Business as usual for Tigers as NCAA Tourney begins

by - Senior Writer -

AUDIO: Jack Leggett on NCAA Regional announcement

AUDIO: Brad Miller

AUDIO: Chris Epps

AUDIO: Phil Pohl

CLEMSON – The Clemson baseball team watched the NCAA Baseball Championship selection in the clubhouse at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, and once they knew the particulars of the brackets, it was business as usual for Jack Leggett’s club.

The team has won 26-of-33 games heading into the tournament, and the players said they have to keep the mindset they’ve had during their recent hot streak.

“The confidence is always there, no matter where we are on this roller coaster,” outfielder Chris EppsChris Epps
#26 6-1, 195
Stone Mountain, GA

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said Monday afternoon. “We are going to take Friday as a step forward and try and make improvements. I didn’t even know about Sacred Heart, but if they have made it this far they have to be a tough team. Our first priority is Friday.”

The Tigers are playing host to Sacred Heart, Connecticut and Coastal Carolina, and catcher Phil PohlPhil Pohl
#9 5-11, 210
Cooperstown, NY

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said the Tigers are happy to be playing at Doug Kingsmore this weekend.

“We had a good, strong finish and I think we all are extremely happy to be home,” Pohl said. “We get to sleep in our beds and keep the same routine we have had all year. It is a big thing for all of us to be home. Right now, we are playing very well. We are hitting well and pitching well at the same time, so we are clicking on all cylinders. We have to keep that momentum through the postseason.”

The Tigers faced N.C. State in the ACC Tournament last Saturday knowing they had no shot at reaching the championship – the Wolfpack would have advanced with a win – and overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pack 6-3. Pohl pointed to that game as a reason why this team should be counted as a favorite heading into the final weeks of the season.

“I think that game says a lot about our team,” he said. “We have a lot of hard-nosed grinders. When we step out onto that field, we want to win. It’s a competition, and we never want to lose, which says a lot about our character. I like the way we are hitting and pitching right now, and I like this bracket we have. We lead the nation in stolen bases, and they say speed kills. We have some guys who can help us out a bunch.”

Shortstop Brad MillerBrad Miller
#13 6-1, 185
Windermere, FL

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, the ACC Player of the Year, said the Tigers will do some research on their opponents but in the end it all comes down to worrying about themselves.

“We obviously know about Coastal,” Miller said. “We have played some great games with them over the years. It is always a great battle with them. But the biggest thing is focusing on our game, and as long as we prepare ourselves and get our game in top shape then we won't have to worry. We just have to play our game.”

Leggett said the Tigers have a tough regional to battle through.

“I think it’s a pretty tough draw,” he said. “UConn is a pretty good team, Sacred Heart just won their tournament and Coastal Carolina always plays us tough. There are some great teams we have a great deal of respect for. We have to play well. My focus right now is on Sacred Heart on Friday, and we will worry about this week and let everything else take care of itself. We are happy to have our fans behind us, but at the same time it’s all played out here between the lines. We have to do the same things we have done in the last 33 games or so. It’s nice to be playing at home, but at the same time you still have to go out on the field and earn it.”

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