Baseball to Make 31st Appearance in NCAA Tournament Friday

Baseball to Make 31st Appearance in NCAA Tournament Friday

June 1, 2005

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Tigers Earn Regional Host Site Clemson (39-21), ranked as high as #12, received a #1 seed and host site at the Clemson Regional from June 3-6 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers will play #4-seed North Carolina A&T (27-25) Friday at 7:00 PM EDT. Clemson will be designated as the home team and occupy the third-base dugout.

Second-seed and #22-ranked College of Charleston (47-13) will play #3-seed Oral Roberts (40-18) Friday at 3:00 PM. The two losers will play Saturday at 3:00 PM, while the two winners will play Saturday at 7:00 PM. The winner of the second game Saturday will play in the championship round Sunday at 7:00 PM, while the loser of the second game Saturday will play the winner of the first game Saturday at 3:00 PM on Sunday. If the unbeaten team loses Sunday night, the same two teams will play a game on Monday at 7:00 PM to determine the Clemson Regional champion.

The winner of the Clemson Regional will play the winner of the Waco (TX) Regional from June 10-12 at a site to be determined. The four teams in that regional are #1-seed Baylor, #2-seed Texas Christian, #3-seed Stanford, and #4-seed Texas-San Antonio.

Clemson To Play Regional Host for 10th Time This will be the 10th time in history that Clemson has played host to an NCAA Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson has a 27-7 record in NCAA Regional games played at home, including winning 13 of the last 14 games. Clemson has only lost one home NCAA Tournament game since 1998 when Southern California defeated the Tigers 8-5 on May 23. That Trojan team went on to win the national title.

The Tigers will be hosting for the first time since 2002, and will be able to show off its recent renovations of Doug Kingsmore Stadium in a regional for the first time. The stadium underwent extensive renovations after the 2002 season.

Clemson first played host to an NCAA Regional in 1980. The Tigers swept through three games that year, including a 17-12 win over rival South Carolina that clinched Clemson’s trip to Omaha.

Clemson has celebrated a trip to Omaha by winning a regional on its home field five times in history, including each of the last four times Clemson has advanced to the College World Series. Each time Clemson has won a four-team regional at home, the Tigers have posted a perfect record. In other words, Clemson has never lost a four-team NCAA Regional game at home, then come through the losers bracket to win the regional.

Clemson did play an NCAA Tournament “play-in” game in 1954, but the official NCAA recordbook does not consider that to be an NCAA Tournament game, as it is not listed in its recordbooks. That year, Clemson lost to Virginia Tech in a game at Clemson, 11-10, then traveled to Blacksburg two days later and lost 7-1.

This will be the eighth year in the 12 seasons Jack Leggett has been head coach when Clemson has played host to a regional. The Tigers have a 24-5 NCAA Tournament record at home under Leggett, including 22 wins in its last 25 games. The 1994 and 1998 seasons are the only years Clemson failed to advance from a regional played at home under Leggett.

Clemson’s NCAA Tournament History The 2005 season marks Clemson’s 31st 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 by a score of 7-3. Bush was 1-for-3 as the starting first baseman.

Clemson made its first trip to Omaha and 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 19 consecutive regionals is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (FL) (33) and Florida State (28). Clemson’s streak is also tied for the third-longest in college baseball history.

Overall, Clemson has been to a regional in 31 seasons (including 2005), sixth-best all-time. Clemson’s all-time record in NCAA play is 84-64, a 56.8 winning percentage.

Clemson is 39-24 (.619) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play, including a 24-5 record in home NCAA Tourney games. Leggett has taken Clemson to a regional all 12 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 six years that format has been in existence.

Scouting #1-Seed Clemson Top-seeded and #12-ranked Clemson (39-21) enters the NCAA Clemson Regional after going 2-2 in the ACC Tournament. Clemson was 21-9 during the ACC regular season, finishing in second place in the standings. The 21 victories set a school record for most conference wins. Clemson is making its 19th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, tied for the third-longest streak in history.

