May 25, 2009
Clemson, SC – Clemson will play host to an NCAA Baseball Regional this weekend at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Second-seed Alabama will face third-seed Oklahoma State in the first game at 3:00 PM on Friday, May 29, and the top-seed Tigers will meet #4-seed Tennessee Tech in the second game at 7:00 PM on Friday.
For ticket information see the bottom of this release.
The losers of the two games on Friday will meet in an elimination game on Saturday at 3:00 PM, while the two winners will meet Saturday at 7:00 PM. The double-elimination tournament will continue with two games on Sunday (3:00 PM, 7:00 PM). If a seventh game is needed to decide the regional champion, it will be played on Monday at 7:00 PM. All game times are subject to change if games are picked up by television.
The winner of the Clemson Regional will face the winner of the Tempe (AZ) Regional (hosted by Arizona State) in a super regional from June 5-8 at a site to be announced by the NCAA Baseball Committee. Arizona State is #5 national seed and will host a super regional if it wins the Tempe Regional.
This will be just the third meeting between Clemson and Tennessee Tech on the diamond. Clemson won a two-game series between the two schools in March of 2003.
Clemson has faced Oklahoma State three times previously and has a 2-1 lead in the series. Clemson defeated Oklahoma State 6-0 in 1991, one of a record 60 wins for the Tigers that year. In 1995, another College World Series season for Clemson, the Cowboys downed the Tigers 5-2 in the season-opener.
Alabama has a 12-11 lead in the series with the Tigers. However, Clemson has won four of six previous NCAA Tournament meetings with the Crimson Tide.
Clemson has not faced either Alabama nor Oklahoma State since 1996. Ironically, both of those meetings in 1996 took place in back-to-back games in the College World Series. The Tigers defeated Oklahoma State 8-5 in 10 innings in an elimination game, then they topped top-ranked Alabama 14-13 in another elimination game in one of the most-thrilling games in Clemson baseball history.
Clemson has a long history with Alabama in the NCAA Tournament that dates to its first game in the event in 1947. Alabama downed the Tigers 8-2 in the regional tournament in Charlotte, NC, but the Tigers came back to defeat the Crimson Tide twice by scores of 1-0 and 4-1 to reach the final eight of the tournament. The Tigers lost at Yale (which featured first-baseman George H.W. Bush) in the next round, keeping Clemson from a berth in the then four-team College World Series. The Tigers defeated Alabama 7-4 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the 1995 NCAA Tournament to clinch a berth to Omaha as well.
Clemson is making its 34th NCAA Regional appearance, including its 22nd in the last 23 years. Clemson’s 34 regional appearances are sixth-most in NCAA history. One school on that list ahead of Clemson is Oklahoma State, who will be playing in its 37th all-time tournament, fourth-best in NCAA history. The Cowboys have been to the College World Series 19 times, tied for fifth-most in NCAA history. Clemson has been to the College World Series 11 times, 11th-best nationally.
The Tigers have a 97-70 record in the NCAA Tournament overall and need three wins to reach the 100-win mark in their history.
This year’s Clemson team enters the NCAA Tournament with a 40-19 record. The Tigers have won 15 of their last 20 games and have eight wins over top-25 teams, including six against teams ranked in the top five in the nation. That includes a 4-3 win in 11 innings over #4 North Carolina in its most recent game in the ACC Tournament.
“We are very excited about being at home,” said Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett, who has coached the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament 15 of the last 16 years. “We have been on the road a lot lately, so it will be nice to play at home. It will be a tough tournament. These teams will provide a very good challenge for us.”
“We won’t be intimidated, but they won’t either. We are coming into this with some confidence, so hopefully that will continue. We have three new teams that we have not played this year, so we have no opinions going into the games except that these are good teams.”
Clemson has four players batting over .320 so far this year. Ben Paulsen, Clemson’s starting first-baseman, is the leader with a .368 batting average. He has 11 home runs and a team-best 55 RBIs to go with a team-best 16 doubles and a .611 slugging percentage. Wilson Boyd is hitting .348 and is coming off a game in which he hit a walkoff single off the left-field wall to give the Tigers a 4-3 win over the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament.
First-Team All-ACC outfielder Jeff Schaus is third on the team with a .329 batting average and he has also contributed 11 home runs, tied for second-most on the team. Second-baseman Mike Freeman is hitting .324 and has scored 54 runs, tied for second-most on the team. Kyle Parker has a team-high 12 home runs and has knocked in 50 runs, second-most on the team.
