Clemson Advances to Super Regional


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --- Taylor Harbin remembers what it was like to watch Baylor celebrate after clinching a berth in last year’s College World Series. It’s a memory he and his teammates have used as motivation ever since.


It was that moment Harbin and the Tigers used all this season as they paved their road to Omaha through Clemson.


Clemson can now see Omaha in the distance as it moved within two games of college baseball’s mica with an 8-6 victory over Mississippi State Sunday, giving the Tigers the Clemson Regional and a berth in next weekend’s NCAA Super Regional.


“That’s what we have been going for all year,” Harbin said. “Our goal was to host a regional and super regional here so we can get to our biggest goal. Our biggest goal is to get to Omaha and win a national championship.


“To be able to host a super regional here in front of our home fans is going to be a big confidence booster for us in general.”


Clemson (50-14) will host Oral Roberts next weekend at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The times for the Super Regional will be announced Tuesday afternoon. Tickets will go on sale today for season ticket holders only. Tickets will go on sale for non-season ticket holders on Wednesday.


Oral Roberts (41-14) beat Oklahoma State 9-2 Sunday to advance to the Super Regional.


“Let’s put it this way,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “It is a lot better to have it here this weekend than it is going to Baylor like we did last year.


“Our fans were tremendous tonight and all weekend. They came out, they were very vocal… They spurred us on to some great moments during this game and really helped us to play the kind of game we needed to play.”


The Tigers came out with a lot of emotion as they put up three runs in the top of the first inning. Herman Demmink drilled Brett Cleveland’s first pitch of the game over the left field fence.


Demmink wasted little time getting back to his teammates as sprinted around the bases in record time. His emotions parlayed over to his teammates as Marquez Smith singled to right field and Tyler Colvin followed with a base knock to the same side.


Harbin then picked up where left off on Saturday by smashing a double over the head of Mississippi State centerfielder Joseph McCaskill’s head. The double scored Smith for a 2-0 Clemson lead and Colvin over to third.


Colvin scored a few seconds later for a 3-0 lead when Andy D’Alessio drove him home with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.


Clemson’s defense kept the momentum going in the bottom of the first inning as Josh Cribb started the night with back-to-back strikeouts. But after the Bulldogs got runners on first and second with a base hit and a walk, Harbin made a diving stab to his right, and then flipped the ball over to shortstop Stan Widmann at second to get Brian LaNinfa for the force.


Mississippi State scored its first run of the night after Cribb allowed a single and a wild pitch, the last allowing State’s Jeff Butts to come home from third to make the score 3-1.


The Tigers upped the score to 4-1 in the third thanks to a well executed squeeze play by Harbin. With Smith down at third with two outs, Harbin bunted safely right up the third base line where Mississippi State’s Edward Easley had no play.


Mississippi State (37-23) took its first lead of the night when it scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Cribb, who struggled with his control for much of the night, gave up back-to-back hits to Brian LaNinfa and Mitch Moreland and then walked Joseph McCaskill to load the bases.
Reliever Ryan Hinson didn’t fare much better as he hit one batter and walked another to allow two runs to score. The Bulldogs tied the game when Jones hit into a fielder’s choice and finally took the lead with a one-out single to right field by Jeffery Rea, scoring Jeff Butts for a 5-4 lead.


“The thing about this team is that we never get down on ourselves,” Harbin said. “They came back and battled to get a lead.


“We came back in, stayed focused, and did what we had to do. We were able to scratch some runs across ourselves and our pitching did a great job, and held it down.”


But Clemson didn’t wait too long to regain the lead. In the very next inning, the Tigers got a double from Demmink to lead things off and then three batters later with runners on the corners, Colvin brought him home to tie the game with a one-hopper that got over the head of Rea at second base and into right field.


“That was a big part of the game,” Leggett said. “It was a momentum changer.”


Harbin then brought Smith in with a sacrifice fly to right and D’Alessio banged out an RBI to right, giving Clemson a 7-5 lead.
State scored one run in the bottom of the seventh to pull within one run, but an error and an RBI single by Brad Chalk straight up the middle to score Adrian Casanova for an insurance run for relief pitcher Daniel Moskos.


“Our offense stepped up for us,” Moskos said, who recorded his 10th save of the season. “They’ve been doing it for us the last couple of weeks and they did it again tonight.”


The streak continues

Colvin’s single to right field in the first inning kept the junior’s hit streak alive which now stands at 23 games. It is now the fifth longest streak in Clemson history, putting him one back of fourth place with Chuck Baldwin, who hit safely 24 games in-a-row in 1987.