The Tigers, who are 22-7 at home, are led by 12th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett. His 512 wins through the first 11 seasons is the sixth-most in college baseball during his tenure. Since starting the season 15-13, Clemson has a 24-8 record. The team also has a top-10 RPI thanks to playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. The Tigers are also 17-7 against top-25 ranked teams in 2005.

The team is hitting .309 and is led by two freshmen. Brad Chalk (.363) and Taylor Harbin (.360) are the team’s top-two hitters. Chalk is riding a 13-game hitting streak, while Harbin has 28 doubles, 10 homers, and 60 RBIs. Kris Harvey has an ACC-best 22 homers along with 67 RBIs. Clemson has hit 72 homers as a team, while allowing just 27 long balls. The team also has a school-record 54 sacrifice bunts, including 13 by Chalk.

The pitching staff has a 4.01 ERA and .271 opponents’ batting average. Josh Cribb has been one of the team’s hottest pitchers. In his last three starts, he has a 3-0 record (which includes two complete games), a 1.08 ERA, and 23 strikeouts against only two walks. Overall, he is 7-4 with a 3.53 ERA and 86 strikeouts against only 21 walks. Jeff Hahn, one of just two seniors on the team, has a team-high three saves. Clemson is fielding at a .970 clip as well, just behind the school record of .971 (2002).

Scouting #2-Seed College of Charleston Second-seeded and #22 College of Charleston (47-13) enters the NCAA Regional after going 3-2 in the Southern Conference Tournament. The Cougars, who are 20-8 in games away from home, won the regular-season title with a 27-3 record. The 2005 season marks the second time in school history they have played in an NCAA Tournament. In 2004, they played in the Baton Rouge (LA) Regional.

College of Charleston is led by sixth-year Head Coach John Pawlowski. Pawlowski lettered at Clemson three times (1983-85) and went on to play two years (1987,88) in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox. He later went on to be Clemson’s pitching coach from 1994-98, coaching the likes of Kris Benson, Billy Koch, and Ken Vining. Another member of the Cougar squad has ties to the Tiger program. Jess Easterling, who played in Tigertown in 2003 after red-shirting in 2002, is hitting .309 with seven homers and 47 RBIs in 59 games.

The Cougars have won 18 of their last 22 games and sport one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country. They are leading the nation with a .364 batting average, led by Brett Gardner’s .456 average and 36 stolen bases in 41 attempts. D.J. Wabick is hitting .426 with nine homers and 66 RBIs, while Phillip Coker is batting .397 with 23 steals. Chris Campbell leads the club in homers (14) and RBIs (85) along with his .388 batting average.

The team has hit 174 doubles, 17 triples, and 57 homers while slugging .536. The team has walked 221 times with 99 hit-by-pitches compared to only 280 strikeouts. College of Charleston is averaging 9.1 runs per game, and has totaled 84 sacrifice bunts along with 97 steals in 125 attempts. The Cougars are 6-2 in one-run games. The team also sports a solid .969 fielding percentage.

The pitching staff has a 4.12 ERA and .271 opponents’ batting average. Junior righthander Brett Harker, a native of Greenville, SC, has a 2.27 ERA and 14 saves in 26 relief appearances. He also has 57 strikeouts against only eight walks. The team has struck out 491 against only 172 walks, good for a 2.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 2.86 walks per nine innings pitched mark.

Clemson and College of Charleston have met 14 times on the baseball diamond. The Tigers have won all 14 games, including an 8-5 win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on May 17, 2005. The Tigers were victorious 15-4 win at College of Charleston on March 5, 2004, and earned a 19-8 win at Doug Kingmsore Stadium on May 12, 2004.

In 2003, Clemson also won both meetings, including a 7-6 come-from-behind win at Mount Pleasant, SC on March 18, 2003. Clemson also won 6-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 5, 2003. Clemson won two games in 2002 and the only meeting in 2001 as well. Before the game in 2001, the two had not played each other since 1912.

