Clemson Super Regional Preview


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Clemson (41-22), ranked as high as #13 in the nation, will host #16 Alabama (41-23) in the Clemson (SC) Super Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium this weekend. The best-of-three-series will start on Saturday night at 6:00 PM (ESPNU) and Sunday’s game will start at 7:00 PM (ESPN2). Monday’s game (if necessary) will start at either 1:00 PM or 7:00 PM (ESPN2).


A coin flip will determine the designated home team for Saturday’s game. The designated home team on Saturday will be the designated visiting team on Sunday. Another coin flip will determine the designated home team for a potential game-three on Monday.


The winner of the best-of-three super regional series will advance to the College World Series in Omaha, NE from June 19-30. The winner of the Clemson Super Regional will face the winner of the Tempe (AZ) Super Regional in the opening round in Omaha on June 20. Arizona State will host Arkansas in the Tempe Super Regional.


All of the Tigers’ super regional games will be broadcast live on the radio by Clemson Tiger Sports Network. Live stats will also be available at ClemsonTigers.com for all super regional games.


ESPNU/2 to Televise Super Regional Games


ESPNU/2 will televise the Clemson (SC) Super Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium when the Tigers face Alabama this weekend. Game-one on Saturday (6:00 PM) will be on ESPNU and game-two on Sunday (7:00 PM) will be on ESPN2. Monday’s game (1:00 PM or 7:00 PM) (if necessary) will be on ESPN2. Mark Neely and Ben McDonald will be ESPN’s announcers for the super regional. Live video will be shown online at ESPN3.com as well.


Clemson Super Regional Host for Fourth Time


Clemson is one of eight schools to host an NCAA Super Regional for the 64th-annual Division I Baseball Championship. The action will begin at Clemson’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday against Alabama. The two teams will match up again Sunday and a game will be played on Monday if the two teams split the first two games.


Clemson was one of three ACC schools chosen to host a super regional. The other ACC schools are Florida State, who will host Vanderbilt, and Virginia, who will host Oklahoma. Miami (FL) will also play in the super-regional round. The Hurricanes will play at Florida.
This is the fourth time since the super-regional format began in 1999 that Clemson has hosted a super regional. It is also the ninth time in the 12 years of super-regional play that the Tigers have made it to this round. Only three schools (Cal State Fullerton (10), Florida State (10), Miami (FL) (10)) have played in more super regionals.


Clemson has advanced to Omaha in all three previous years (2000,02,06) that it hosted a super regional. In 1999 (College Station (TX)), 2001 (Coral Gables (FL)), 2005 (Waco (TX)), 2007 (Starkville (MS)), and 2009 (Tempe (AZ)), the Tigers played in a super regional on the road but failed to advance to Omaha.


The Tigers are 39-8 all-time in home NCAA Tournament games, including a 36-6 record under Head Coach Jack Leggett. Clemson is 25-2 in NCAA Tournament games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the 21st Century, with the only losses coming in a super regional game against Arkansas in 2002 and a regional game against Oklahoma State in 2009.


Clemson to Play in Ninth Super Regional


Clemson will host Alabama in the Clemson Super Regional this weekend. It will be the Tigers’ ninth super regional appearance in the 12 years of the format. Since 1999, Clemson has missed playing in a super regional just three times (2003,04,08). Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1987, with the exception of the 2008 season.


Clemson is tied for fourth in the nation in super regional appearances. Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, and Miami (FL) have all been to 10 super regional tournaments (including this year), while Clemson is tied with Rice for fourth. In terms of all-time wins in regional and super regional play, Clemson has 91, seventh-most in NCAA history.


The Series


Clemson and Alabama have met 23 times on the diamond, with the Crimson Tide holding a 12-11 lead in the series dating back to 1919. The two teams last met in the 1996 College World Series. The Tigers eliminated the Crimson Tide with a thrilling 14-13 victory in one of the most memorable games in Clemson baseball history.


