Thursday Clemson Regional Notebook

CLEMSON - On Thursday, Clemson head coach Jack Leggett announced his starting pitcher for Friday night's regional opener against Sacred Heart.

Sophomore right-hander Scott Firth will get the nod when the Tigers and Pioneers get underway at 7 p.m.

"We've got question marks about Jonathan Meyer. His leg is not ready to go yet, not 100 percent, so we know that we're going to have to use a couple of pitchers," Leggett said. "We're going to use Scott Firth. He's been pitching well for us in relief. We'll take it one game a at a time from there and see where we go with it."

Firth is 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 44 innings of work this season. Of his 15 appearances, six were starts.

According to Leggett, Firth was the "logical choice."

"He's pitched on the weekends for us, so he's been in some of these battles," Leggett said. "We figured in order to win this tournament, you're going to have to use three or four guys, if you're lucky enough to keep on winning. We figured this was the game to get his feet wet and go to work."

Meyer, who started against N.C. State on Sunday in the ACC Tournament, suffered a contusion when a line drive struck his right knee.

"We're not looking past anybody. Unfortunately we don't have Jonathan Meyer until maybe the tail end of the tournament, if we're able to keep on playing," Leggett said.

Sacred Heart is scheduled to start sophomore right-hander Troy Scribner, who is 9-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 92 2/3 innings.

"The kid's got some experience on the mound," Leggett said. "He's won seven in a row. He's got to be feeling good about himself. We've got to respect that."

Like Pioneers head coach Nick Giaquinto, Leggett has coached college ball in New England, so he also respects the challenges that come with playing in that part of the country.

"They've got three or four guys that run the bases really well," Leggett said. "Other than that, I think that they're a team that's probably very well coached, because they spend a lot of time indoors, early in the season in confined areas.

"I've coached in arenas like that. Normally, those kids are smart, knowledgeable about how to play the game. They know how to play the small ball game."

FRIDAY NIGHT'S ALL AMERICAN: Among the advantages that will be working Clemson's favor on Friday night is the presence of All-American shortstop Brad Miller. On Thursday, the ACC Player of the Year was named an All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Clemson hasn't had a first-team All-American since Tyler Colvin and Andy D'Alessio received the honor in 2006.

"It's an honor to bring something like that to Clemson, to kind of build off the tradition that was established here," Miller said. "It's an honor to represent Clemson like that."

He leads the ACC in batting average (.419) and on-base percentage (.523) and also has five home runs, 46 RBI and 21 stolen bases.

"That's the kind of player--the ACC Player of the Year and an All-American--that we thought he was when we recruited him a while back," Leggett said. "He's matured and developed that way, both mentally and physically."

CRANKING UP THE HEAT: With weekend highs expected in the mid to upper 90's, heat could play a factor, particularly in the 3 p.m. games.

For Miller, "This is perfect weather to play in. It's baseball weather."

Surely, for Coastal Carolina, the weather's just fine.

For the two Connecticut-based teams, Sacred Heart and UConn, maybe not so much .

UConn head coach Jim Penders doesn't see it as an issue.

"We played in really hot weather last week," he said. "I think we learned from it…we're not going to use the elements as an excuse. I feel like we got accustomed to it, not only [Thursday], but in the afternoon [Wednesday]."

Much like last year's Super Regional against Alabama, Leggett believes heat is a potential factor in how long starting pitchers are able to work.

"If you can get a good quality start, six [or] seven innings out of a guy, in this heat, you're probably doing good," he said. "If you're going seven or eight, then you're doing real good."

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