The Tigers lead 9-0 in games played at Clemson and 5-0 in games played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Head Coach Jack Leggett is 8-0 against the Cougars as well.

Scouting #3-Seed Oral Roberts Third-seeded Oral Roberts (40-18) enters the NCAA Regional after capturing the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament title at Tulsa, OK. The Golden Eagles were 22-2 in the regular season in league play and have won 18 of their last 20 games. The Golden Eagles are also 18-15 away from home, which includes two wins in four games at #8 Miami (FL) and a win in three games at #8 Baylor.

This is Oral Roberts’ 17th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Golden Eagles are led by second-year Head Coach Rob Walton. Oral Roberts is hitting .279 with a .367 on-base percentage. The Golden Eagles have walked 225 times and have totaled 63 sacrifice bunts. Jon Tackett leads the club with a .325 batting average. Michael Hollimon is hitting .309 with 13 homers, 53 RBIs, and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

The pitching staff has a 2.86 ERA and .232 opponents’ batting average. The team has allowed just 24 homers and 64 doubles in 58 games. Oral Roberts also has 13 team shutouts.

In 16 starts (104.0 innings pitched), senior righthander Dennis Bigley has an 11-3 record, 1.47 ERA, seven complete games, and five shutouts. He also has a .188 opponents’ batting average and 82 strikeouts against only 24 walks, and has allowed just 10 extra base hits, including only one home run. Junior righthander Daniel Greenwalt has a team-high four saves in 25 relief appearances. The team is also fielding at a .969 clip.

Clemson and Oral Roberts have never met on the baseball diamond.

Scouting #4-Seed North Carolina A&T Fourth-seeded North Carolina A&T (27-25) enters the NCAA Regional after capturing the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament title at Lake Buena Vista, FL. The Aggies were 12-6 in the regular season in league play and have won seven of their last eight games. The Aggies are also 12-16 away from home. After their league tourney, which ended on May 1, the team has only played one game. Virginia handed the Aggies a 2-0 defeat on May 16 at Charlottesville, VA.

This is North Carolina A&T’s first NCAA Tourney appearance. The Aggies are led by eighth-year Head Coach Keith Shumate. Shumate, who graduated from Western Carolina in 1988, played under Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett in Cullowhee, NC in the mid-1980s.

The Aggies are hitting .289. They have stolen 86 bases, including a team-best 19 in 23 attempts by Nick Mayo. Jeremy Jones leads the team with a .397 batting average, while Charlie Gamble has hit 12 homers with 47 RBIs, both team highs.

The pitching staff has a 4.48 ERA and .267 opponents’ batting average. The team has allowed just 23 homers and 82 doubles in 52 games. Aggie pitchers have combined for 13 complete games as well. Michael Hauff is the ace of the staff. The junior righthander is 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 101.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 129 against only 26 walks. Senior righty Richard Hawk has a team-high nine saves in 27 relief appearances. The team is also fielding at a .946 clip.

Clemson and North Carolina A&T have never met on the baseball diamond.

Worth Noting * Clemson has won 11 of its last 13 games and 24 of its last 32 games after starting the season 15-13.

Clemson Back in All Three Polls After a 10-week hiatus, Clemson emerged back in the top 25 of the Collegiate Baseball poll at #24 on May 16. A week later, Clemson emerged in all three polls for the first time in 2005. In the latest polls, which were released on May 30, Clemson is #15 in the Baseball America poll, #12 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and #19 in the Sports Weekly poll.

Tigers #6 in Unofficial RPI Clemson is #6 in the latest RPI listing at, which includes games through May 29. The Tigers, who are 39-21, have a top-10 rating thanks to a rugged schedule, which is the fourth-toughest in the country.

And Clemson’s RPI could be much better. The RPI does not take into account margin of victory/defeat, nor does it take into account, unlike NCAA basketball, site. Clemson, who is 34-15 in its last 49 games, has lost those 15 games by a combined 41 runs. Meanwhile, it has won the 34 games by a combined 191 runs.

