CLEMSON - The blueprint is there to be followed.
Two years ago, Clemson hosted both an NCAA Regional and Super Regional at
Doug Kingsmore Stadium. After winning the regional, the Tigers responded by
sweeping Mississippi State in the Super Regional, earning a trip to the
College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
With the exact scenario laid out before them beginning tonight - Clemson, as
the No. 2 national seed, is virtually assured to host a Super Regional if it
survives this weekend - the Tigers and head coach Jack Leggett hope history
They're also happy to be getting something of a fresh start, one that doesn't
include a Florida State sighting - the No. 1 Seminoles swept the final three
games of the regular season from Clemson, then beat the Tigers twice in the
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
"We have to go prove it, but we’ve played the year as well as anybody has in
the country," Leggett said. "We (just) ran into the team that’s playing the
best in the country at the end of
With the Seminoles out of the picture, at least for the moment, the Tigers
now focus on a Georgia Southern team (38-23) it defeated twice this season -
20-8 on March 12, 9-2 on March 23. The Eagles made the NCAA field by coming
out of the loser's bracket to defeat the College of Charleston twice to win
the Southern Conference Tournament.
Matt Herring has been GSU's main offensive threat in 2002, sporting a .376
batting average with 14 homers and 77 RBI.
The Tigers are likely to face the Eagles' Dennis Dove (7-3, 2.99 ERA), their
top pitcher all season.
In today's first game (2 p.m.), second-seeded East Carolina (41-18-1) takes
on No. 3 Elon (33-19). Elon is making its second trip to Clemson this season.
The Phoenix upset the Tigers 8-6 on May 9.
In a very important sidenote, Clemson is making every attempt to accommodate
ECU head coach Keith LeClair, who suffers from Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS) and
has lost the ability to speak.
LeClair, a former Leggett player and assistant coach, watched part of the Conference USA
Tournament from a van parked next to the field. When the Pirates clinched the
tournament championship, several players included LeClair in the celebration
by dousing the van with Gatorade.
Clemson will get LeClair as close to the field as possible, a sign of the
respect Leggett has for the ECU coach.
"It hurts me a great deal to see him going through the things he’s having to
struggle with," Leggett said. "We’re trying to show him as much support as we
can — try to show him how much we care about him and love him. He’s given me
far more than I could give him in
terms of motivation and showing me how to handle tough adversity and the
tough things in life."