Still-hot Tigers hope to cool Seminoles with Atlantic Division title on the line

No. 14 Clemson has won eight straight, No. 8 Florida State 11 of 12 going into series

Clemson head coach Jack Leggett, left, greets Florida State head coach Mike Martin, right, as home plate umpire Bryant Woodall  looks on before their NCAA college baseball game on Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson head coach Jack Leggett, left, greets Florida State head coach Mike Martin, right, as home plate umpire Bryant Woodall looks on before their NCAA college baseball game on Saturday, May 12, 2012 in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

With the ACC Atlantic Division championship and the No. 2 seed in the ACC tournament on the line, the Clemson baseball team will wrap up its regular season beginning Thursday with a three-game series at Florida State.

The Tigers bring a 38-15 overall record and a 17-10 ACC mark into the series, and are ranked as high as 14th in the nation. The Seminoles (42-10, 18-9) are ranked as high as No. 8.

Game times at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee are 6 p.m. on Thursday, 8 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Thursday’s game will be available via webcast on ESPN3, while the games on Friday and Saturday will be televised nationally by ESPNU. All three games will also be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all three games as well.

The FSU Series

Clemson and Florida State have met 125 times, with the Seminoles holding a 66-58-1 lead in the series dating to the 1958 season. The Tigers have won eight of the last 11 games in the series after Florida State won five of the previous six meetings.

Last season at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the Tigers won the first two games by scores of 7-2 and 9-7 before the top-ranked Seminoles rebounded to defeat Clemson 9-5 in the series-finale.

Then in the ACC Tournament at Greensboro, NC, Jon McGibbon hit a three-run, walkoff homer to give Clemson a 9-7 victory over No. 1 Florida State.

In 2011 at Dick Howser Stadium, Florida State won game-one 8-6 before Clemson won the final two games by scores of 7-4 and 8-5. Florida State later defeated Clemson 6-3 in the ACC tournament at Durham, NC.

The Seminoles hold a 35-15-1 lead over the Tigers in games played at Florida State, while Clemson leads 33-30 in ACC regular-season games.

Jack Leggett has a 34-39 record against Florida State as Clemson’s head coach, including a 9-18 mark at Dick Howser Stadium. All 73 of Leggett’s games coached against Florida State have been against a top-25 ranked Seminole team. Under Leggett, the Tigers are also 29-35 against a top-10 Seminole squad.

The Seminoles

The Seminoles, who are 39-0 when scoring at least four runs and have won 11 of their last 12 games, are 30-2 at home in 2013.

Florida State, which is 6-2 in one-run games, is averaging 7.0 runs per game and hitting .291 with a .431 slugging percentage and .417 on-base percentage thanks to 300 walks and 83 hit-by-pitches against 305 strikeouts. The team has also totaled 121 doubles, 14 triples, 29 home runs, and 37 stolen bases in 62 attempts.

DJ Stewart is hitting .328 with 20 doubles, four homers, 49 RBIs, and a team-high seven steals. Jose Brizuela is batting .328, while Marcus Davis is hitting .314 with 17 doubles, nine homers, and 49 RBIs. Stephen McGee has added eight homers, 45 RBIs, and 45 walks against 28 strikeouts as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.66 ERA and .234 opponents’ batting average along with 410 strikeouts against 156 walks in 460.0 innings pitched. Junior righthander Robby Coles has eight of the team’s 11 saves along with a 4-1 record, 1.20 ERA, .177 opponents’ batting average, and 33 strikeouts in 30.0 innings pitched over 25 relief appearances. Florida State, which has allowed 26 steals in 47 attempts, is fielding at a .965 rate.

The Tigers

The Tigers, who have won eight games in a row and 22 of their last 26 games, are 11-6 on opponents’ home fields in 2013.

The Tigers are averaging 5.8 runs per game and hitting .282 with a .365 slugging percentage and .366 on-base percentage thanks to 229 walks and 26 hit-by-pitches, against 333 strikeouts. Clemson has totaled 74 doubles, 14 triples, 16 homers, and has 94 stolen bases in 129 attempts.

Shane Kennedy, who is riding a 10-game hitting streak, leads the team in batting average (.326) and on-base percentage (.423) along with totaling four homers, 30 RBIs, and 17 steals. Garrett Boulware is batting .311 with seven homers and 43 RBIs, while Steve Wilkerson is hitting .310 with a team-high 16 doubles. Thomas Brittle has added a team-high 19 stolen bases as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.94 ERA and .258 opponents’ batting average in 481.0 innings pitched. The staff has allowed 168 walks against 348 strikeouts, good for a 2.07 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior righthander Matt Campbell has seven of the team’s 14 saves, while senior righty Scott Firth has four saves. The Tigers are fielding at a .971 clip as well.

Worth Noting

• Clemson has five walkoff hits in 2013. Each of the last four walkoff hits have been by freshmen, Tyler Krieger (2), Kevin Bradley (1), and Steven Duggar (1).

ACC Standings

The Tigers are in second place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings with a 17-10 league record. Florida State is in first place in the division with an 18-9 record, while N.C. State is third at 16-9. North Carolina is atop the overall ACC standings at 20-5. In the overall ACC standings, Clemson is in fourth place. The top-eight teams in the overall ACC standings will play in the 2013 ACC Tournament at Durham, N.C.

The ACC Atlantic Division race will come down to the final weekend when Clemson plays at Florida State and N.C. State plays at Duke. Assuming all three games of both series are finished and there are no ties, the are several scenarios for the three teams in contention for the division title.

Florida State will win the division if it wins at least two games. Clemson will win the division if it sweeps its series. The Tigers will also win the division if they win two games and N.C. State loses at least one game. In that case, Clemson and Florida State would tie for the division title, but the Tigers would win the tiebreaker (2 of 3 over FSU) and be the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament. N.C. State will win the division if it sweeps its series and Clemson wins two of three games.

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