Tigers Take on Super Challenge Against Baylor

Tigers Take on Super Challenge Against Baylor

June 9, 2005

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Tigers Advance to Play in Waco Super Regional Clemson (42-21), ranked as high as #12, will travel to #6-ranked and #4-national seed Baylor (42-21) in the Waco (TX) Super Regional beginning Saturday, June 11 at Baylor Ballpark. Saturday’s game will start at 12:00 PM EDT (ESPN) and Sunday’s game will start at 4:00 PM EDT (ESPN), while Monday’s game (if necessary) will start at a time to be announced at a later date. Clemson will be the designated visiting team (first-base dugout) in game one and the home team (third-base dugout) in game two. A coin flip will determine the home team for game three (if necessary).

The winner of the best-of-three series will advance to the College World Series in Omaha, NE from June 17-27. The winner of the Waco (TX) Super Regional will face the winner of the Oxford (MS) Super Regional in the opening round in Omaha on June 18. Mississippi will play host to Texas in the Oxford (MS) Super Regional.

All of Clemson’s super regional games will be broadcast live on the radio by the Clemson Tiger Sports Network and can be heard live via the internet at Live stats will also be available for all Tiger games on Clemson’s website.

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 the College World Series in 1958 when the Tigers again came through the losers’ bracket. After losing to Florida in the first round, Clemson defeated George Washington, Florida State, and Florida twice to advance under first-year Head Coach Bill Wilhelm. Clemson beat Florida 15-14 and 3-1 on June 9 to advance. Harold Stowe struck out 17 in that second game on June 9, which is still a Tiger single-game record for strikeouts in an NCAA Tourney 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 87-64, a 57.6 winning percentage.

Clemson is 42-24 (.636) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play, including a 27-5 (.844) record in home NCAA Tourney games. Leggett’s 42 wins are tied with Wilhelm for the second-most wins by an ACC coach in NCAA Tournament play. 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 five of the seven years that format has been in existence.

Tigers to Play in Fifth Super Regional Clemson will be making its fifth super regional appearance in the seventh year of the super regional format. Only three teams (Miami (FL), Florida State, Louisiana State) will have played in more. The Tigers played in the College Station (TX) Super Regional in 1999, falling in game three. In 2000 and 2002, Clemson won its own super regional to advance to Omaha. In 2001, the Tigers lost both games at Miami (FL). The Tigers have not played in a super regional since 2002.

The Tigers Clemson (42-21), ranked as high as #12, enters the super regional round after going 3-0 in the Clemson Regional by a combined score of 26-5. The Tigers were 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, and fifth super regional appearance in the seven years of its existence.

The Tigers, who were 25-7 at home and 17-14 away from 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 27-8 record. The team also has a top-10 RPI thanks to playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. The Tigers are also 18-7 against top-25 ranked teams in 2005.

The team is hitting .308 and is led by two freshmen. Brad Chalk (.356) and Taylor Harbin (.350) are the team’s top-two hitters. Chalk has a team-best .461 on-base percentage along with a school-record-tying 14 sacrifice bunts, while Harbin has 28 doubles, 10 homers, and 62 RBIs. Kris Harvey has an ACC-best 24 homers along with 69 RBIs. Clemson has hit 75 homers as a team, while allowing just 28 long balls. The team also has a school-record 58 sacrifice bunts.

The pitching staff has a 3.89 ERA and .269 opponents’ batting average. Josh Cribb has been one of the team’s hottest pitchers. In his last four starts, he has a 4-0 record (which includes three complete games and two shutouts), a 0.79 ERA, and 29 strikeouts against only three walks. Overall, he is 8-4 with a 3.22 ERA and 92 strikeouts against only 22 walks. Jeff Hahn, one of just two seniors on the team, has a team-high three saves. Clemson is fielding at a .969 clip as well, just behind the school record of .971 (2002).

Freshman shortstop Stan Widmann is the lone Tiger from the state of Texas. He is from Hurst, a suburb of Fort Worth. Widmann is the first Tiger from the state of Texas since 1993. Freshman lefthander Chris Fidrych, a distant relative of former Major League pitcher Mark Fidrych, was also born in Corpus Christi, TX.

Pitchers, D’Alessio Among NCAA Tourney Bests Tiger pitchers allowed just five runs during the Clemson Regional from June 3-5 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Of the 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament, that total was the fewest allowed (total and per game) of any team. Clemson’s 1.67 ERA only trailed Oregon State’s 1.33 ERA. Tiger pitchers also combined to walk just two batters, tied for the lowest in the tourney, while striking out 28.