Casanova struggles again. In last year’s postseason, catcher Adrian Casanova struggled at the worst possible time for Clemson. He finished the year going 2 for his last 32 to close the season, including a 1 for 23 effort in the postseason.


This postseason, the senior from Miami is 4 for his last 39, including going 0 for 11 in the Clemson Regional. He has just one hit in his last 23 at-bats, and is 0 for his last 16 since the championship game of the ACC Tournament.


D’Alessio moves up the charts.

Clemson first baseman Andy D’Alessio went 1 for 3 with two RBIs Sunday night. The two RBIs now give the junior 80 for the season which puts him in a tie for sixth place on the single-season RBI list. Khalil Greene had 91 RBIs in 2002 in 71 games.


Harbin named tournament MVP.

Taylor Harbin was named the Clemson Regional MVP after going 5 for 9 with 7 RBIs and two home runs in the three games. He also made several defensive plays, including three outstanding plays against Mississippi State in Sunday’s regional final.


“He deserved it,” Leggett said. “He played great defense. As much as his offense, his defense was just as important. He is a great all-around player, a tournament-type guy. He plays better when the pressure is on.”


D’Alessio, Smith, Widmann, Chalk, Colvin and pitcher Sean Clark joined Harbin all the all-tournament team for Clemson.


2006 Clemson Regional All-Tournament Team

Position   Player            Team 
First Base *Andy D'Alessio   Clemson 
Second Base Taylor Harbin    Clemson 
Third Base  Marquez Smith    Clemson 
Shortstop  *Stan Widmann     Clemson 
Outfield   *Mitch Moreland   Mississippi State 
Outfield    Brad Chalk       Clemson 
Outfield    Tyler Colvin     Clemson 
Catcher     Joseph McCaskill Mississippi State 
Pitcher     Sean Clark       Clemson 
Pitcher     Justin Pigott    Mississippi State 
DH/Utility *Brian LaNinfa    Mississippi State 
MVP         Taylor Harbin    Clemson 

* - Unanimous selection


Ticket Information for Clemson Super Regional

Tickets go on sale for general public on Wednesday


Clemson Super Regional Ticket Books will go on sale on Monday, June 5 2006 for Clemson baseball season ticket holders only. All Clemson Regional Ticket holders will be able to purchase Super Regional Tickets on Tuesday, June 6. Any remaining ticket books will go on sale to non-season ticket holders on Wednesday, June 7.


The cost of a reserved seat ticket book for the Super Regional is $30. The cost of a general admission book is $20. You may order tickets through the athletic ticket office between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM by calling 1-800-Clemson or at the athletic ticket office at Gate 9 of Memorial Stadium.


If single session tickets are available they will go on sale two hours before each game at the Left Field Ticket Booth at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The cost of a single session reserved seat ticket is $12, while a general admission seat for a single game is $8.


Tickets will be available for pickup beginning June 7 at the Athletic Ticket Office.


Demmink's Leadoff Homer

Herman Demmink hit the first pitch of tonight's game vs.
Mississippi State for a home run to left field. It marked the second time this year and fourth time in his career that Demmink had hit a homer run in Clemson's first at bat of the game. It was the third
time he had done it at Kingsmore Stadium. Demmink last led off
Clemson's offense on March 15, 2006 against Gardner Webb, a game Clemson won 10-5.

Demmink also led off a game for a home run at Florida State on April 3, 2005 in a Tiger win at Tallahassee and in an April 7,
2004 victory over South Carolina. Clemson was 3-0 heading into
tonight's game when Demmink leads off the game with a home run.

Demmink is the only Clemson player to lead off a game with a
home run over the last three years. The last Tiger other than
Demmink to do it was Garrick Evans against Charleston Southern on March 25, 2003, a game Clemson won, 5-0.

Demmink is the first Clemson player to lead off an NCAA Tournament game with a home run since Zane Greene led off the June 19, 2002 College World Series game vs. South Carolina in Omaha, Nebraska. Greene actually led off three NCAA Tournament games with home runs in 2002, a win over East Carolina, a Super Regional win over Arkansas, and the aforementioned CWS game with South Carolina.


Herman Demmink's Leadoff Home runs

Date	Opponent	Final Score
4-7-04	S. Carolina	9-4, win
4-3-05	at Florida St	7-3, Win
3-15-06	Gardner Webb	10-5 Win
6-4-06	Mississippi St	8-6 Win

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