Offensive explosion ignites Tigers

CLEMSON - breaks down the key players and moments from Saturday night's 12-7 NCAA Regional win over Coastal Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

HITTER OF THE GAME- CLEMSON - RICHIE SHAFFER: Shaffer bounced back from an 0 for 3 outing against Sacred Heart with a big night, going 3 for 4 with a home run and four RBI.

"I think it's just getting into crunch time and having a full season of at-bats behind you," Shaffer said. "I know, just having a full year of making adjustments, really picking up on patterns, things that I need to do pitch to pitch.

"I think, with everyone swinging well, hitting is contagious. You‘ve got a lot of confidence going up to the plate when everyone else is successful, too."

PITCHER OF THE GAME - CLEMSON - DAVID HASELDEN: In relief of starter Dominic Leone, Haselden (6-1) gave up five hits in four innings of work. The two runs that Haselden allowed both came in the ninth.

"Dominic battled. He didn't have his best stuff, but he battled," said Clemson head coach Jack Leggett. "They hit the ball pretty well today, Coastal Carolina did. I thought David Haselden came in and gave us a good lift when we brought him into relief."

Leggett said Haselden has been steady in long relief throughout the season.

"He'll give us three or four innings, settle things down, throw strikes. He's kind of settled into that role," Leggett said. "It's a good role for you. He's given us some good innings. Today he was throwing strikes. He was showing some more breaking ball than maybe what we were doing in the middle of the game. That helped us out a little bit, I think."

PLAYER OF THE GAME - COASTAL CAROLINA - TOMMY LA STELLA: The Big South Conference Player of the Year went 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI. La Stella, a junior, was a triple away from batting for the cycle.

PLAY OF THE GAME: With runners at first and second and no outs in the bottom of the third, Taylor Motter popped out on a bunt in front of home plate to Spencer Kieboom. Kieboom then gunned down Daniel Bowman before he was able to get back to first base safely.

The double-play put the brakes on Coastal Carolina's two-run rally, which included a pair of errors by Hinson.

Clemson exited the inning with the lead still intact at 6-4.

"If we get that bunt down and don't even get a hit, but a long fly ball it is a 6-5 ballgame, instead of 6-4," said Coastal Carolina head coach Gary Gilmore.

"Even from that point on, all you can do as a coach, and the kids will tell you this, all I can do is put them out there and give them opportunities. They can make you look like a million dollars at times. Sometimes it doesn't work that way."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Not that they're not very good--them being so good tonight--we were that bad. That's it in a nutshell. It's a combination of the two. Pretty much anytime a team gets 15, 16 hits on you, it's a combination of them being good and us not being very good." -Gilmore

WHERE THE GAME TURNED: With one out and runners on first and second in the fifth, Haselden was brought on in relief of Leone who'd given up three-straight singles after striking out the first batter of the inning.

Taylor Motter bounced to Hinson, who stepped on third then threw across the diamond to first for the final out of the inning.

"That was a big double-play at that time," Leggett said.

WHAT'S NEXT? Clemson is now just a win away from advancing to the Super Regional round of the tournament.

No. 3-seed Coastal Carolina will play No. 2-seed UConn at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The winner will advance to play Clemson at 7 p.m.

"It definitely always feels better to be in the winner's bracket," Hinson said "Whoever wins the morning game tomorrow has to play us right after. That's going to be tough, especially with weather conditions. "We're a good team, whoever we're playing tomorrow is going to have a long day. We're just fortunate to be in the winners bracket. We're playing well. Hopefully we'll win tomorrow."

If the Tigers lose on Sunday, they'd play an elimination game on Monday night at 7 p.m.

Like Friday night, Clemson used just three pitchers on Saturday.

"David did a nice job for us, got us out of [the fifth] inning. He settled things down for a few innings after that," Leggett said. "He allowed us to get our confidence going again, get our rhythm back, get that four-run inning. That kind of distanced thing well enough for us. It was a good team effort."

Justin Sarratt is scheduled to start on Sunday. Top Stories