College World Series bound!!


by - Senior Writer -
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Clemson head coach Jack Leggett celebrates Clemson's 12th trip to Omaha. (Photos: fotoman)

CLEMSON – The word “Omaha” is Native American for “Dwellers on the bluff,” so it’s only fitting that a team that has lived on the edge all season once again came back from the precipice and in the process earned a 12th trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

The Tigers fell behind by a run early, took an 8-1 lead into the ninth but saw Alabama bring the winning run to the plate before holding on and earning a coveted appearance in the College World Series by downing the Crimson Tide 8-6 in the third game of the Super Regional in the heat at Doug Kingsmore Monday afternoon.

Starter Dominic Leone pitched 5.2 strong innings and Richie Shaffer hit two home runs for the Tigers, who needed every run before the game was out.

“It was just a tremendous game for us, we came out to play,” Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said. “We did a great job offensively, getting two runs in the second, third and fourth innings and putting the pressure on them. We kept swinging the bat, and had great at-bats off of their pitcher.”

Alabama jumped on top with an unearned run off of Dominic Leone in the bottom of the first, but John Hinson picked right back up where he left off from Sunday night to give the Tigers the lead in the second inning.

Kyle Parker led off the inning with a single through the left side, and with one out, Hinson came to the plate to face Alabama starter Nathan Kilcrease. Hinson worked the count to 3-2, and then brought the Doug Kingsmore crowd to its feet when he launched Kilcrease’s full count pitch into the bleachers for a 2-1 Tiger lead. The home run was his fifth in his last seven games and 17th of the season.


The Tigers continued to hit Kilcrease in the third, the inning starting with Chris Epps and Freeman singling to start the inning. Schaus popped up for the first out, but on Kyle Parker’s fly ball to right, both runners tagged up and advanced, with Freeman’s tag from first seeming to catch the Tide by surprise.

Freeman’s gutsy move paid off when Brad Miller drove a double into right-center field, with both runners scoring for a 4-1 lead.

Shaffer then blasted his sixth home run of the season, a shot to right-center field, to push Clemson’s advantage to 5-1 early in the fourth inning. Later in the inning, a Jeff Schaus double scored Chris Epps, and the Tigers were up 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.

Leggett got everything he could have asked for out of Leone, who went 5 2/3 innings, giving up just three hits and the one unearned run. He departed with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, but Alex Frederick came on and induced a popup from Jake Smith to end the inning.

“The story of the game was the freshman pitcher,” Leggett said of Leone. “I thought he stepped up and threw strikes. He was aggressive with the fastball, and he threw strikes. He is a great competitor for us, and he stays in great shape. I couldn’t be prouder.”

The Tigers added to the lead in the seventh after Miller singled with one out. Up came Shaffer, who hit his third homer of the regional and second of the game, depositing a 1-0 pitch over the center field wall for an 8-1 Tiger lead.

Leone said that it felt like a Game 7 to him.

“I had butterflies, no doubt,” Leone said. “I just went out there and tried to throw strikes and let the guys behind me work. I had a good fastball and a good changeup, but my slider and curveball weren’t so good. But I felt confident, and once we got those runs, I was able to settle down and throw strikes and let the defense work.”

Alabama scored five runs in the ninth, and had the tying run at second base and the winning run at the plate when Leggett brought in lefty Will Lamb with two outs, and Lamb induced a pop fly to left that Schaus cradled for the final out and set off a wild celebration in the middle of the Doug Kingsmore field.




Clemson 8 (43-23)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Chris Epps dh............  4  2  2  0   1  1  0  0   1
Mike Freeman 2b..........  5  1  3  0   0  1  2  7   0
Jeff Schaus lf...........  5  0  2  1   0  0  4  0   0
Kyle Parker rf...........  5  1  1  0   0  1  2  0   3
Brad Miller ss...........  5  0  1  2   0  1  1  1   1
John Hinson 3b...........  5  2  3  2   0  0  0  2   1
Richie Shaffer 1b........  5  2  2  3   0  1 10  0   0
Wilson Boyd cf...........  4  0  1  0   1  0  3  0   0
Spencer Kieboom c........  4  0  1  0   0  0  5  0   3
Dominic Leone p..........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
 Alex Frederick p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Kevin Brady p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Tomas Cruz p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Will Lamb p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 42  8 16  8   2  5 27 11   9

Alabama 6 (42-25)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Taylor Dugas cf..........  5  2  1  0   0  0  2  0   0
Josh Rutledge ss.........  5  1  2  0   0  0  2  3   0
Ross Wilson 2b...........  4  0  2  2   1  0  3  4   0
Clay Jones 1b............  4  0  0  0   1  1 10  0   1
Jake Smith 3b............  4  1  0  0   1  0  0  0   6
Jon Kelton lf............  3  0  0  0   0  1  2  0   0
Andrew Miller rf.........  3  0  1  0   0  0  3  0   0
 Cal Tinsley ph..........  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Brett Booth dh...........  4  1  1  2   0  0  0  0   0
Brock Bennett c..........  3  1  1  0   0  2  5  1   1
Nathan Kilcrease p.......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Jonathan Smart p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  1   0
Totals................... 36  6  8  4   3  5 27  9   8

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Clemson............. 022 200 200 -  8 16  3
Alabama............. 100 000 005 -  6  8  2
-------------------------------------------

E - MILLER 3(29); RUTLEDGE(17); WILSON(7). DP - Clemson 1; Alabama 2. LOB -
Clemson 9; Alabama 8. 2B - SCHAUS(14); MILLER(19); BOYD(14); KIEBOOM(5);
WILSON(8). HR - HINSON(17); SHAFFER 2(7); BOOTH(2). HBP - KELTON; BENNETT.
SB - EPPS(15). CS - EPPS(7).

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Dominic Leone.......  5.2  3  1  0  1  3 20 22
Alex Frederick......  2.1  1  0  0  0  1  8  9
Kevin Brady.........  0.2  4  5  3  1  1  6  7
Tomas Cruz..........  0.0  0  0  0  1  0  1  2
Will Lamb...........  0.1  0  0  0  0  0  1  1

Alabama                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Nathan Kilcrease....  5.0 11  6  6  2  1 25 27
Jonathan Smart......  4.0  5  2  2  0  4 17 17

Win - LEONE (3-1).  Loss - KILCREASE (8-3).  Save - LAMB (2).
WP - LEONE 2(6). HBP - by LEONE (BENNETT); by FREDERICK (KELTON).
Umpires - HP: Heath Jones  1B: Doug Williams  2B: Dan Mascorro  3B: Mark Chapman
 Start: 1:05 PM   Time: 2:52   Attendance: 5250
Game notes:
Game 3 of Clemson (SC) Super Regional.
Game televised by ESPN2.
CRUZ faced 2 batters in the 9th.

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