Tigers set to begin postseason

Clemson (41-18), ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation, is the No. 1 seed in the Clemson (SC) Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from June 3-6.

Clemson is joined by No. 2-seeded Connecticut (41-17-1), who is ranked as high as No. 16 in the country, No. 3-seeded Coastal Carolina (41-18), ranked as high as No. 21 in the nation, and No. 4-seeded Sacred Heart (34-21). The Clemson Regional is the only one of the 16 regionals with three top-25 ranked teams.

The first game of the tourney will pit Connecticut against Coastal Carolina on Friday at 3:00 PM. Clemson will then face Sacred Heart on Friday at 7:00 PM. The two losers will play on Saturday at 3:00 PM, while the two winners will play on Saturday at 7:00 PM. The winner of the second game on Saturday will play in the championship round on Sunday at 7:00 PM, while the loser of the Saturday's second game will play the winner of Saturday's first game on Sunday at 3:00 PM. If the unbeaten team loses on Sunday, the same two teams will play a game on Monday at 7:00 PM to determine the regional champion.

The winner of the Clemson Regional will play the winner of the Columbia (SC) Regional between June 10-13. The four teams in that regional are #1-seeded South Carolina, #2-seeded Stetson, #3-seeded N.C. State, and #4-seeded Georgia Southern.

Clemson's NCAA Tournament History
The 2011 season marks Clemson's 36th trip to an NCAA Tournament dating back to the 1947 season. That year, Clemson actually advanced to the Final Eight of the NCAA Tournament, but it is not considered a College World Series season because only two teams went to the CWS in those days.

Clemson won the 1947 District III Tournament in Charlotte by coming through the losers' bracket. The Tigers, coached by Randy Hinson, lost in the first round to Alabama 8-2, then came back with a win over Auburn and two wins over Alabama to advance. Clemson's season ended when Yale, led by future President George H.W. Bush, defeated the Tigers in New Haven, CT by a score of 7-3. Bush was 1-for-3 as the starting first-baseman.

Clemson made its first trip to Omaha and the College World Series in 1958 when the Tigers again came through the losers' bracket. After losing to Florida in the first round, Clemson came back to defeat George Washington, Florida State, and Florida twice to advance under first year Head Coach Bill Wilhelm. Clemson defeated Florida 15-14 and 3-1 on June 9 to advance. Harold Stowe struck out 17 in that second game on June 9, and that is still a Clemson single-game record for strikeouts in an NCAA Tournament game.

The Tigers advanced to Omaha in 1959, this time with three wins (one over Georgia Tech and two over Florida State). One of the wins over the Seminoles was a 24-2 victory at Gastonia, NC. That tally is still tied for the most runs scored by Clemson in an NCAA Tourney game.

The Tigers did not advance to Omaha again until 1976. In fact, Clemson made just one NCAA Tournament appearance between 1960 and 1974. That was in 1967 when Clemson reached the Regional Championship but lost to Auburn 6-5.

Clemson made it to Omaha three out of five years between 1976-80. Clemson won a regional in Columbia, SC in 1976 with three straight wins, then came through the losers' bracket in Miami (FL) in 1977 to advance to Omaha. The 1980 season was the first year Clemson played host to a regional, as Clemson swept three games by scoring 45 runs, including 17 in a 17-12 win over South Carolina.

Clemson has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 1987 except one (2008). The Tigers have been to the NCAA Tournament 24 of the last 25 years. Clemson also made College World Series trips in 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2010.

Overall, Clemson has been to a regional 36 times (including 2011), tied for fifth-most. Clemson's all-time record in NCAA play is 108-77, a 58.4 winning percentage.

Clemson is 63-37 (.630) under Head Coach Jack Leggett in NCAA Tourney play, including a 38-7 record (.844) at home. Leggett has taken Clemson to a regional 17 times in the 18 years he has been Clemson's head coach, and the Tigers have advanced to the College World Series six times. He has also taken Clemson to a super regional nine of the 12 years that format has been in existence.

Scouting #1-Seeded Clemson
First-seeded and #12-ranked Clemson (41-18) enters the NCAA Tournament coming off two wins in three games in the ACC Tournament at Durham, NC. Clemson was 17-13 during the ACC regular season, finishing second in the Atlantic Division standings. Clemson is making its 24th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 25 years and 36th overall, tied for fifth-most in the nation.

The Tigers, who are 26-7 at home, are led by 18th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett. His 810 wins are sixth-most in college baseball during his tenure. The Tigers are also 6-11 against top-25 ranked teams in 2011.

Clemson, who is averaging 7.1 runs per game, is hitting .319 with a .458 slugging percentage and .405 on-base percentage. Clemson, who has 280 walks against 355 strikeouts, also has 120 doubles, 16 triples, 43 homers, and 101 stolen bases in 133 attempts.