In 1995, Alabama visited Clemson to play in the NCAA East Regional. The Tigers downed Alabama 7-4 in the championship game to advance to Omaha. Clemson and Alabama also met three times during the 1947 NCAA Southern Playoffs, as the Tigers won two of three matchups to advance to the NCAA Eastern Finals, and once during the 1950 NCAA Tournament.


Clemson is 4-4 against the Crimson Tide in games played at Clemson and 3-3 against Alabama at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers also own a 4-2 record against the Crimson Tide in NCAA Tournament games and 2-0 record under Head Coach Jack Leggett.


Alabama played in the 2009 Clemson Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium but did not face the Tigers, as the Crimson Tide was eliminated after two games.


The Starting Pitchers


In game-one, Alabama will start junior righthander Jimmy Nelson (8-3, 3.92 ERA) on the mound. The Niceville, FL native has made 16 starts and one relief appearance for a total of 103.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 101 hits (.256 opponents’ batting average) and 28 walks with 94 strikeouts.
The Tigers will counter with junior lefthander Casey Harman (7-2, 3.95 ERA) on Saturday. The South Burlington, VT native has made 16 starts for a total of 100.1 innings pitched. He has allowed 91 hits (.239 opponents’ batting average) and 31 walks with 86 strikeouts.
Both teams’ starting pitchers for the rest of the super regional have yet to be determined.


The Crimson Tide


Alabama (41-23), led by first-year Head Coach Mitch Gaspard and ranked as high as #16 in the nation, enters the Clemson Super Regional after going 4-1 in winning the Atlanta (GA) Regional title last weekend. Alabama, who is 12-14 on opponents’ home fields, had a 15-15 record during its SEC regular season. The 2010 season marks the 21st time in school history that Alabama has played in an NCAA Tournament and its third super-regional appearance. After starting its SEC slate with a 5-10 record in its first 15 games, Alabama was 10-5 in its last 15 SEC regular-season games. The squad has also won 12 of its last 14 games overall.


Alabama is hitting .298 with a .446 slugging percentage and .389 on-base percentage. Alabama has also totaled 116 doubles, 13 triples, 62 home runs, and is averaging 7.1 runs per game along with 67 stolen bases in 91 attempts. Alabama is eighth in the nation in fielding percentage (.978) as well.
Taylor Dugas is hitting a team-high .393 with a .530-on base-percentage thanks to 59 walks and a team-high 19 steals. Josh Rutledge is batting .365 with 10 homers, 69 RBIs, and 15 steals, while Clay Jones is hitting .329 with 17 home runs, 65 RBIs, and a .453 on-base percentage. Jake Smith has added 13 long balls and 55 RBIs as well.


The pitching staff, led by Pitching Coach Kyle Bunn, has a 4.81 ERA and .281 opponents’ batting average. Bunn was Clemson’s pitching coach in 2008 and 2009. The staff has allowed 201 walks against 498 strikeouts, good for a 2.48-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Smith, a senior righthander, has a team-high five saves along with an 0.98 ERA and a .194 opponents’ batting average in 12 relief appearances. Junior righty Nathan Kilcrease is 8-2 with a 2.42 ERA, four saves, and a .208 opponents’ batting average and 81 strikeouts against only 19 walks in 33 appearances (five starts).


The Tigers


Clemson (41-22), ranked as high as #13 in the nation, enters the Clemson Super Regional coming off capturing the Auburn (AL) Regional title with a 3-1 record last weekend. Clemson was 18-12 during the ACC regular season, finishing in a tie for first place in the ACC Atlantic Division standings. Clemson is making its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 24 years, its 35th overall, sixth-most in the nation, and ninth super regional appearance, tied for fourth-most in NCAA history.


The Tigers, who are 27-8 at home and have won seven games in a row at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, are led by 17th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett. His 765 wins are seventh-most in college baseball during his tenure. Clemson is also 9-9 against top-25 ranked teams in 2010.
The team is hitting .306 with a .494 slugging percentage and .405 on-base percentage. Clemson, who has 343 walks, has also stolen 100 bases in 123 attempts.