Andy D’Alessio had the best batting average (.778) in the NCAA Regionals. He also led the regionals in on-base percentage (.857) and was second in slugging percentage (1.556). His four doubles tied for the best in the nation as well. In three games, he was 7-for-9 with four doubles, a homer, four RBIs, four walks, and a stolen base on his way to earning Clemson Regional MVP honors.

The Bears The #4 national seed Baylor Bears (42-21), ranked as high as #6, enters the Waco Super Regional after winning the Waco Regional in three-straight games. Baylor beat Texas-San Antonio (8-3), #24 Texas Christian (8-3), and Stanford (4-3 in 12 innings) in its own regional. The Bears, who are 23-10 at home, had a 19-8 Big 12 record to tie for first place in the league standings. The 2005 season marks their 12th NCAA Tournament appearance, including seventh in the last eight seasons.

Baylor is led by 11th-year Head Coach Steve Smith, a 1986 Baylor graduate who has a 414-255-1 record. The Bears have won 11 of their last 14 games, including reaching the finals of the Big 12 Tournament at Oklahoma City, OK. They have played 20 games decided by a single run, and have a 13-7 record in those games. They also have a 5-1 record in extra-inning games.

The team is hitting .269 and is led by senior Josh Ford, who has a .322 batting average along with seven homers and 36 RBIs. Kyle Reynolds has a team-high eight long balls, while Zach Dillon has a team-best 42 RBIs. The Bears have stolen 66 bases, including 11 each by Reynolds and Chase Gerdes.

The pitching staff has a 3.30 ERA and .234 opponents’ batting average. Righthander Jeff Mandel, who hit the game-winning homer (his first of the year) to beat Stanford in the Waco Regional, has a team-best 2.05 ERA in 20 relief appearances and four starts. Righthanded relievers Ryan LaMotta (5-1, 2.22 ERA in 31 relief appearances) and Abe Woody (9-3, 2.79 ERA in 33 relief appearances) are the stoppers out of the bullpen. Woody has 11 of Baylor’s 18 saves, while LaMotta has six.

The Bears’ three predominant starters all have seven victories apiece. Junior righthander Mark McCormick (7-3, 3.12 ERA) is holding opponents to a .185 batting average and has 97 strikeouts in 92.1 innings pitched. Senior lefthander Trey Taylor (7-5, 3.43 ERA) has pitched a team-high 97.0 innings with 82 strikeouts. Sophomore lefty Cory VanAllen (7-4, 4.00 ERA) has walked just 31 in 96.2 innings pitched. The team also has a solid .969 fielding percentage.

Tigers in Texas Clemson last played a baseball game in the state of Texas in 2004. That year, the Tigers played a three-game series at Texas Tech, going 1-2. In 1999, Clemson played in the College Station Super Regional at Texas A&M. After losing the first game 20-3, Clemson rebounded to defeat the Aggies 10-3 in game two. The Tigers, the designated home team in game three, held a one-run lead entering the ninth inning, but two Aggie solo homers put them ahead, and future Major Leaguer Casey Fossum struck out Patrick Boyd with the tying run on second base to beat the Tigers 5-4 and advance to Omaha. Clemson is 7-7 all-time against teams from the state of Texas, but has never faced Baylor.

Tigers vs. Bears This is the first meeting between Clemson and Baylor on the diamond, but the two schools have met in football and men’s basketball. Baylor won the only football meeting and the Bears hold a 1-2 advantage in men’s basketball.

The football meeting took place at the 1979 Peach Bowl in Atlanta at Fulton County Stadium, a facility that is now the site of a parking lot for Turner Field. Baylor controlled the tempo of the game throughout, holding the Tigers to 10 points for the first 59 minutes thanks to the punishing tackles of future Chicago Bear All-Pro Mike Singletary, who had 20 tackles on the day.

But, Clemson did rally late. Trailing 24-10 with 20 seconds left, Chuck McSwain scored a touchdown on a one-yard run, then the Tigers scored the two-point conversion to make the score 24-18. Clemson then recovered an on-side kick (the only successful on-side kick executed by a Clemson football team between 1976 and 2001). Billy Lott and Perry Tuttle moved the ball to the Baylor 33 with just seconds left, but an interception ended the threat and the Bears held on for a 24-18 victory.

