Tigers hit the road against preseason ACC favorite Wolfpack

North Carolina State's Carlos Rodon pitches during an NCAA college baseball game against Clemson on Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

North Carolina State's Carlos Rodon pitches during an NCAA college baseball game against Clemson on Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

The Clemson baseball Tigers have worked their way through 11 games, one big rivalry series, and enough innings to remove the novice tag from in front of their youngest players.

And now the serious business of Atlantic Coast Conference competition begins.

Clemson (7-4) takes on No. 9 North Carolina State (11-2) Friday in the first ACC series of the season for both teams.

First pitch from Raleigh’s Doak Field is set for 3 p.m.

The Wolfpack was the preseason pick of league coaches to win the ACC, while the Tigers were selected to finish third in the Atlantic Division.

The opener will see State put sophomore lefthander Carlos Rodon (1-1, 2.70 ERA) on the hill against sophomore right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-1, 1.00 ERA).

Gossett has worked 18 innings in three starts, allowing 13 hits against seven walks with 16 strikeouts.

Rodon, who has also started three games, has mowed down 38 batters in 20 innings while yielding just seven hits and issuing five bases on balls.

The Wolfpack has had little trouble pushing across runs so far this season, averaging 8.9 runs per game and hitting .300 as a team.

Shortstop Trea Turner leads the way with a .490 average that includes five doubles, two triples, four homers, 17 RBIs, 25 runs, and eight steals.

Outfielder Brett Williams (.395) has three homers, 15 RBIs, and eight steals, and second baseman Sam Morgan (.348) has launched two home runs

Clemson is scoring 4.6 runs per outing with Steve Wilkerson hitting .366.

The junior middle infielder has driven in eight runs on the strength of a homer and three doubles, while sophomore catcher Garrett Boulware and freshman outfielder Steve Duggar are batting .321 and .316, respectively.

Third baseman/designated hitter Shane Kennedy, a junior out of Santa Fe Community College, leads the team in runs batted in with 12.

N.C. State will send senior right-hander Ethan Ogburn (1-0, 1.00 ERA) to the mound in game two on Saturday (4 p.m.) against freshman right-hander Clate Schmidt (2-0, 1.32 ERA). In the series finale on Sunday (1 p.m.) it’ll be Wolfpack freshman left-hander Brad Stone (1-0, 6.75 ERA) opposite Tiger senior right-hander Scott Firth (2-1, 0.86 ERA).

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