Reba To Pitch Against USC On Wednesday, Says He's 'Not Afraid' Of Bad Start


by - Correspondent -
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OMAHA, Neb. - Clemson head coach Jack Leggett usually is very coy with the press when it comes time to announce a starting pitcher for a big game.

But Tuesday Leggett stepped out of character, publicly announcing that senior Steve Reba will be on the mound when the Tigers face South Carolina on Wednesday night.

"We're going to throw Reba right back on the horse and get him out there," Leggett said after Tuesday morning's workout at Creighton. "He's a tremendous competitor...He's just got to stay within himself, not nibble, throw his game and let us play behind him."

While Leggett's announcement came as a surprise, there may be a method to his madness. Reba (13-3) has struggled tremendously in his last two outings, failing to get out of the second inning in both his Super Regional start against Arkansas and his previous start vs. Nebraska here at the College World Series.

And while Reba, whose competitive nature is second to none in the Tigers' clubhouse, has never shown any signs of losing confidence, Leggett's ploy could be construed as a way to remind Reba of the confidence the coaching staff has in him.

Whatever the reasoning, Reba is anxious to get back on the mound.

"Even if things aren't going that great, I want to be out there every time," he said. "I'm not afraid at all. I want the ball."

Pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan said earlier this week that Reba was "pulling off his pitches," which caused a drop in his arm slot. The combination of the two caused Reba's pitches to sail away from the plate and into the righthanded batters box, resulting in more walks and hit batsman in two games than Leggett would like to see in a season.

But both O'Sullivan and Leggett feel like they've corrected the flaw in Reba's motion, and expect him to pitch well today.

Reba, meanwhile, shrugged off suggestions that his previous struggles might effect him mentally.

"I don't know if it was so much psychological as it was a flaw in my delivery," Reba said. "I've corrected that, so I'm looking to go from here. I've had a few good years here, and I've put the team in position to win games this year.

"Hopefully I'll do the same thing (today)."

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