The two schools played basketball games in consecutive years (1963-64 and 1964-65) in their respective home states, but never on either team’s home court. Baylor defeated Clemson in the third-place game of the Sun Bowl basketball Tournament in El Paso, TX on December 30, 1963 by a 73-71 score. Jim Brennan scored 33 points to lead the Tigers, including 11 points inside the last four minutes when Clemson almost overcame a 12-point deficit. In retrospect, it was a solid win for Baylor because that Clemson team finished the year with an 8-6 record in the ACC, including two wins over North Carolina, the only year in Clemson basketball history the Tigers have swept the Tar Heels during the regular season.

The following year Baylor defeated Clemson in Greenville, SC in the finals of the Poinsettia Classic by a score of 68-59.

The only other basketball meeting between the two schools took place in December of 1983 when Clemson defeated the Bears 102-52 at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum. Vincent Hamilton led Clemson with 20 points, while Murray Jarman added 18. Clemson had 31 assists against just nine turnovers. The Tigers won the game to go 7-0 for the season, but it was a costly victory. Starting point guard David Shaffer suffered a broken foot in the game and was lost for the season. Clemson ended the campaign, Bill Foster’s final year as Tiger head coach, with a 14-14 record.

This will actually be the second time a Clemson athletic team has played at Baylor this year. The Clemson women’s tennis team played at Baylor and lost, 4-0 on February 12. Clemson’s women’s tennis team did defeat Baylor in 2003 in the NCAA Tournament and 2004 at Clemson.

Clemson 18-7 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, two wins against a top-25 College of Charleston team, one win at #6 Florida State, one win against #6 Georgia Tech, and a win over #18 N.C. State, Clemson is 18-7 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 18 wins have been by a combined 94 runs.

In over 11 seasons at Clemson, Head Coach Jack Leggett has 146 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 Sets Season Attendance Record Clemson, who was selected to host an NCAA Regional, set the school record for average attendance this season. The Tigers drew 129,553 fans for their 32 home games, an average of 4,049 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.

D’Alessio Named Clemson Regional MVP Doug Kingsmore Stadium. In three games, he was 7-for-9 (.778) with four runs scored, four doubles, a homer, four RBIs, a 1.556 slugging percentage, four walks, a hit-by-pitch, an .857 on-base percentage, and a stolen base. He was named the Clemson Regional MVP thanks to his performance.

Tigers Win in Three to Take Clemson Regional The Tigers captured the Clemson Regional title with three wins by a combined score of 26-5 from June 3-5 at Kris Harvey along with D’Alessio were all named to the All-Regional team.

Clemson hit .289 in the three games, but had a .427 on-base percentage thanks to 22 walks against only 12 strikeouts. The Tigers also stole six bases in six attempts. Meanwhile, the pitching staff combined for a 1.67 ERA, allowing just 24 hits (20 singles), five runs, and two walks with 28 strikeouts in 27.0 innings pitched. A total of 21,485 fans attended the Clemson Regional, a school-record figure for a four-team regional.

In the first game against North Carolina A&T on June 3, Clemson turned a one-run deficit into a seven-run lead with eight runs in the seventh inning en route to a 12-2 win. The Tigers had only four hits in the eight-run inning, but walks were key for Clemson. Aggie pitchers combined to walk 10 batters in the game, while Tiger pitchers walked just one. Stan Widmann each had three RBIs, while Demmink added a triple. Daniel Pritchard scored two runs in the seventh inning after entering the game as a pinch-runner. Stephen Faris struck out 10 against only one walk in 6.2 innings, while Daniel Moskos retired the only batter he faced and earned the victory.

In the second game against #22 College of Charleston on June 4, Cribb pitched a two-hit shutout in Clemson’s 6-0 win. Cribb threw 98 pitches, allowing one walk with six strikeouts. College of Charleston, who easily led the nation in batting average entering the tournament, did not advance a runner past second base, while the two hits included a bunt single and a bloop single to left field. It was the seventh time in school history a Tiger pitched a shutout in an NCAA Tournament game, and his two hits were the least allowed in any of those seven shutouts. It also ended the Cougars’ streak of 135 consecutive games without being shut out dating back to 2003. D’Alessio, Widmann, and Adrian Casanova, the 7-9 batters in the order, each scored two runs apiece to account for all six runs.

In the third game against Oral Roberts on June 5, Harvey hit two solo homers, and D’Alessio went 3-for-3 with a double, homer, and three RBIs to lead the Tigers to an 8-3 win and regional-clinching victory. Robert Rohrbaugh allowed seven hits, one run, and no walks with nine strikeouts to earn the win. He and two other Tigers combined for 12 strikeouts without allowing a walk. The Tigers turned three doubles plays, including two unassisted double plays by D’Alessio.