Omaha: Tigers Using Downtime to Their Advantage


by - Correspondent -
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OMAHA, Neb. - One day after his team defeated Georgia Tech 9-7 to go 2-0 at
the College World Series for the first time in school history, Clemson head
coach Jack Leggett was cautiously optimistic about his team's stance atop the
winner's bracket of its division.


Emphasis on cautiously.


"We feel pretty good about it, but we're on guard," Leggett said after
Monday's brief workout at Creighton University. "We know there's a lot of
baseball to be played, and we're going to have to face an outstanding team
Wednesday, whether it be South Carolina or Georgia Tech.


"We still have to win some game to get where we want to get. So we're keeping
our focus and keeping our edge."


Though keeping an ear to the ground, so to speak, Leggett quietly is enjoying
the benefits of winning the first two games at Rosenblatt Stadium.


His team is loose, they're scoring runs, and most importantly the two days
off between games means every pitcher on the roster save for Tyler Lumsden -
who started Sunday's game against the Yellow Jackets - is rested and ready to
go.


That provides a huge advantage for the Tigers. Whichever team emerges from
the loser's bracket to challenge Clemson will be playing its fourth game of
the tournament Wednesday, and third in four days.


Add it all up? Advantage Clemson.


"I guess if you were looking at (today's Ga. Tech-South Carolina game) it
would be 20-inning game," Leggett said with a laugh. "But we've had a chance
to rest our guys, so hopefully they'll come out rested on Wednesday and we'll
have everybody available.


"We've just got to figure out who's a hundred percent and who's going to give
us the most competitive effort out there. We've just got to get that in
order...and see how these guys feel."


Both Leggett and pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan said senior Steve Reba is a
candidate to pitch Wednesday's game, as is Matt Henrie if he feels healthy
and the need should arise. Leggett also mentioned B.J. LaMura as a
possibility, though he seemed to backtrack almost immediately by saying he
preferred the junior coming out of the bullpen.


Henrie has seen his role change both dramatically and unexpectedly since the
Tigers arrive in Omaha. Clemson's most effective starter in the postseason,
Henrie has a win and a save in Clemson's first to game working exclusively
out of the bullpen.


Still, in a perfect world Henrie would go unused during Wednesday's game. If
Clemson wins, he then would be the odds-on bet to start the National
Championship game on Saturday.


The Tigers will workout again Tuesday at noon (EDT) at Creighton.

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