Brad Miller, who has hit safely in 14 straight games and 24 of his last 25 games, is batting a team-best .365 with seven homers, 41 RBIs, a .469 on-base percentage, and nine steals on the season. Kyle Parker is hitting .356 with 20 homers, 15 doubles, 63 RBIs, 78 runs, and a .484 on-base percentage. John Hinson is hitting .341 with 15 homers, 67 RBIs, and a team-high 22 steals, while Mike Freeman is hitting .330 with eight homers, 22 doubles, 55 RBIs, and 11 steals. Freeman is riding an 11-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 29 of his last 31 games. Jeff Schaus has added 15 home runs and a team-high 80 RBIs as well.


The pitching staff has a 4.82 ERA and .281 opponents’ batting average. The Clemson staff has allowed 210 walks against 442 strikeouts, good for a 2.10-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Senior righthander Tomas Cruz has a team-high three saves, while freshman righty Kevin Brady has 44 strikeouts against only seven walks in 36.0 innings pitched. The Tigers are fielding at a .963 clip as well.


Polls


The Tigers moved up three spots to #13 in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week after going 3-1 in the Auburn (AL) Regional last week. Clemson is #20 in the Sports Weekly coaches poll and is not ranked in the Baseball America ranking. Both Sports Weekly and Baseball America did not release a new poll this week and will release their next poll after the College World Series.


With Clemson’s top-25 ranking this week, it marks the 35th week in a row the Tigers have been ranked in the top 25 of at least one of the three major polls dating to the start of the 2009 season.


Tiger Fielding Sharp in the Last 38 Games


Clemson committed 50 errors in its first 25 games of 2010 and had a .950 fielding percentage at that time. But in the last 38 games, Clemson has committed just 39 errors and has a .973 fielding percentage during that stretch. The Tigers’ recent success has enabled their fielding percentage to raise to .963 on the season.


Tigers Among Nation’s Best in Turning Double Plays


Clemson has turned 73 double plays this season, its highest total since 2002 when Khalil Greene was an important factor in the Tigers turning 78 double plays. This year’s total is also fifth-most by a Tiger team in history, as the 1995 team holds the record with 81 double plays.
Senior second-baseman Mike Freeman has played a big role in Clemson turning 73 double plays in 2010. He has been involved in 56 of the 73 double plays. Freeman is also a big reason Clemson is third in the nation and first in the ACC in double plays in 2010.


Six Tigers on Auburn Regional All-Tournament Team


Six Tigers were named to the Auburn Regional All-Tournament team, as Clemson captured the title by going 3-1 at Plainsman Park from June 4-7. Infielders Mike Freeman (2B) and John Hinson (3B) along with outfielders Wilson Boyd and Jeff Schaus all made the team among position players. Lefthander Casey Harman and righthander Scott Weismann took both of the slots alloted to pitchers. Hinson was named Auburn Regional MVP after going 9-for-16 (.563) with three homers, one double, five RBIs, and five runs in four games.


Six Tigers Picked in Major League Draft


Six Tigers were taken in the 2010 Major League draft from June 7-9. Junior outfielder and first-baseman Kyle Parker was a first-round draft selection (#26 overall pick) of the Colorado Rockies, becoming Clemson’s first first-round draft pick since 2007 when lefthander Daniel Moskos was picked #4 overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Parker is also the 14th first-round draft pick in Tiger history.


