June 1, 2004
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Tigers Earn #2 Seed at Athens Regional Clemson (36-24), ranked as high as #22, received a #2 seed at the Athens (GA) Regional to be played June 4-6 at Foley Field. The Tigers will play #3-seed and Birmingham-Southern (46-16) Friday at 7:00 PM EDT. Top-seed and host Georgia (38-20) will play Middle Tennessee (40-20) Friday at 3:00 PM. The two losers will play Saturday at 11:00 AM, while the two winners will play Saturday at 3:00 PM. The winner of the second game Saturday will play in the championship round Sunday at 2:00 PM, while the loser of the second game Saturday will play the winner of the first game Saturday at 7:00 PM. If the unbeaten team loses Sunday, there will be another game 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game Sunday to determine the regional champion. The winner of the Athens Regional will play the winner of the Atlanta (GA) Regional from June 11-13 at a site to be determined.
Clemson’s NCAA Tournament History The 2004 season marks Clemson’s 30th trip to an NCAA Regional dating back to the 1947 season. That year, Clemson actually advanced to the Final Eight of the NCAA Tournament, but it is not considered a College World Series season because only two teams went to the CWS in those days.
Clemson won the 1947 District III Tournament in Charlotte by coming through the losers bracket. The Tigers, coached by Randy Hinson, lost in the first round to Alabama 8-2, then came back with a win over Auburn and two wins over Alabama to advance. Clemson’s season ended when a Yale team, led by future President George Bush, defeated the Tigers in New Haven, CT, 7-3. Bush was 1-for-3 as the starting first baseman.
Clemson made its first trip to the College World Series in 1958 when the Tigers again came through the losers bracket. After losing to Florida in the first round, Clemson came back to defeat George Washington, Florida State, and Florida twice to advance under first year coach Bill Wilhelm. Clemson defeated Florida 15-14 and 3-1 on June 9 to advance. Harold Stowe struck out 17 in that second game on June 9 and that is still a Clemson single-game record for strikeouts in an NCAA Tournament game.
The Tigers advanced to the CWS in 1959, this time with three easy wins; one over Georgia Tech and two over Florida State. One of the wins over the Seminoles was a 24-2 victory in Gastonia, NC. That tally is still tied for the most runs scored by Clemson in an NCAA Tourney game.
The Tigers did not advance to Omaha again until 1976. In fact, Clemson made just one NCAA Tournament appearance between 1960 and 1974. That was in 1967 when Clemson reached the Regional Championship, but lost to Auburn 6-5.
Clemson made it to Omaha three out of five years between 1976-80. Clemson won a regional in Columbia, SC in 1976 with three straight wins, then came through the losers bracket in Miami (FL) in 1977 to advance to Omaha. The 1980 season was the first year Clemson played host to a regional, as Clemson swept three games by scoring 45 runs, including 17 in a 17-12 win over South Carolina.
Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1987, making College World Series trips in 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, and 2002. Clemson’s streak of 18 consecutive regionals is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (FL) (32) and Florida State (28). Clemson’s streak is also tied for the fourth-longest in college baseball history.
Overall, Clemson has been to a regional in 30 seasons (including 2004), sixth-best all-time. Clemson’s all-time record in NCAA play is 81-62, a .566 winning percentage.
Clemson is 36-22 (.621) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play, including a 24-5 record in home NCAA Tournament games. Leggett has taken Clemson to a Regional all 11 years he has been Clemson’s head coach, and the Tigers have advanced to the College World Series four times. Leggett has taken Clemson to the Super Regional four of the five years that format has been in existence.
Tiger NCAA Marks Held by Current Tigers Two Tigers hold school records in the NCAA Tournament. In 2002, Zane Green hit six homers in 10 NCAA Tournament games, setting a new Tiger mark. Ironically, those are the only six homers of his career in 194 career games. Righthander Patrick Hogan also made five relief appearances in the 2002 tourney, tying the Clemson mark.
Clemson #17 in Unofficial RPI The only rating system the NCAA uses to determine selections and seedings is the RPI, or the Ratings Percentage Index. Although the NCAA does not release its official RPI, Boyd Nation has come up with an RPI index that is all but the same as the official RPI. He uses numbers from previous seasons to verify his formulas.
In the May 31 release (listed at BoydsWorld.com), his RPI index has Clemson #17. The Tigers play one of the toughest schedules in the nation during the 2004 season. Clemson can thank a tough non-conference schedule for its high RPI ranking. Of the Tigers’ 60 games, 36 have been against teams ranked in the top 35 of the RPI. The Tigers also have 18 wins against teams in the top 50 of the RPI. The RPI only counts games against Division I teams and is for games through May 30.
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