Clemson (38-20) received a #2 seed at the Auburn Regional to be played May 30th to June 1st at Plainsman Park. The Tigers will open against #3-seed Ohio State (41-19) Friday at 3:30 PM ET. Top-seed and host Auburn (40-19) will play Princeton (27-21) Friday at 7:30 PM ET.
The two losers will play Saturday at 12:30 PM EDT, while the two winners will play Saturday at 4:00 PM EDT. The winner of the second game Saturday will play in the championship round Sunday at 2:30 PM EDT, while the loser of the second game Saturday will play the winner of the first game Saturday at 7:30 PM EDT.
If the unbeaten team loses Sunday, there will be another game at 6:00 PM EDT to determine the regional champion. The winner of the Auburn Regional will play the winner of the Lincoln (NE) Regional from June 6-8 at a site to be determined.
Comparison of Auburn Regional Teams
The 2003 season marks Clemson's 29th trip to an NCAA Regional 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 a Yale team, led by future President George Bush, defeated the Tigers in New Haven, CT, 7-3. Bush was 1-for-3 as the starting first baseman.
Clemson made its first trip to 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 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 the CWS in 1959, this time with three easy wins; one over Georgia Tech and two over Florida State. One of the wins over the Seminoles was a 24-2 victory in 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.
The Tigers have been to the NCAA Tourney every year since 1987, making College World Series trips in 1991, 1995, 1996, 2000, and 2002. Clemson's streak of 17 consecutive regionals is the third-longest active streak in the nation behind Miami (FL) 31 and Florida State (26). Clemson's streak is also fifth-longest in college baseball history.
Overall, Clemson has been to a regional in 29 seasons (including 2003), sixth-best all-time. Clemson's all-time record in NCAA play is 80-60, a .571 winning percentage.
Clemson is 35-20 (.636) under Jack Leggett in NCAA Tournament play, including a 24-5 record in home NCAA Tournament games. Leggett has taken Clemson to a Regional all 10 years he has been Clemson's head coach, and the Tigers have advanced to the College World Series four times. Leggett has taken Clemson to the Super Regional each of the four years that format has been in existence. Clemson is one of six teams nationally to go to four-straight Super Regionals.
Clemson's College World Series Seasons
|Clinch Win vs.||CWS|
|Florida State, 5-0||1-2|
|Miami (FL), 10-9||1-2|
|South Carolina, 17-12||0-2|
|Mississippi State, 9-4||1-2|
Clemson's 21-1 win over East Carolina last year marked the fourth-consecutive year that Clemson advanced to at least the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament, which expanded from a 48- to 64-team field prior to the 1999 season. The expansion created the Super Regional Round, which pits the winners of 16 sub-regionals with the victors there advancing to the College World Series.
The Tigers won the Fayetteville (AR) Regional in 1999 to advance to the Super Regional at Texas A&M. In 2000, the Tigers won the Clemson Regional and advanced to play host to Mississippi State in the Super Regional. In 2001, the Tigers won the Clemson Regional and lost to eventual national champion Miami (FL) in the Coral Gables Super Regional. Clemson is one of just six schools to appear in all four Super Regional rounds, joined by Florida State, Louisiana State, Miami (FL), Southern California, and Stanford, who all appeared in a Super Regional in 2002.
Tiger NCAA Marks Held by Current Tigers
Three Tigers hold school records in the NCAA Tournament. Michael Johnson's six RBIs in a game against Seton Hall in 2001 is tied for the most in a single-game. Johnson also has nine career homers, most by a Tiger. He also has hit 13 career postseason homers. Last season, Zane Green his six homers in 10 NCAA Tournament games, setting a new Tiger mark. Ironically, those are the only six homers of his career in 151 career games. Righthander Patrick Hogan also made five relief appearances in last season's tourney, tying the Clemson mark.
Clemson's 2003 season got started on a late February weekend, off all places...Auburn. Now Clemson will take on the regional challenge at the same venue. The Tigers are making their 29th career regional appearance, and only once have they ever played a regional at the same location where they played a game during the regular season.
In 1976, Clemson played a home-and-home series with rival South Carolina, as each team won on its home field. In the NCAA Tournament at Columbia, SC, The Tigers went 4-0, including a victory over the Gamecocks, to advance to the College World Series.
Tigers Opened Season at Auburn
Clemson opened the 2003 season with three games at Auburn from February 22-23. Auburn won the first game behind a pitching gem from lefthander Arnold Hughey and Cory Dueitt. They combined to allow just two hits and one run in an 8-1 win. Clemson responded in game two with an 11-8 win. Michael Johnson hit his first homer of the season and Tyler Lumsden pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just one earned run. In the rubber matchup, Josh Bell and Chuck Jeroloman each had three hits to lead the SEC Tigers to a 7-3 win. Johnson did hit his second homer of the year in the series finale.
Despite the two-hit performance in game one, Clemson his .272 in the series, led by Garrick Evans' seven hits. Evans, who has come on strong of late, was the Tigers' leadoff batter when the season began. Johnson also hit the only two homers of the series. Clemson committed just three errors as well.
Scouting #1-Seed Auburn
Top-seeded Auburn (40-19) enters regional play after playing a tough SEC schedule, in which it finished 18-12. The Tigers, who are 23-10 at home, also were 2-2 in the SEC Tournament. Auburn will be making its seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 16th overall.
Auburn leads the 83-game all-time series 42-38-3 dating back to the first contest in 1901. Ironically, the legendary John Heisman, who was also a football on the Plains, coached his first two games as Clemson's head baseball coach against Auburn (both victories) in the 1901 season. He also defeated Auburn in 1903 and was 3-0 against the Tigers from Alabama.
