Leggett Rips Team, Tigers Respond

CLEMSON – Coming off a three-game sweep to Virginia over the weekend, Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett confronted his team prior to Monday's practice to let his players know in no uncertain terms that their play was unacceptable and that he wasn't going to tolerate it.

By all accounts, his lambasting of the team was much harsher than the two major ones he had last year. And considering the extremely high expectations with the Tigers, it's easy to understand why Leggett's tongue-lashing was much more intense.

"What happened in Virginia wasn't our style," Leggett said. "We've got to be tougher than the other team. Hopefully we got that straightened out. We had been playing good baseball before that, but we got out of our element a little bit. You have to be tough and I didn't think we were."

Everything that Leggett wants and expects to see out of his club was on display when Clemson took to the field and left with a 5-3 victory over Elon Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

"It was a lot worse this time," said center fielder Brad Chalk, who started a four-run rally in the third inning with a two-out hit. "But everyone knew we deserved it. He wasn't happy with our play and he shouldn't have been. We weren't happy either."

The Tigers (12-6) got seven hits with two strikes and scored all five of their runs with two outs. Leggett mentioned timely hitting as an aspect of being "tough." "Clutch hitting is a big thing whenever you play," said Clemson shortstop Stan Widmann, who went 2-for-4.

The biggest two-out blow came from first baseman Andy D'Alessio, who cranked a three-run shot over the wall in right-center field in the third inning to stake the Tigers to a 4-1 lead.

Other than an error in the first inning, Clemson played stellar defense, which was highlighted by a diving catch by right fielder D.J. Mitchell, who played in place of Travis Storrer, who has what is being described as a groin injury. Doctors will examine him more thoroughly Wednesday.

Mitchell's catch over his left shoulder saved at least one run and maybe more.

That's the toughness Leggett expects.

"You've got to play defense all the time," Leggett said. "That's not negotiable."

Pitching wise, freshman Ryan Hinson turned in the exact type of performance the Tigers needed. He pitched the final five innings, allowing just two hits and one run to pick up the first win of his career.

Leggett considers great relief pitching a sign of toughness.

Apparently, all his points were taken to heart.

"Sometimes you have to shake things up," Leggett said. "It's not a personal thing. Coaches have to coach and players have to play."

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