ACC Player-of-the-Year Brad Miller is hitting an ACC-best .419 with five homers, 11 doubles, three triples, 46 RBIs, 51 runs, a .523 on-base percentage, and 21 steals. Will Lamb, who has hit safely in 33 of his last 34 games, is hitting .344 with 13 steals. Phil Pohl is batting .329 with 19 doubles, while Jeff Schuas also has 19 doubles along with a .326 batting average and 42 RBIs. Richie Shaffer leads the team in homers (11), RBIs (50), and runs (60), while Chris Epps has totaled 10 homers and 39 RBIs.

The pitching staff has a 3.12 ERA and .231 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed 174 walks against 455 strikeouts, good for a 2.61-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Junior righty David Haselden has a 5-1 record, three saves, and a 2.12 ERA in 72.1 innings pitched over 23 appearances (four starts). Graduate righthander Justin Sarratt is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA along with 60 strikeouts against 13 walks in a team-high 75.0 innings pitched over 17 appearances (12 starts). Sophomore righties Jonathan Meyer (5-2, 3.31 ERA) and Dominic Leone (6-2, 3.38 ERA) have also been solid starters for the Tigers. Junior righty Scott Weismann has a team-high seven saves since moving to the closer role. Clemson is fielding at a .970 clip as well.

Scouting #2-Seeded Connecticut
Second-seeded and #16-ranked Connecticut (41-17-1) enters the Clemson Regional after 2-2 in the Big East Conference Tournament last weekend. Connecticut, who is 20-6 on opponents' home fields and 4-8 in neutral-site contests in 2011, had a 22-5 conference record during the regular season, as it finished atop the Big East Conference standings. The 2011 season marks the 17th time in school history that the Huskies have played in an NCAA Tournament.

Connecticut is led by eighth-year Head Coach Jim Penders, who was named Big East Conference Coach-of-the-Year for the second year in a row in 2011. The Huskies won each of their nine Big East Conference series in 2011.

Connecticut is hitting .306 with a .424 slugging percentage and .382 on-base percentage. Connecticut, who is fielding at a .961 clip, has also totaled 119 doubles, 15 triples, 32 home runs, and is averaging 6.3 runs per game along with 122 stolen bases in 160 attempts.

Big East Conference Player-of-the-Year George Springer is hitting .361 with 22 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 74 RBIs, 53 runs, a .462 on-base percentage, and 31 stolen bases. Mike Nemeth is batting .351 with 46 RBIs and a .461 on-base percentage thanks to 44 walks and five hit-by-pitches against only 18 strikeouts. L.J. Mazzilli, son of former Major Leaguer Lee Mazzilli, is hitting .335 with 21 doubles and 19 steals.

Nick Ahmed is batting .327 with 21 steals. Ryan Fuller has totaled 24 doubles, four triples, five homers, 49 RBIs, and 11 steals, while Billy Ferriter has added 15 steals. John Andreoli, whose sister Kathryn is a student at Clemson, is hitting .309 with 20 stolen bases as well.

The pitching staff has a 2.85 ERA and .223 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed just 17 home runs and 211 walks against 419 strikeouts, good for a 1.99-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Junior righthander Matt Barnes, the 2011 Big East Conference Pitcher-of-the-Year, is 11-3 with a 1.12 ERA, .162 opponents' batting average, and 105 strikeouts against 28 walks in 112.1 innings pitched over 15 starts. Senior lefty Greg Nappo is 9-2 with a 2.71 ERA and .217 opponents' batting average in 79.2 innings pitched over 14 starts. Junior righty Kevin Vance has a team-high 13 saves, an 0.98 ERA, a .106 opponents' batting average, and 28 strikeouts against only five walks in 27.2 innings pitched over 25 relief appearances.

Clemson and Connecticut have never met on the diamond. However, Jack Leggett had a 5-4 record against the Huskies as head coach at Vermont from 1978-82.

Scouting #3-Seeded Coastal Carolina
Third-seeded and #21-ranked Coastal Carolina (41-18) enters the Clemson Regional after winning the Big South Conference Tourney with a 4-0 record last weekend. The Chanticleers, who are 11-12 on opponents' home fields and 4-0 in neutral-site contests, had a 20-7 conference record during the regular season, as it finished atop the Big South Conference standings. The 2011 season marks the 11th time in school history and the 10th time in the last 11 years that Coastal Carolina has played in an NCAA Tourney.

Coastal Carolina is led by 16th-year Head Coach Gary Gilmore. The Chanticleers have won five games in a row and 16 of their last 19 games.

Coastal Carolina is hitting .277 with a .426 slugging percentage and .371 on-base percentage. Coastal Carolina, who is fielding at a .972 clip, has also totaled 119 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, 81 hit-by-pitches, 77 sacrifice bunts, and is averaging 6.5 runs per game along with 99 stolen bases in 114 attempts.

Tommy La Stella is batting .391 with 14 doubles, four triples, 11 homers, 63 RBIs, and 54 runs. Scott Woodward is hitting .363 with 32 walks, 22 hit-by-pitches, a .496 on-base percentage, and 30 stolen bases. Taylor Motter has totaled 45 walks and 21 steals, while Daniel Bowman has added 14 doubles, two triples, 12 homers, 56 RBIs, and 11 steals. Hayes Orton has a team-high 18 sacrifice bunts.