On day-two of the draft, senior second-baseman Mike Freeman was picked in the 11th round (#331 overall pick) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the third time Freeman was taken in the Major League draft, as he was also selected in 2006 and 2009. Fellow infielder and sophomore John Hinson was taken in the 13th round (#411 overall pick) by the Philadelphia Phillies, junior outfielder Jeff Schaus was picked in the 27th round (#810 overall pick) by the Cleveland Indians, and junior lefthander Casey Harman was chosen in the 29th round (#880 overall pick) by the Chicago Cubs.
On day-three of the draft, junior catcher and first-baseman John Nester was drafted in the 39th round (#1175 overall pick) by the Oakland Athletics.
With the six selections, Jack Leggett has had a total of 84 players drafted in his 17 seasons as head coach at Clemson. Fifteen of those 84 players were drafted twice, meaning a Tiger has been drafted 99 times in his tenure. Thirteen more Tigers have signed free-agent contracts as well.


Harman Tosses Complete Game in Auburn Regional


Casey Harman pitched his first career complete game in Clemson’s 5-2 win over #14 Auburn in the Auburn Regional on June 5. In fact, in his previous 64 appearances (30 starts), he had never pitched more than 7.2 innings. But against the SEC Tigers in front of a hostile crowd, the junior lefthander pitched a gem to earn one of two spots on the Auburn Regional All-Tournament team.


In 9.0 innings pitched, Harman allowed just five hits, two runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts while keeping the potent Auburn offense off-balance during the entire game. Auburn entered the regional first in the nation in homers, second in slugging percentage, seventh in batting average, and ninth in runs per game. He also limited Auburn to 0-for-11 with runners on base and 0-for-9 with two outs.


Perhaps the most impressive aspect of his outing was the fact that Harman allowed just three Auburn baserunners to advance past first base, including one on a controversial hit-by-pitch that enabled the runners on first base to advance to second base. It is also the only complete game by a Tiger pitcher in 2010.


Hinson Earns Auburn Regional MVP Honors


John Hinson was named Auburn Regional MVP after leading the Tigers to the regional championship at Plainsman Park from June 4-7. In four games, he was 9-for-16 (.563) with three homers, one double, five RBIs, five runs, a 1.188 slugging percentage, one walk, one hit-by-pitch, and a .611 on-base percentage. But perhaps his biggest contribution was his defense, as he made several dazzling stops at third base and did not commit an error in nine chances. In the regional-finale at #14 Auburn on June 7, Hinson went 2-for-3 with a homer, double, three runs, a walk, and hit-by-pitch to lead Clemson to a 13-7 win.


Here Comes Kieboom


Freshman catcher Spencer Kieboom (Marietta, GA) was Clemson’s third-string catcher for the first 48 games of the season. But against Presbyterian on May 18, he was given the opportunity to prove himself as a starter behind the plate. Although he went 0-for-4, he showed the Tiger coaches that he could handle the receiving aspects of the position. Then after playing in just two of the next nine games, both off the bench, he was penciled into the starting lineup against #6 Georgia Tech on May 29. Against the Yellow Jackets, he went 3-for-4 with two runs to lead Clemson to a 9-3 victory. Kieboom has been Clemson’s starting catcher ever since.


In 23 games (six starts) this season, he is 10-for-36 (.278 with three doubles, four RBIs, and nine runs. Five of his six starts have come in the last five games and he has started all four of Clemson’s NCAA Tournament games. He has also allowed just two stolen bases in four attempts this season and did not allow a stolen base while throwing out two potential basestealers in four games during the Auburn Regional.


Parker a First-Team All-American


Kyle Parker was named a first-team All-American by Ping!Baseball, becoming Clemson’s first All-American on the diamond since 2006. Parker, who was a freshman All-American on the gridiron earlier in the 2009-10 academic year when he led the Tigers to a 9-5 record and an ACC Atlantic Division title, is hitting .356 with 20 homers, 15 doubles, 63 RBIs, 78 runs, a .694 slugging percentage, 50 walks, seven hit-by-pitches, a .484 on-base percentage, and four steals in 60 games in 2010. He has also totaled 46 career home runs, eighth-most in school history.
At #14 Auburn in the Auburn Regional Championship game on June 7, he clobbered his 20th home run of the season to become the first Division I athlete in history to accumulate 20 passing touchdowns and 20 home runs in the same academic year. That same day, he was drafted in the first round (#26 overall pick) of the Major League draft by the Colorado Rockies.