Clemson has played 40 of its 60 games against teams in the top 55 of the RPI. And the Tigers have played 31 of their 60 games away from home, including 25 games on opponents’ home fields. The Tigers are 8-3 against top-10 RPI teams. The Tigers are also 17-7 against top-25 ranked teams, and have lost those seven games by a combined 14 runs, while winning the 17 games by a combined 88 runs.

36 That’s how many of Clemson’s 60 games have been against teams that will play in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, which equates to 60 percent. Clemson has a 19-17 record in those 36 games. The Tigers have also played 13 games against #1 seeds. In those 13 games, Clemson is 8-5. The Tigers are also 17-7 against top-25 ranked teams in 2005.

Clemson 17-7 Against Top-25 Teams in 2005 Thanks to four wins over a top-10 Miami (FL) team, a three-game sweep of #18 UC Irvine, two wins in three games against #9 North Carolina, a two-game sweep of #25 Coastal Carolina, two wins against top-10 South Carolina, one win at #6 Florida State, one win against #6 Georgia Tech, one win against #20 College of Charleston, and a win over #18 N.C. State, Clemson is 17-7 against top-25 ranked teams, including 10-7 against top-10 teams and 4-2 against top-five teams. The seven losses against ranked teams have been by a combined 14 runs, while the 17 wins have been by a combined 88 runs.

In over 11 seasons at Clemson, Head Coach Jack Leggett has 145 wins over teams ranked in the top 25. Only three times in his first 11 seasons has he had a losing record against teams in the top 25.

Clemson Has 71% Win Mark vs. Top 25 Teams As stated earlier, Clemson has a 17-7 record against top-25 ranked teams this year, including a 10-7 record against top-10 teams and a 4-2 record against top-five opponents. The 17-7 record would be a school record for winning percentage against top-25 foes if the season ended today. That 70.8 winning percentage is far ahead of the 61.5 winning percentage of the 1998 team that posted an 8-5 record against top-25 teams.

Clemson could lose three consecutive games against top-25 teams in the postseason and still have the single-season record for this category. This year’s team is also just two top-25 wins away from tying the school mark for top-25 wins in a season. The 1994 team, Jack Leggett’s first at Clemson, had a 19-12 record against ranked teams, while his 2002 team was 19-13 against top-25 foes.

This year’s team is just one top-10 win away from tying the school record for that category. Clemson is 10-7 against top-10 teams so far this year, and the school record is 11, set by the 2000 club that had an 11-10 record against top-10 teams.

Clemson in 25-25 Club Clemson will be making its 31st NCAA Tournament appearance on the diamond this weekend, one of just six schools to go to at least 30 baseball regionals. The Tigers have also been to 27 bowl games in its history, making the Tiger sports program one of just six schools in the country to compete in at least 25 bowl games and 25 NCAA Baseball Tournaments.

The other five schools to compete in at least 25 of each are Florida State, Miami (FL), Oklahoma, Southern California, and Texas. It is interesting to note that three of the six schools are from the ACC.

Three Tigers Named to All-ACC Teams Second-baseman Taylor Harbin and designated hitter Kris Harvey were both named First-Team All-ACC on May 23. Righthander Stephen Faris was the Tigers’ lone second-team selection. Harbin became the first Clemson freshman to make the first team since 1997 (Ryan Mottl) and the first position player on the first team since 1991 (Billy McMillon).

Clemson Sets Season Attendance Record Clemson, who was selected to host an NCAA Regional, has set the school record for average attendance this season. The Tigers have drawn 114,223 fans for their 29 home games, an average of 3,939 per game. That mark broke the previous record of 3,649, set in 2004. A reason for the high turnout is the fact that Clemson sold nearly 2,000 season tickets this season.

Harbin Has Three Clemson Freshman Records Taylor Harbin has already set three Clemson freshman records this year and is range of many others as the Tigers head into NCAA Tournament play. The Tiger starting second baseball in all 60 games so far this year has established a freshman record for doubles (28), total bases (154), and extra base hits (41).

