Solid William & Mary squad will provide opening-weekend test for Tigers

Tribe is coming off a 31-25 season, with six position starters, 17 lettermen returning

Clemson head baseball coach Jack Leggett, center, talks with his team before they take the field for batting practice on Monday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. The Tigers open their 2013 season when they host William & Mary on Feb. 15.

Mark Crammer Independent Mail

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson head baseball coach Jack Leggett, center, talks with his team before they take the field for batting practice on Monday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. The Tigers open their 2013 season when they host William & Mary on Feb. 15. Mark Crammer Independent Mail

Clemson will open the 2013 season against William & Mary in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game times are 4 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

All three games will be available live via webcast on TigerCast at ClemsonTigers.com. All three games will also be broadcast live on the radio by WCCP (104.9 FM); however, Sunday’s game will be broadcast only after the Clemson women’s basketball game, which also begins at 1 p.m., is completed. Live stats will be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games as well.

Clemson and William & Mary have met three times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 3-0 lead in the series dating back to the 2000 season. All three meetings have taken place at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Starting Pitchers

In game-one, William & Mary will start senior righthander Brett Koehler on the mound. he Glen Gardner, NJ native had a 6-2 record and 3.21 ERA in 70.0 innings pitched over 13 appearances (10 starts) in 2012. He surrendered 63 hits (.237 opponents’ batting average) and 10 walks with 55 strikeouts.

The Tigers will counter with sophomore righthander Daniel Gossett. The Lyman, SC native had a 6-3 record and 4.32 ERA in 77.0 innings pitched over 19 appearances (10 starts) in 2012. He allowed 62 hits (.221 opponents’ batting average) and 39 walks with 87 strikeouts.

In game-two, the Tribe will send out senior righty John Farrell on the mound. The Andover, Mass. native had a 2-3 record, eight saves, and a 2.32 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched over 24 relief appearances in 2012. He surrendered 43 hits (.269 opponents’ batting average) and 14 walks with 42 strikeouts. Farrell, who has made 64 career appearances with the Tribe, will be making his first career start.

Clemson will counter with sophomore righty Patrick Andrews on Saturday. The Hilton Head, S.C. native had a 2-3 record and 5.52 ERA in 29.1 innings pitched over 20 relief appearances in 2012. Andrews, who will be making his first career start, yielded 29 hits (.264 opponents’ batting average) and 15 walks with 25 strikeouts.

In game-three, William & Mary will start sophomore righty Jason Inghram on the mound. The Chesapeake, Va. native had a 3-2 record and 3.20 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched over 16 appearances (six starts) in 2012. He allowed 35 hits (.241 opponents’ batting average) and 13 walks with 41 strikeouts.

Clemson's Sunday starter will be enior righthander Scott Firth on Sunday. The Buffalo Grove, IL native had a 4-0 record and 2.09 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched over 24 relief appearances in 2012. He gave up 44 hits (.229 opponents’ batting average) and 33 walks with 44 strikeouts. Firth will be making his first start since 2011 when he earned the win against Sacred Heart in the Clemson Regional.

The Tribe

William & Mary, led by first-year coach Jamie Pinzino, is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and like the Tigers will play its first game of the season on Friday. William & Mary is coming off a 31-25 season, which included a 12-18 record in the CAA.

William & Mary returns 17 lettermen and six position starters along with seven of its 13 pitchers from a season ago. Junior infielder Ryan Lindemuth is among the top returning players. The Burke, VA native hit .376 with five homers, 48 RBIs, and 14 steals in 2012. Sophomore infielder Michael Katz returns after hitting .316 with team highs in both homers (10) and RBIs (58) as a freshman. Senior righty John Farrell, who had eight of the team’s nine saves in 2012, also returns in 2013.

The Tigers

Clemson enters the season-opening series against William & Mary coming off a 35-28 record in 2012. The Tigers return four position starters and 17 lettermen overall.

Among the top returnees are senior outfielder Thomas Brittle, who hit .298 with 15 stolen bases in 2012. Junior second-baseman Steve Wilkerson, like Brittle, was a Second-Team All-ACC player who batted .295 with 10 steals in 2012.

The Tiger pitching staff had a 3.90 ERA and 460 strikeouts against 248 walks in 2012. Senior righthander Scott Firth had a team-high three saves along with a 4-0 record and 2.09 ERA in 24 relief appearances in 2012.

Polls

Clemson enters the 2013 season unranked, but has had at least one final top-25 ranking in 15 of Jack Leggett’s first 19 seasons. The Tigers have also been ranked No. 1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the three major polls under Leggett. Their last No. 1 ranking came on February 12, 2007 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

Leggett A Consistent Winner

Jack Leggett has an 847-404-1 (.677) record at Clemson in 19 seasons. The late Bill Wilhelm has the most wins of any Tiger coach with 1,161 in 36 seasons (1958-93) at Clemson. Leggett’s 847 wins are second-most in school history. No other Clemson coach has more than 70 wins.

Leggett earned win No. 800 as the leader of the Tiger program in Clemson’s 12-0 victory over Gardner-Webb in the second game of a doubleheader on May 7, 2011.

Through Leggett’s first 19 seasons at Clemson, he has 847 wins. Only six other programs (Florida State, Wichita State, Rice, Louisiana State, Cal State Fullerton, Miami (FL)) have more wins over that span from 1994-12. Leggett has also directed Clemson to a winning record in ACC regular-season games in 18 of his 19 seasons.

What makes Leggett’s win total even more impressive is the fact that he has not shied away from playing stiff competition. Since 2004, when the strength of schedule ratings were first kept at WarrenNolan.com, Clemson’s schedule has been one of the 17 toughest in the nation during all nine seasons, including eight of the nine years with a strength of schedule #9 or better (2004 (#5), 2005 (#4), 2006 (#1), 2007 (#17), 2008 (#2), 2009 (#9), 2010 (#5), 2011 (#6), 2012 (#6)).

Leggett has 1,224 career wins in 33 seasons as a head coach. That victory total is #14 on the all-time NCAA Division I list. In Clemson’s 11-8 win at Georgia Tech on April 29, 2012, he moved ahead of Richard Jones, who had 1,214 career wins, into 14th place. Leggett also reached the 1,200 win mark in Clemson’s 4-2 win over Elon at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC on March 21, 2012.

Leggett passed the late Bill Wilhelm, who is tied for 18th place with 1,161 wins in 36 seasons (1958-93) as Clemson’s head coach, on April 6, 2011 in the Tigers’ 12-3 win over Western Carolina. Leggett is also sixth in wins among active coaches.

Four Tigers Named Co-Captains

Four Tigers were selected as team captains, as voted on by the players, prior to the 2013 season. Senior outfielder Thomas Brittle, senior bullpen catcher Marcus Curry, senior righthander Scott Firth, and junior first-baseman Jon McGibbon were all named captains.

Since Curry, who is in his fourth season in the program, was designated as a bullpen catcher in 2011, he can never play in a game as a Tiger.

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