CWS: Triplett Passes Along Omaha Experience To Current Tigers

by - Correspondent -
Triplett, now the Tigers' first base coach, was a player on the 2002 team which came to Omaha. (Photo Mark Crammer)

OMAHA, Neb. - More than anyone on this current edition of the Clemson baseball team - Jack Leggett excluded, of course - Russell Triplett knows the fine line that must be walked at the College World Series.

Triplett, now the Tigers' first base coach, was a player on the 2002 team which came to Omaha and won its first two games before bowing out with two straight losses to rival South Carolina.

No player on the current Clemson roster has made the trip to Omaha. So Triplett has found himself offering more to the Tigers than just assistance around the first base bag.

"They're interested in my experiences when I played here, and they were all asking me before we came out here what it was like," said Triplett. "You try to put it into perspective and let them know that it is an unbelievable experience and to enjoy every minute out here, but don't get caught up in it.

"You've still got a job to do, and that's to win a national championship."

Triplett's 2002 team fell short of that goal. And after leaving Clemson to pursue a minor league baseball career he wondered if he'd ever see Omaha again.

That's why this trip as a member of Leggett's staff has as much meaning to Triplett as it does the current players.

"I think these guys understand why it's such a difficult place to get to," he said. "It is such a special place. The way these people treat you when you get out here is unbelievable. It starts with the opening ceremony, it really starts when you get off the plane...It's a great experience.

"That's why it's a goal for every college player - to come to Omaha. The atmosphere is like no other place."

But there remains work to be done, and the experience that is a trip to Omaha must be balanced with the task at hand.

As far as Triplett is concerned, he believes it's a fine line a player walks between the two sides of the College World Series. However, he believe's the 2006 Tigers can handle the situation just fine.

"Everybody's excited. Nobody on this team has been out here before. They're excited, and they've been excited since we won the second game of the Super Regional," Triplett said. "Once they get out here I think the excitement keeps getting bigger and bigger. And as they keep playing they find out it's still just a game, and they have to come out here and play the game they way they've played it all year long.

"I think it showed a little bit in the first couple of innings (vs. Georgia Tech), but after that they got back down to playing good baseball and playing the way they've been playing all year long. I think you'll see a different team (Sunday) when we take the field."

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