Clemson vs. Florida State
Clemson (38-15, 17-10 ACC), ranked as high as #14 in the nation, will travel to Tallahassee, FL to close the regular-season at #8 Florida State (42-10, 18-9 ACC) in a three-game series at Dick Howser Stadium from Thursday to Saturday. Game times are 6:00 PM (Thursday), 8:00 PM (Friday), and 3:00 PM (Saturday).
Thursday's game will be available via webcast on ESPN3, while the games on Friday and Saturday will be televised 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.
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 #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 Starting Pitchers
In game-one, Florida State will start junior righthander Peter Miller (6-1, 3.04 ERA) on the mound. The Lutz, FL native has made 11 starts for a total of 53.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 51 hits (.252 opponents' batting average) and 18 walks with 43 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with sophomore righty Daniel Gossett (8-3, 2.36 ERA) on Thursday. The Lyman, SC native has made 13 starts for a total of 80.0 innings pitched. He has surrendered 64 hits (.213 opponents' batting average) and 28 walks with 80 strikeouts.
In game-two, the Seminoles will start sophomore righty Luke Weaver (5-2, 2.17 ERA) on the mound. The DeLand, FL native has made 11 starts and two relief appearances for a total of 70.2 innings pitched. He has given up 55 hits (.214 opponents' batting average) and 14 walks with 83 strikeouts.
Clemson will counter with freshman lefty Matthew Crownover (7-1, 1.90 ERA) on Friday. The Ringgold, GA native has made 12 starts and one relief appearance for a total of 61.2 innings pitched. He has yielded 54 hits (.241 opponents' batting average) and 16 walks with 39 strikeouts.
In game-three, Florida State will start sophomore lefty Brandon Leibrandt (8-4, 3.41 ERA) on the mound. The Alpharetta, GA native has made 13 starts for a total of 74.0 innings pitched. He has allowed 66 hits (.245 opponents' batting average) and 25 walks with 69 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with freshman lefthander Zack Erwin (5-0, 2.88 ERA) on Saturday. The Duluth, GA native has made 16 relief appearances and three starts for a total of 50.0 innings pitched. He has surrendered 38 hits (.221 opponents' batting average) and 17 walks with 26 strikeouts.
Florida State, led by 35th-year Head Coach Mike Martin and ranked as high as #8 in the nation, enters the series against #14 Clemson with a 42-10 overall record and 18-9 ACC mark after winning two of three games at N.C. State from Saturday to Monday. 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, who 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, who has allowed 26 steals in 47 attempts, is fielding at a .965 clip as well.
Clemson, ranked as high as #14 in the nation, enters the series at #8 Florida State with a 38-15 overall record and 17-10 ACC mark after rallying to defeat USC Upstate 8-7 at home on Tuesday night. 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 also totaled 74 doubles, 14 triples, 16 homers, and 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.
Two Tigers will return to their home state of Florida this weekend, junior outfielder Joe Costigan (Naples) and junior utility player Shane Kennedy (Orlando).
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 following lays out the 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 exactly two games and N.C. State loses at least one game. In that case, Clemson and Florida State will tie for the division title, but the Tigers will win the tiebreaker and be the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament. N.C. State will win the division if it sweeps its series and Clemson wins exactly two games.
Bradley's First Career Homer a Memorable One
Freshman utility player Kevin Bradley (Pennington, NJ) made a last-minute start at first base against USC Upstate on May 14 due to Jon McGibbon's illness. The switch-hitter only had two career RBIs entering the contest, but he stepped up and played a big role in Clemson's dramatic 8-7 comeback victory.
With one out in the ninth inning and Clemson trailing 7-5, he hit the first pitch over the fence in left field for a three-run, walkoff homer. It was his first career home run, as he became the fifth Tiger in history and the first Tiger since 1988 to have his first career long ball be in walkoff fashion. It capped an outstanding game for Bradley, who went 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs, two runs, one walk, and one hit-by-pitch.