohl has added eight homers, 50 RBIs, and a .302 batting average as well.
The pitching staff has a 3.86 ERA and .272 opponents’ batting average in 487.0 innings pitched. The staff has allowed 200 walks against 393 strikeouts, good for a 1.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior righty Scott Firth is 4-0 with two saves, a 2.32 ERA, and .236 opponents’ batting average in 42.2 innings pitched over 19 relief appearances. The Tigers are fielding at a .973 rate.
• Clemson has turned at least one double play on defense in 11 consecutive games.
Pohl Not Afraid to Take One for the Team
Phil Pohl was named an NSCA Strength & Conditioning All-American prior to the 2012 season. That toughness can be seen in the batter’s box, as he has totaled a team-high 12 hit-by-pitches in 2012. That total is tied for sixth-most in school history is the highest total by a Tiger since 2001, when Khalil Greene was hit-by-pitch a school-record 21 times. Pohl has been hit-by-pitch 32 times in his career as well.