OMAHA, Neb. - For the second time in three years, Clemson is in position to
do something only accomplished one other time in its history - win two games in the College
And not only would a victory over Georgia Tech today (5:30 p.m., ESPN) be the
team's second at Rosenblatt Stadium, it would be its second without a loss.
Such heretofore unseen success would guarantee the Tigers a stay until at
least Friday of this week, and would put Jack Leggett's team firmly in the
driver's seat for a spot in Saturday's National Championship game.
But first things first, Leggett said Saturday during the off-day workout at
Creighton University. Having evenly split four games with the Yellow Jackets
this season, Leggett knows looking past his Atlantic Coast Conference foe
would be a serious mistake.
"(Today) is a really important game. If we win that one we don't play again
until Wednesday," Leggett said. "We'd like to be in that position, but I know
Georgia Tech would, too. This is a battle of the knowns. They know us and we
know them. Now we've got to go out and execute, swing the bats a little
better than they do, hopefully, and pitch better than we did (Friday)."
Tech, coming off an 11-0 pounding of South Carolina in Friday's CWS opener,
is expected to start Chris Goodman against the Tigers.
Goodman (8-1, 3.71 ERA) has had mixed success against the Tigers this season.
He won a game to help the Yellow Jackets take two of three from Clemson in
the regular season, but was ineffective in the Tigers' 10-0 win in the ACC
The most impressive thing about Goodman is his control. In 20 starts spanning
80 innings, Goodman has walked just 14 batters.
"He really stuck it to us down in Atlanta," Leggett said. "It'll be a great
challenge for us. He's a strike-thrower, so we've got to be ready to swing
By Saturday afternoon Leggett had yet to decide who will start today for
Matt Henrie (13-4), who picked up the win in a surprise inning of relief work
Friday, is the Tigers No. 2 starter and under most circumstances would be a
lock. He has easily been the most impressive of the starting pitchers in the
But a couple of questions have left the decision open for guesswork:
- Did his 15-pitch effort Friday throw off Henrie's normal schedule, or did
Saturday's day off provide the necessary recovery time?
- Would Leggett consider starting freshman Tyler Lumsden, a lefthander, to
counter Georgia Tech's lefthanded-heavy batting order?
"We really haven't decided," said Leggett. "If Henrie's 100 percent, then we
have a decision to make between the two of them. If he's not then we go right
to Lumsden. We'll talk to both of them and tell them both to be ready, but
we'll probably make the decision (this) morning."