Story by: Joshua Jurnovoy and Patrick Daniel
Thursday, the Clemson Tigers and South Carolina Gamecocks arrived in Omaha, Nebraska and began preparations for the 2010 College World Series.
This is the first College World Series appearance for all of the players on both teams as Clemson’s last College World Series appearance was in 2006, and the Gamecocks last trip to Omaha was in 2004.
In 2006, the Tigers won their opening round game against Georgia Tech, but lost their following two games. The Gamecocks went 3-2 in 2004, falling to Cal State Fullerton in the National Semifinals.
The Gamecocks bring a great deal of momentum to Omaha as they are one of only three teams remaining in the field to have not lost a postseason game. They are riding the hot bats of junior outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who hit a 3-run home in the clinching super regional game and currently has a 14-game hitting streak, and freshman infielder Christian Walker, who hit a game winning home run in the bottom of the 8th of the clinching game as well.
Ray Tanner interview in Omaha:
Clemson is also feeling confident going into the College World Series following their comeback against Alabama, winning the final two games of the Super Regional in Clemson. The Tigers have been hitting the ball well as a team in their super regional, being led by the hot bats of freshman 1B Richie Shaffer (3 HR, 7RBI) and red-shirt sophomore infielder John Hinson (2 HR, 5 RBI).
This time around, both teams hope to advance even farther than their last experience at Rosenblatt Stadium, this being the final year the College World Series will be played at the historic field. The Gamecocks will play their first game of the tournament on Sunday as they take on the Oklahoma Sooners at 2:00pm eastern time. They will send senior pitcher Blake Cooper to the mound. Cooper has won 12 games for the Gamecocks this season while only losing once. The game will be televised on ESPN. The Tigers’ quest begins on Sunday when they face the Arizona State Sun Devils at 7:00pm eastern time, and will be broadcast on ESPN2. The starting pitcher for the Tigers will be junior lefty Casey Harman, who carries a record of 7-3 on the season.
In the event that the Tigers and Gamecocks both win or lose their first round game they will face off in the second round. If one of the rivals wins and the other loses, they will play the others’ first round opponent in the second round.
All teams are given designated practice times prior to their first round games. The Gamecocks first practice will take place Friday from 2-3pm at Rosenblatt with the Tigers following from 4-5pm. On Saturday the Gamecocks will have an additional practice at 11am at Bellevue East, a local high school.
For fans looking to get some one on one time with players and coaches, teams will be having autograph sessions at Rosenblatt Stadium on Friday. USC’s autograph session 3:30pm while Clemson’s will be at 5:30 pm.