Story by: Patrick Daniel
The Clemson University baseball team seemed relaxed and ready today as they began preparations for the College World Series, with the goal in mind for all involved being to leave Omaha as National Champions.
The Tigers arrived in Omaha yesterday still riding a wave of confidence stemming from their comeback victory against Alabama in the Super Regional. Clemson had to win the final two games in order to earn their first trip to Omaha since 2006. The team took part in practice today from 4:00-5:00 pm, followed by an autograph session at 5:30. Both events were open to the public.
Jack Leggett press conference:
Clemson is seeded #8 in the College World Series, scheduled to open the tournament against #1 seed Arizona State at 7:00 pm Sunday evening. Junior southpaw Casey Harman will take the mound for the Tigers, coming in with a 7-3 record on the season and 3.73 ERA. He will square off against Arizona State’s Seth Blair, who is 12-0 on the year with a 3.35 ERA.
Clemson 2nd baseman Mike Freeman talks to reporters:
Arizona State comes into Omaha as the heavy favorites to win the championship, but the #1 seeded team has not won the College World Series since Miami accomplished that feat in 1999. While the Sun Devils may be feeling the pressure of living up to the hype, the Tigers of Clemson seem completely relaxed and ready to shock the world.
Coach Jack Leggett has said that revenge is not on his mind, but the Tigers have the opportunity to make up for multiple transgressions from their past, within their bracket alone. Leggett made his first appearance in the College World Series as a player back in 1976, when he was a captain on the University of Maine baseball team. That team got knocked out of the series by none other than Arizona State. The Tigers were also eliminated last year by the Sun Devils in the Super Regional at Arizona State. In 2002, the USC Gamecocks defeated Leggett’s Tigers consecutively in the national semifinals to knock them out of the tournament. Both Arizona State and USC are within Clemson’s bracket, and it seems hard to ignore the past.
Clemson 1st baseman Richie Shaffer interview:
Arizona State as a team prides themselves on pitching and base-running, entering the series with the third best ERA in the country at 3.14, and having stolen 135 bases on the year. The Tigers enter the game swinging a hot bat, having scored at least eight runs in 11 of their last 13 games. It will be interesting to see whether offense or defense prevails in this particular situation.
Clemson vs. Arizona State will be broadcast live on ESPN2 Sunday evening at 7:00 pm eastern time.