Chalk Previews Clemson Regional

The returning players from last year's Clemson baseball team clearly remember how the 2004 season ended. And even true freshman Brad Chalk, who attended last year's final game in Athens, GA, says he's using what happened last year as motivation this season.

It seems like all year this team has been considered the underdog, and now maybe for the first time in a long time, most people think you should win this upcoming regional. Is that the mindset on this team right now?
Chalk: I don't think that being the favorite really changes anything at all. The bottom line is that when it comes to playing in the playoffs like this, everybody has to be at the top of their game. And that goes for who we're playing, it could be any team, it doesn't matter who it is. Right now it's the best 64 teams in the country and everybody that is left has some kind of momentum. You have to watch out for that. Baseball is a crazy game. Anybody can win on any given day.

How big is it that you guys are playing at home for this regional?
Chalk: It's really important. I think the statistics show that it's important. At the same time, playing in front of the home fans out here should give us some momentum. Plus, you are comfortable. Just being at home, at the park we know, so that helps.

What have you seen out of N.C. A&T? What kind of problems will they present you?
Chalk: We know they are really athletic and that they have good team speed. They also have a really good pitcher that we are facing on Friday. He has over 120 strikeouts with only 20 something walks. He's been amazing for them this year.

You won 11 out of 13 games at the end of the year and then you won two games and lost two at the ACC Tournament in Jacksonville. Does this team still have the momentum that you had at the end of the regular season, or was that lost a little bit at the tournament last week?
Chalk: No, I think we still have it. The main thing is that we are still playing our best baseball right now. Everyone is just focused right now.

Is there anything you can compare the atmosphere to that you are expecting at Doug Kingsmore Stadium this weekend?
Chalk: That's tough. You can't really compare it to what I've seen in the state playoffs in high school because I'm expecting 6,000+ fans out there this weekend. At the same time, it's win or go home and I've felt that before at other levels. Right now, you are playing for all the marbles.

Looking back to last year at this time, this team was only a few outs away from advancing out of the Athens regional against Georgia. Do you think the way things ended in that final game create more of a desire to win this regional at home this weekend?
Chalk: I think so. I think that everybody that was here last year understands that you can't let up on anybody at anytime. I was there watching what happened that day. Anything can can close your eyes and you get three homeruns like what happened at Georgia. It's good for us to be back on the national picture right now though. It's good for us to be getting a regional back here. This is where it needs to be. We've got great facilities and great fans here, and a great team, obviously. This is where it needs to be. Top Stories