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Tigers excited about chance to play in Columbia

  by David Hood - Senior Writer - Monday, May 28, 2012 1:14 PM

Jack Leggett talks to reporters shortly after the regional annoucement

Jack Leggett talks Columbia regional | Kevin Brady | Richie Shaffer | Phil Pohl

CLEMSON – The regional that has been talked about for years will finally take place.

Clemson’s baseball team is headed to Columbia this weekend as the No. 2 seed in the Columbia Regional, a regional that includes host and top-seed South Carolina, No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina and No. 4 Manhattan.

The Tigers’ first opponent is Coastal Carolina, a team that defeated Clemson 10-7 in late April at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, with the winner advancing to play the winner of the South Carolina-Manhattan contest. The winner of the Columbia Regional will play the winner of the Charlottesville Regional, a regional that includes host Virginia, Army, Appalachian St. and Oklahoma.

Clemson head coach Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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said his team can't overlook Coastal and look ahead to a possible matchup against South Carolina.

“Coastal is a very well-coached team,” Leggett said. “We play them every year during the regular season. They always battle us, and they have been playing very well. They won a conference tournament. Anybody that wins a conference tournament this time of year, that means you’re hot and playing well at the right time.”

Leggett said he wasn’t surprised to see Clemson’s name pop up in the Columbia regional, and that he welcomes the challenge.

“That’s good. Let’s go. Let’s go down and play,” Leggett said. “I’ve always said this with every regional; you can't discount Manhattan, Coastal Carolina or South Carolina. You can't overlook anybody, or you’ll find yourself in trouble really quick.”

Leggett said that playing close to home – rather than in someplace like Eugene, Oregon – adds a comfort level to the weekend.

“That’s the good part about it,” he said. “Were not traveling across the country somewhere. We’ve been traveling the last 10 days, really. We’ve been on the road. Logistically, it’s a good thing for us. We are familiar with what is going on down there and what we are about to see.”

Tiger third baseman Richie ShafferRichie Shaffer
Jr. 3rd Base
#8 6-3, 205
Charlotte, NC

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said he knew this regional would happen at some point.

“You hear it every year,” Shaffer said. “It seems like they have been projecting this regional the last six years and it never happened. But once we saw Coastal pop up, we were expecting it. Three teams from the South Carolina area – that is going to be great for ticket sales. I think it will be an exciting week of baseball.”

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner said in an interview with ESPN that this makes an exciting time of year even more exciting.

“This is an exciting time of year for college baseball players,” Tanner said. “We are glad to be playing at home. Tickets are hard to come by, but this takes it to another level.”

NOTES: Leggett said that as of right now, Daniel GossettDaniel Gossett
Fr. RH Pitcher
#23 6-0, 160
Lyman, SC

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, Kevin PohleKevin Pohle
So. RH Pitcher
#21 6-3, 180
St. Louis, MO

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and Dominic LeoneDominic Leone
Jr. RH Pitcher
#6 5-11, 195
Norwich, CT

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are the three scheduled starters, but not necessarily in that order. Kevin BradyKevin Brady
RS Jr. RH Pitcher
#19 6-3, 220
Gaithersburg, MS

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has pitched in relief twice as he continues to build his endurance after a hamstring injury, and both Brady and Leggett said they expect him to pitch in relief.

Columbia, SC Regional

Friday, June 1 - 4 PM EST - ESPNU/ESPN3
1 South Carolina (40-17) #8 National Seed
4 Manhattan (33-25)

Friday, June 1 - 12:00 PM EST - ESPNU/ESPN3
3 Coastal Carolina(41-17)
2 Clemson (33-26)

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