Thorn in the paw: Tigers have lost last 3 games against upcoming midweek foes

Clemson will take a 5-game winning streak into games against Western Carolina, Presbyterian College

Clemson's Steven Duggar steals second base under the tag of Gardner-Webb's Scott Johnson during the seventh inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Steven Duggar steals second base under the tag of Gardner-Webb's Scott Johnson during the seventh inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

Danger Alert: In their last three games against Western Carolina and Presbyterian College, Clemson's Tigers are 0-3.

The Tigers, riding the momentum of a five-game winning streak kicked off by an extra-innings victory over No. 1 North Carolina a week ago, have their work cut out for them this week during a critical five-game stretch.

The Tigers - 21-11, with a No. 21 RPI ranking against the nation's 11th toughest schedule - travel to Cullowhee, N.C. on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game against Western Carolina's Catamounts, and then will be home on Wednesday for a 6:30 p.m. game against Presbyterian.

The Catamounts, 19-15 and coming off a series victory over Furman, swept the Tigers twice last season by scores of 8-4 and 13-8.

The Blue Hose, 18-16 and coming off a Sunday loss to Campbell, defeated the Tigers 8-4 in their only 2012 meeting. The teams split in 2011, with PC winning 4-3 and Clemson winning 7-2.

After their two midweek games, the Tigers will be back in ACC action with a three-game home series against Wake Forest. Friday and Saturday games will be played at 6:30 p.m., with the Sunday finale at 1 p.m.

Last Week’s Game Notes

Clemson went 5-1 in six games this past week, five of which were on the road. The Tigers finished the series at #1 North Carolina on Monday by splitting a pair of games, defeated Gardner-Webb at home on Wednesday, then swept Boston College on the road over the weekend.

On the week, the Tigers outscored the opposition 28-18 and batted .264 with a .343 slugging percentage and .321 on-base percentage. They also totaled 12 doubles, one triple, one homer, 19 walks, and nine stolen bases. Clemson fielded at a .983 percentage.

Joe Costigan, who had not started a game all year entering the week, led Clemson at the plate by going 5-for-11 (.455) with four doubles, five RBIs, and two walks. Shane Kennedy went 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles, three RBIs, four walks, and one steal. Tyler Slaton also went 10-for-26 (.385) with a triple, RBI, and two walks.

The Tiger pitching staff had a 2.45 ERA and .214 opponents’ batting average on the week. The staff also allowed 43 hits and 23 walks with 32 strikeouts in 55.0 innings pitched.

In 11.0 innings pitched over two starts, Matthew Crownover was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. Matt Campbell had two saves in two relief appearances, allowing no hits, no runs, and one walk with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched.

Season Notes

Clemson has a 21-11 overall record and 9-6 ACC mark on the season. At the halfway point of the ACC schedule, the Tigers are 3-3 in ACC home games and 6-3 in ACC road games.

Clemson, who has won five games in a row overall and four straight ACC contests, is in second place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings behind Florida State (10-5). N.C. State is third in the division with an 8-7 league mark. North Carolina leads the overall ACC standings with a 12-2 mark, while the Tigers are tied for fourth in the overall ACC standings with Georgia Tech.

The Tigers, who are averaging 5.1 runs per game, are hitting .272 with a .357 slugging percentage and .336 on-base percentage thanks to 98 walks and 14 hit-by-pitches. The team has totaled 55 doubles, four triples, 10 homers, and 44 stolen bases. Clemson has also left 42 fewer runners on base than its opponents.

Tyler Slaton is hitting a team-best .351 with three doubles, one triples, and six RBIs. The sophomore outfielder is second in the ACC in batting average in league games with a .463 mark (19-for-41). In nine road games, Slaton is 17-for-30 (.567) with a .606 on-base percentage as well.

Garrett Boulware is hitting .327 with six doubles, one triple, five homers, and 29 RBIs, while Shane Kennedy is batting .318 with two homers, 19 RBIs, and a team-high .403 on-base percentage.

Another Tiger emerged this past week to aid the Clemson offense. Joe Costigan made the most of his first three starts of the season this past week and is 6-for-16 (.375) with five doubles, five RBIs, and two walks in 2013.

The pitching staff has a 3.32 ERA and .256 opponents’ batting average in 290.0 innings pitched this season. It has allowed 284 hits and 100 walks with 201 strikeouts, good for a 2.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The weekend rotation of sophomore righthander Daniel Gossett, freshman righty Clate Schmidt, and freshman lefty Matthew Crownover all recorded wins at Boston College. Crownover is 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA and .234 opponents’ batting average, Gossett is 4-2 with a 3.04 ERA and .215 opponents’ batting average, and Schmidt is 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA.

Three Tiger freshmen, Crownover, Brody Koerner, and Schmidt, have combined to start 16 games on the mound. Clemson has a 13-3 record in those 16 games. Matt Campbell has six saves and a .220 opponents’ batting average in 11.2 innings pitched over 11 relief appearances in 2013 as well.

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