The pitching staff has a 2.85 ERA and .228 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed just 24 homers and 179 walks against 460 strikeouts, good for a 2.57-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Junior righthander Anthony Meo is 9-3 with a 2.21 ERA and 108 strikeouts against 29 walks in 102.0 innings pitched over 15 starts. Senior lefty Matt Rein is 9-2 with a 1.78 ERA and .201 opponents' batting average in 70.2 innings pitched over 17 appearances (nine starts). Sophomore righties Josh Conway and Ryan Connolly have three saves apiece to lead the squad.

Clemson and Coastal Carolina have met 46 times on the diamond, with the Tigers holding a 39-7 lead in the series that dates back to 1986. On April 5, 2011, the Tigers defeated Coastal Carolina 5-4 when freshman pinch-hitter Jon McGibbon lined a walkoff single in the 10th inning to score Brad Miller. The Tigers trailed 4-3 entering the ninth inning before freshman pinch-hitter Dominic Attanasio hit a double in the frame to tie the score.

Clemson had won eight games in a row in the series before Coastal Carolina downed the Tigers 4-3 in 11 innings at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on March 31, 2010. In 2009, Jeff Schaus hit a walkoff grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Tigers to a 5-3 win over the Chanticleers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Tigers lead 29-5 over the Chanticleers in games played at Clemson, all of which have been played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Jack Leggett has a 26-5 mark against Coastal Carolina as Clemson's head coach, including a 22-4 record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The two teams have met twice in the NCAA Tournament. In the 2007 Myrtle Beach Regional, the Tigers won both games over Coastal Carolina by scores of 11-8 and 15-3 on their way to the regional title.

Scouting #4-Seeded Sacred Heart
Fourth-seeded Sacred Heart (34-21) enters the Clemson Regional after winning the Northeast Conference Tournament with a 3-0 record. Sacred Heart, who is 18-13 on opponents' home fields and 5-1 in neutral-site contests, had a 23-9 record during its conference regular season, as it finished second in the Northeast Conference standings. The 2011 season marks the second time overall that the Pioneers have played in an NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers were 0-2 in the 2006 Athens (GA) Regional.

Sacred Heart is led by 23rd-year Head Coach Nick Giaquinto, who played four years (1980-83) in the NFL with the Dolphins and Redskins. The Connecticut alum still holds the Husky single-game record with 277 rushing yards against Holy Cross in 1976.

Sacred Heart, who has won seven games in a row, is hitting .311 with a .397 slugging percentage and .371 on-base percentage. Sacred Heart, who is fielding at a .968 clip, has also totaled 86 doubles, 15 triples, 14 home runs, 60 sacrifice bunts, and is averaging 5.8 runs per game along with 64 stolen bases in 88 attempts.

J.J. Edwards is hitting a team-high .380 with 14 sacrifice bunts. M.J. Schifano is batting .337 with 12 steals, while Steve Tedesco is hitting .335 with 16 stolen bases. Rob Griffith is hitting .333 with four homers and a team-high 44 RBIs, while John Murphy is hitting .305 with three homers, 43 RBIs, and 11 steals.

The pitching staff has a 4.35 ERA and .268 opponents' batting average. The staff has allowed only 14 homers and 187 walks against 272 strikeouts, good for a 1.45-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Sophomore righthander Troy Scribner, who is slated to start on the mound against the Tigers on Friday, is 9-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 92.2 innings pitched over 14 appearances (13 starts). Freshman lefty Nick Leiningen is 7-3 with one save, a 3.68 ERA, and seven complete games in 80.2 innings pitched over 14 appearances (11 starts). Schifano, a senior righty, has a team-high three saves in 50.1 innings pitched over 13 appearances (seven starts).

Clemson and Sacred Heart have never met on the diamond.

Polls
The Tigers moved up two spots to #12 in this week's Sports Weekly coaches poll after going 2-1 in three games last week. Clemson also stayed at #14 in the Baseball America rankings and fell one spot to #19 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Clemson has had at least one final top-25 ranking in 14 of Head Coach Jack Leggett's first 17 seasons in Tigertown. The Tigers have also been ranked #1 for 20 weeks by at least one of the three major polls under Leggett. Their last #1 ranking came on February 12, 2007 by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

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That's how many of Clemson's 59 games have been against teams that will play in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, which equates to neary 41 percent. Clemson has an 11-13 record against the teams in the field. The Tigers have played eight different teams that are in the NCAA Tournament.

Clemson has played four of the top-five national seeds in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida State for a total of 13 games. The Tigers are 3-10 in those 13 contests, but only four of those games were played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers are 6-11 against #1 seeds and 5-2 against #3 seeds. Clemson has not played a #2 or #4 seed this year.

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