He needs two more multi-hit games to tie Khalil Greene’s freshman mark for multi-hit games, and needs eight more hits to tie Greene’s freshman hits’ record. Harbin has 90 hits for the season, and Greene, now the starting second baseman for the San Diego Padres, had 98 in 1999 as a rookie.

Strictly Starting Josh Cribb has a 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 appearances this year, which includes 13 starts. That 4.10 mark is sixth-best in Clemson history. His 3.87 figure in 2004 is eight-best in Tiger history. But if one just looks at his 13 starts, his stats are even better. In 84.2 innings pitched over 13 starts, he has 76 strikeouts against only 13 walks to go along with a 5-3 record and 3.08 ERA. The 5.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio would be second-best in a season in Clemson history.

In his last three starts, he has two complete games. In those 25.0 innings pitched, he has allowed just three runs (good for a 1.08 ERA), 19 hits, and two walks while striking out 23. Two of those three starts came against a top-10 Miami (FL) team that was hitting near .330. He has also won his last five decisions after starting the year 2-4.

Cribb Named to ACC All-Tournament Team Josh Cribb was named one of two pitchers to the ACC All-Tournament team. Cribb pitched a complete-game six-hitter against #8 Miami (FL) in the ACC Tournament on May 26 in the Tigers’ 9-1 win. He allowed one run and no walks with eight strikeouts to earn the win, and became the first Tiger to go the distance in an ACC Tourney game since 2000.

Clemson Goes 2-2 in ACC Tournament Clemson had a 2-2 record in the ACC Tournament in four games from May 25-28 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville (FL). It was the 29th time in 32 years that Clemson won at least two games in the annual tourney. The Tigers won both their games against top-25 ranked teams (#8 Miami (FL) and #18 N.C. State), but lost both games against a red-hot Virginia club. Clemson hit .298 to its opponents’ .240 batting average. Brad Chalk had two hits in each of the four games, while Herman Demmink added seven hits. The pitching staff had a stellar 3.09 ERA and got three outstanding starting performances. The staff also combined to allow just four extra-base hits in the four games.

In Clemson’s first game against #7-seed Virginia, the Cavaliers broke open a close game with five runs in the eighth inning en route to an 8-1 win on May 25. The loss broke the Tigers’ nine-game winning streak, while Virginia upped its winning streak to seven games. Clemson totaled 10 hits, but were just 3-for-16 with runners on base. Stephen Faris pitched 7.1 strong innings, allowing two earned runs and no walks, but suffered the loss. Eight of the Tigers’ nine starters had at least one hit, including two each by freshmen Stan Widmann and Chalk. Jeff Kamrath beat the Tigers for the second time in 2005.

In the second game, Clemson eliminated #3-seed and eighth-ranked Miami (FL) with a 9-1 win behind a complete game six-hitter by Josh Cribb on May 26. The righthander allowed just one run and no walks with eight strikeouts, and faced just four batters over the minimum. It was the first complete game in an ACC Tournament game by a Tiger since 2000 (Ryan Mottl). The Hurricanes lost their sixth game in a row and the fourth in four games against Clemson in 2005. Clemson scored four runs in the second inning, keyed by Demmink’s two-run single. Widmann added a two-run homer, while Demmink had a game-high three hits.

In the third game, Clemson eliminated #6-seed and 18th-ranked N.C. State 5-4 behind the left arm of Taylor Harbin hit a solo homer in the seventh inning, which proved to be the game-winning run.

In the final game, Virginia held on for a 5-4 win over Clemson on May 28 to eliminate the Tigers and advance to the championship game. The Cavaliers, who upped their winning streak to nine games, totaled just eight hits, all singles, while Clemson had 10, including homers by Harvey and Travis Storrer. Clemson had the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but Virginia turned double plays in both frames. The Tigers were also 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, while Virginia was 4-for-9. Harvey suffered the loss, while David Kopp pitched 5.2 innings in relief, allowing just two hits and no earned runs.