Leggett rejuvenated by younger Tigers

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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has had to endure the growing pains of what is probably the youngest team he has ever coached this season, but the youngsters are growing up and making a run at hosting an NCAA Regional and Leggett says it’s the kids that have helped to rejuvenate the entire team.

The Tigers defeated Georgia Southern Friday night at Doug Kingsmore, and Leggett told TigerNet after the game that the infusion of young and talented players has made the entire program better, including a certain head coach.

“We’ve got some really young players, and they love to play and they love to practice,” Leggett said. “They work at the game and they are highly motivated. I think it has been good for our older players, it has been good for the coaches and it has just been good for everybody. This team has started to gel a little bit and started to play a lot better baseball. “

Leggett said the young players came in ready to work, and that work ethic has rubbed off on the entire team.

“They bring a good work ethic. They didn’t take anything for granted when they first came in and they all had something to prove,” he said. “There were some spots open and some opportunities and they took advantage of it. Their attitudes, their enthusiasm, the bounce they have every day and the way they go about their business has been good for everybody. “

Sophomore right-hander Daniel GossettDaniel Gossett
So. RH Pitcher
#23 6-0, 180
Lyman, SC

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pitched 7 1/3 strong innings Friday night, while freshman Matthew CrownoverMatthew Crownover
Fr. LH Pitcher
#44 5-11, 205
Ringgold, GA

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pitched seven shutout innings in Saturday’s 7-0 win over the Eagles. Redshirt freshman Mike TrillerMike Triller
So. Outfielder
#35 6-2, 190
Rutland, VT

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added a couple of hits in his first extended look of the season on Friday, and Leggett said Triller’s opportunity came about because of hard work.

“Triller has worked hard for two years. He redshirted last year and he worked, and he has worked hard this year as well,” Leggett said. “But Tyler SlatonTyler Slaton
So. Outfielder
#18 5-7, 200
Cumming, GA

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works hard, Mike DunsterMike Dunster
Jr. Infielder
#10 5-10, 185
Greenwich, CT

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works hard, Joe CostiganJoe Costigan
Jr. Outfielder
#5 5-11, 190
Naples, FL

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works hard. They all work hard. They know they won’t survive in our program if they don’t work hard, and one kid pushes another. That is what is so special about our program right now.”

Leggett said the youngsters are finally beginning to find their roles.

“It is all starting to work together,” he said. “The pitching is coming together, and Pep [pitching coach Dan PepicelliDan Pepicelli
Associate Head Coach
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] has done a good job of finding roles for everyone and making sure everybody knows what their role is. It takes a while to establish those kinds of things. Offensively, we are just trying to play the hot guy, and freshman Maleeke GibsonMaleeke Gibson
Fr. Outfielder
#1 5-9, 165
Sumter, SC

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has been a hot guy and given us the leadoff hitter we need. The offense is starting to click, the defense is starting to click, and when you take all of those things together it makes it exciting.”

Leggett said the team – while not a finished product but has won 20- of its past 24 games– shows improvement each week and he hopes will get hot at just the right time.

“I think it is getting better. We still have areas of concern,” he said. “But I like where we are right now. We are playing hard, and that can help you overcome a lot.”

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