Despite the four-game lead for Auburn, Clemson has won 13 of the last 16 meetings. Clemson last visited Auburn to open the 2003 season and won once in three games. Auburn handed Clemson an 11-5 loss in the 1994 NCAA East Regional at Clemson, propelling the SEC Tigers to the College World Series. Clemson is 5-3 against Auburn in postseason play. Clemson swept Auburn in three games last year to open the season by scores of 7-4, 8-5, and 6-5.
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett is 5-3 against Auburn as the Tiger skipper. Leggett, in his 10th season as Clemson's head coach, is 57-29 (.663) against SEC teams at Clemson, including an 20-17 record on opponents' home field. Leggett was 6-12 against Auburn as Western Carolina's coach.
Auburn, led by third-year Head Coach Steve Renfroe, is hitting .304 as a team, led by Tug Hulett, who is hitting .373. Bobby Huddleston has a team-best 12 homers and 61 RBIs, while Karl Amonite has 10 homers and 51 RBIs. Auburn sports a .969 fielding percentage and 4.27 team ERA, led by Levale Speigner. The righthanded setup man has a 9-0 record and 2.72 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched. Closer Steven Register has recorded 15 saves and 53 strikeouts against only six walks. Auburn also has an outstanding 2.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Outfielder Javon Moran was a high-school teammate of Clemson outfielder Zane Green and Lowndes (GA) High School as well.
Scouting #2-Seed Clemson
Clemson enters the Auburn Regional with a 38-20 overall record and a 15-9 ACC regular-season record. Clemson was 13-11 against 2003 NCAA Tournament teams during the regular season. The Tigers, who are 11-14 away from home, is making their 17th-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 29th overall.
Clemson, led by 10th-year Head Coach Jack Leggett, is hitting .311 as a team, led by third-baseman Brad McCann. McCann, a Second-Team All-ACC pick, is hitting .351 with a team-best 66 RBIs. He is also on a current 17-game hitting streak. David Slevin is also riding a current 20-game hitting streak. Michael Johnson has a team-high 12 homers and needs just one more to tie the Clemson career record of 59 (Jeff Baker, 2000-02).
Clemson's most consistent pitcher has been freshman righthander Jason Berken (4-2, 3.09 ERA). The native of Green Bay, WI has only allowed one homer in 58.1 innings pitched. Tyler Lumsden (8) and Steven Jackson (7) have provided for 15 wins as well. Clemson sports a 4.02 ERA and .970 fielding percentage.
Earlier this season, Garrick Evans had seven hits in the final two games at Auburn and has a team-best .412 batting average against the Tigers. Johnson also has three career homers, including two at Plainsman Park in February.
Scouting #3-Seed Ohio State
Third-seeded Ohio State (41-19) enters the regional after winning the Big Ten Tournament title. The Buckeyes were also 20-12 in conference play and are 19-14 in games away from home. Ohio State is making its 16th NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth in the last five seasons.
Clemson leads the 14-game all-time series 10-4 dating back to the first game in 1954. The last 12 meetings between the two have come at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. It will be the first meeting between the two in the postseason. Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett is 2-2 against Ohio State, with all four meeting while Leggett was at Western Carolina (1983-91).
Ohio State, led by 16th-year Head Coach Bob Todd, have won 28 of its last 37 games and has scored 40 runs in its last three games. Christian Snavely, a First-Team All-Big Ten selection, leads the team in batting average (.344), homers (15), and RBIs (51). The Buckeyes are hitting .294 and have a 3.84 team ERA to go along with a .962 fielding percentage.
Ohio State is without all-everything lefthander Scott Lewis (9-1, 1.61 ERA), who tore his ulnar collateral ligament on May 16 and will undergo surgery in Birmingham, AL May 29. Josh Newman, another lefty, is 7-5 with a 3.78 ERA, while Matt Davis has 11 saves. The Buckeyes have only allowed 135 walks in 60 games. Former Clemson Baseball SID Todd Lamb (2000,01) is now the baseball SID at Ohio State.
Scouting #4-Seed Princeton
Fourth-seeded Princeton (27-21) enters the regional after winning the Ivy League championship with a 15-5 record. The Tigers took two of three games from Harvard to claim the title. Princeton, who played its first game in 1864, will be making its eighth trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Clemson defeated Princeton 13-5 in the only previous meeting. That game took place in Orono, ME in 1991 in the Northeast Regional.
Princeton, led sixth-year Head Coach and 1982 North Carolina graduate Scott Bradley, is hitting .266 as a team, led by Jon Miller. Miller has a .346 batting average and team-best 32 RBIs. Tim Lahey has hit 11 of the team's 28 homers. Princeton sports a 4.94 ERA and .960 fielding percentage. Thomas Pauly has a team-best 6-1 record, 1.25 ERA, and six saves. In 50.1 innings pitched, he has allowed just 30 hits while striking out 73.
One of Clemson's most notable streaks is within reach entering the Auburn Regional. Clemson, who is 38-20 this year, has won at least 40 games for 17 straight years.
Thanks to its bid this year, Clemson has now participated in the NCAA Tournament for 17 consecutive years. Only Miami (FL) (31) and Florida State (26) hold longer current NCAA Tourney streaks.
Entire Infield Named to All-ACC Team
Michael Johnson was one of four Tiger infielders tabbed to the 2003 All-ACC team voted by the nine conference coaches. Johnson was the first-team selection at first base, while David Slevin (2B), Russell Triplett (SS), and Brad McCann (3B) all garnered second-team honors. Therefore, Clemson had an All-ACC pick at all four infield positions.