Parker Picked in the First Round of the MLB Draft


Kyle Parker was selected in the first round of the Major League draft on June 7, the same day Clemson defeated #14 Auburn 13-7 to capture the Auburn Regional title. In fact, he was taken at the end of the seventh inning of that game.


Parker was drafted by the Colorado Rockies with the #26 overall pick. He became Clemson’s first first-round draft pick since Daniel Moskos was taken with the #4 overall pick in 2007. He is also the 14th first-round draft pick in Tiger history.


Clemson Claims Auburn Regional Championship


The #16 Clemson Tigers captured the Auburn (AL) Regional title with a 3-1 record at Plainsman Park from June 4-7. Clemson, who committed just two errors and turned eight double plays in the regional, outscored its opposition 38-21 and outhit its opponents .322 to .313, including batting .439 with runners in scoring position. The Tigers also hit six homers and 13 doubles. John Hinson, who earned Auburn Regional MVP honors, was 9-for-16 (.563) with three homers, one double, five RBIs, and five runs. Wilson Boyd added six hits, including four doubles, while Mike Freeman tallied six hits, including two doubles and a homer, along with four RBIs and seven runs. The Tiger pitching staff had a 5.00 ERA and 33 strikeouts against eight walks as well.


In the Tigers’ first game of the Auburn Regional on June 4, Scott Weismann pitched 7.0 strong innings to lead Clemson to a 10-1 win over Southern Mississippi. Weismann earned the win by allowing just four hits, one run, and one walk with six strikeouts. Clemson scored two runs in the first inning and never gave up the lead. With the Tigers ahead 4-1, they scored six runs in the sixth inning to pull away. Will Lamb and Hinson both hit solo homers, while Lamb was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, three runs, and a walk. Jeff Schaus went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as well for the Tigers, who outhit Southern Mississippi 12-6.


In the Tigers’ second game of the Auburn Regional on June 5, Casey Harman pitched a complete-game five-hitter in Clemson’s 5-2 win over #14 Auburn. Harman pitched his first career complete game and allowed just five hits, two runs, and one walk with eight strikeouts. Freeman hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Hinson added a run-scoring single later in the frame. Clemson added two runs in the fourth inning, then Auburn hit solo home runs in the fifth and ninth innings. But Harman and the Clemson defense came up with big plays, including two crucial double plays, to come out with the victory.


In the Tigers’ third game of the Auburn Regional on June 6, Creede Simpson hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and #14 Auburn held on for an 11-10 win over Clemson to stave off elimination. With two outs and no one on base in the top of the ninth, Auburn put runners on base via a walk and bloop single on an 0-2 count off Freeman’s glove. Then on a 1-2 pitch to Simpson, he belted a three-run homer to give Auburn an 11-9 lead. Richie Shaffer and Boyd led off the bottom of the ninth with singles and both moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt. Shaffer scored and Boyd moved to third on a wild pitch with one out, but two of the next three batters were retired without Boyd scoring. Freeman and Hinson, who hit a two-run homer in Clemson’s seven-run fifth inning, had three hits apiece. Auburn outhit Clemson 17-15.


In the Tigers’ fourth game of the Auburn Regional on June 7, Clemson used timely hitting and three key double plays to defeat #14 Auburn 13-7 and claim the regional title. Clemson scored three runs in both the first and second innings and never relinquished the lead. Clemson turned two inning-ending double plays in the seventh and eighth innings. Schaus went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs, while Kyle Parker and Hinson both added long balls for Clemson, who totaled 14 hits compared to 18 by Auburn. Alex Frederick pitched 3.0 effective innings out of the bullpen to earn the win, while Kevin Brady pitched 3.0 scoreless innings to record his first career save.

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