Georgia Tech, Maryland up next for Tigers, with ACC Atlantic up for grabs

Clemson's game Wednesday against Western Carolina will kick off extended, final homestand

Georgia Tech, Maryland up next for Tigers, with ACC Atlantic up for grabs

Photo by Ken Ruinard

How good was Miami's pitching in its 2-1 home series victory over No. 12 Clemson over the weekend?

Clemson had a 2.16 team ERA and allowed just three extra base hits in 25 innings, yet lost two of three games.

Miami held the Tigers to a .160 team batting average, limited them to just two hits in 35 chances with men on base, and shut out Clemson (0-for-10) with runners in scoring position.

Clemson mustered just two runs all weekend - one in a 1-0 opening shutout victory, and another in a 2-1 mid-series loss. Miami won the third game 7-0 on Sunday.

The Tigers (27-13, 13-8) had been waiting for weeks for a chance to overtake Florida State at the top of the ACC Atlantic Division standings Clemson caught up with the Seminoles this weekend, thanks to Virginia's three-game sweep of FSU, but was passed by N.C. State, which swept Georgia Tech in Atlanta, extended its winning streak to 14 games, and grabbed the division lead at 14-7.

Next up for Clemson is a 6:30 p.m. home game on Wednesday against always-dangerous Western Carolina, and then a three-game home series against Georgia Tech.

Who's Hot, Who's Not

Top-ranked North Carolina and No. 14 N.C. State are the ACC's hottest teams, having each won 14 straight. The Wolfpack hasn't lost since dropping the middle game of a three-game series against Maryland the last week of March, while the Tar Heels last lost in a Monday night series finale against Clemson on April 1.

The Tigers' victory kicked off an 11-game winning streak that ended with Clemson losing two of three games against Miami. The Hurricanes have now won seven of their last 10, and Virginia - which has overcome a rough spot in which the Cavaliers lost three of four games - has won 19 of its last 23.

Florida State and Georgia Tech, meanwhile, have struggled so far this month. The Seminoles are 8-7 in their last 15 games, while the Yellow Jackets have lost eight of their last 14.

Futility continues to Boston College, which lost its 20th straight ACC game on Sunday - a 10-9, 11-inning decision to Wake Forest.

Last Week’s Game Notes

Clemson, ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation, went 1-2 in three games at Miami over the weekend after Wednesday night’s home game against Furman was rained out.

Miami won two of three games over Clemson by a combined score of 9-2 at Alex Rodriguez Park from April 19-21. Miami outhit the Tigers .272 to .160. Steve Wilkerson led Clemson at the plate by going 4-for-10. Miami limited Clemson to just 2-for-35 (.057) with runners on base and 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the series. The Tiger pitching staff had a 2.16 ERA and allowed just three extra-base hits, all doubles.

In game-one on April 19, Daniel Gossett, Matt Campbell, and Scott Firth combined for a four-hit shutout in Clemson’s 1-0 victory over Miami. Gossett allowed just three hits with 10 strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched, while Firth pitched a perfect ninth inning to record the save. The three Tiger righthanders combined to allow only two baserunners past first base and one baserunner past second base. Jon McGibbon led off the sixth inning with a walk, advanced to third on Tyler Slaton’s single up the middle, and scored on Thomas Brittle’s groundout for the game’s only run.

In game-two on April 20, Bryan Radziewski struck out 10 batters in 7.0 innings pitched to lead Miami to a 2-1 win over Clemson. The Tigers took the lead with a run in the second inning, but Miami scored single runs in the third and fifth innings. Clemson hit two, two-out singles in the ninth inning, but fell short. Three Tiger pitchers combined to allow two unearned runs, but the three Miami hurlers combined to allow just one run on four hits with 13 strikeouts. Garrett Boulware had two of the Tigers’ four hits in the game, but it was not enough, as Clemson’s 11-game winning streak came to an end.

In game-three on April 21, Andrew Suarez pitched a six-hit shutout in Miami’s 7-0 victory over Clemson. The lefthander allowed six singles, no runs, and no walks with five strikeouts in throwing only 109 pitches. The Hurricanes scored one run in the first inning and two runs in the second inning. Miami put the game away with three runs on five hits in the eighth inning. Alexander Hernandez went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to lead Miami, who outhit the Tigers 13-6 and did not strike out for the second game in a row. Wilkerson went 3-for-4 to lead the Tigers.

2013 Season Notes

Clemson has a 27-13 overall record and 13-8 ACC mark on the season. Despite falling twice in three games at Miami (FL), the Tigers are still just one game out of first place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings. However, it is N.C. State who is atop the ACC standings at 14-7 thanks in large part to its current 14-game winning streak. The Tigers are tied with Florida State for second place in the division and fourth in the overall ACC standings behind North Carolina (18-2) and Virginia (16-5). Also currently in line for spots in the eight-team ACC tournament are Georgia Tech (11-10), Miami (10-11) and Virginia Tech (9-12).

The Tigers, who are averaging 4.9 runs per game, are hitting .270 with a .355 slugging percentage and .340 on-base percentage thanks to 138 walks and 15 hit-by-pitches. The team has totaled 58 doubles, nine triples, 13 homers, and 59 stolen bases.

Clemson’s offense has been a determining factor in the Tigers’ success in 2013. When the Tigers have outhit the opposition, they are 20-1. When they have not, they are 7-12. Clemson is also 22-2 when scoring four or more runs and 5-11 when scoring less than four runs. he Tigers are 17-0 when scoring at least six runs as well.

Tyler Slaton is hitting a team-best .324. Shane Kennedy is hitting .307 with four doubles, three triples, two homers, 21 RBIs, a team-best .400 on-base percentage, and 10 steals. Garrett Boulware is batting .303 with seven homers and 31 RBIs as well.

The pitching staff has a 3.08 ERA and .257 opponents’ batting average in 362.0 innings pitched this season. It has allowed 352 hits and 123 walks with 248 strikeouts, good for a 2.02 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

In 16.0 innings pitched over his last three starts, Matthew Crownover has allowed no earned runs and only one extra-base hit. The freshman lefthander leads the team with a 2.28 ERA along with a 5-1 record in 43.1 innings pitched.

Daniel Gossett is 6-2 with a 2.56 ERA and .218 opponents’ batting average along with 61 strikeouts in 63.1 innings pitched.

Scott Firth has a 2.68 ERA and three saves. In his seven relief appearances since moving to the bullpen, he has pitched 14.1 innings and has allowed just eight hits and no earned runs.

Clemson’s other closer, Matt Campbell, has pitched superb of late as well. In 9.0 innings pitched over his last seven relief appearances, he has yielded just one hit, no runs, and two walks with 10 strikeouts while registering two saves.

Wednesday’s game against Western Carolina will begin a 13-game stretch where 12 of Clemson’s games are at home and the other is against Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville.

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