Clemson has a balanced pitching staff with 13 different players earning at least one win. Casey Harman leads the staff in wins (7) and strikeouts (77). Graham Stoneburner, who has come out of the bullpen in 11 of his 18 appearances, has a 6-3 record and 3.45 ERA. Trey Delk has been Clemson’s first-game starter the last five weeks and has a 4-1 record with a 2.98 ERA. As a team, Clemson has a 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a figure that is on pace to be the second-best mark in school history. The only Tiger team that is better is the 1996 team that faced Oklahoma State and Alabama in the College World Series.
Tennessee Tech comes to Clemson with a 30-22-1 record after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament with four straight wins, including each of the last two by one run in extra innings. The Golden Eagles defeated Jacksonville State in the championship game 4-3 in 10 innings. Tennessee Tech was 10-11-1 in the regular season in the OVC and was the #4 seed in the tournament. But Head Coach Matt Bragga’s team scored 33 runs in the four tourney games to take home the trophy.
Tennessee Tech is led on offense by A.J. Kirby-Jones, who has a team-high 20 home runs and a team-best 66 RBIs in starting all 53 games this year. He is also hitting .344 and was named MVP of the OVC Tournament. Casanova Donaldson is the top hitter with a .351 batting average, while Chad Oberaker is second at .348.
Alabama enters the NCAA tournament with a 37-19 overall record and 18-11 SEC mark. The Crimson Tide’s season includes a 2-1 series win over Georgia when the Bulldogs were ranked #1 in the nation, a 3-0 series sweep of SEC Tournament finalist Vanderbilt, and a sweep of NCAA Tournament team Arkansas.
Jim Wells’ team is hitting .331 and is led by Kent Matthes, a starting outfielder from Orlando, FL who is hitting .365 with 28 home runs and 81 RBIs. He was leading the nation in home runs entering the conference tournament weekend, a big reason Alabama was fourth in the nation in home runs.
Taylor Dugas is hitting .354 from his starting outfield position and Ross Wilson checks in at .349. Brandon May is hitting .343 with 12 home runs to serve as a key to the offense. The Alabama pitching staff is led by Austin Hyatt, a 6’3″ righthander from Marietta, GA who has an 8-2 record and a 3.14 ERA.
Oklahoma State comes to Clemson for the first time in history with a 32-22 record, including a 9-16 mark in the Big 12 Conference. This is the fourth straight year Oklahoma State has been chosen for the NCAA Tournament.
The Cowboys are led at the plate by Tryone Hambly with a .338 batting average and nine home runs. Neil Medchill is the top home run hitter (14) and is hitting .337. Michael Dabbs has 13 home runs and is hitting .335. Oklahoma State is hitting .304 as a team.
Tyler Blandford leads the team in wins (7), while Andrew Oliver tops the team with strikeouts with 91 in 80.2 innings pitched.
CLEMSON REGIONAL SCHEDULE Friday, May 29 #3 Oklahoma State vs. #2 Alabama, 3:00 PM #4 Tennessee Tech at #1 Clemson, 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 30 – Games at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM Sunday, May 31 – Games at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM Monday, June 1 – If necessary game at 7:00 PM Note: All times are EDT; game times subject to change if games are picked up by television.
2009 NCAA REGIONAL BASEBALL TICKET SCHEDULE ALL-SESSION RESERVED TICKETS Monday, May 25 – IPTAY members can purchase Tuesday, May 26 – General public can purchase Reserved Ticket Book – $70
SINGLE-GAME TICKETS Friday, May 29 (8:00 AM) – Tickets on sale for Games 1 & 2 online at ClemsonTigers.com, Clemson Athletic Ticket Office, or by calling 1-800-CLEMSON Friday, May 29 (conclusion of Game 2) – Tickets on sale online for Games 3 & 4 Saturday, May 30 – Games 3 & 4 – Tickets on sale at Doug Kingsmore Stadium 90 minutes prior to Game 3 Saturday, May 30 (conclusion of Game 4) – Tickets on sale online for Game 5 Sunday, May 31 – Game 5 tickets on sale at Doug Kingsmore Stadium 90 minutes prior to game time Sunday, May 31 (conclusion of Game 5) – Tickets on sale for Game 6 at gate only
GAME 7 TICKETS Sunday, May 31 (conclusion of Game 6) – Tickets on sale online Monday, June 1 – Game 7 tickets on sale online, Clemson Athletic Ticket Office, or by calling 1-800-CLEMSON
Reserved Seats (per game) – $12 General Admission (per game) – $8
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