Tigers Turn Focus Towards Georgia Tech

CLEMSON – While it will never match the pure hatred of South Carolina, the battles between the Clemson and Georgia Tech baseball teams have spurned quite the rivalry. So much so, that the Tiger players say it's their biggest rival in the ACC.

Thus, it's only fitting that since the two teams have split their previous six meetings that they meet up in the first game of the College World Series Friday in Omaha, Neb.

"I think both teams have gotten their big wins (against the other) out of the way," said Clemson senior and designated hitter Herman Demmink. "Now, it's going to be a challenge for both of us."

The intenseness has been brewing between the sides for a while, which will happen when two top-notch programs are within close proximity to one another and play tight games.

"It's been a pretty intense rivalry over the past couple of years," said Tigers sophomore second baseman Taylor Harbin.

But with the six meetings this year, it has gone to a whole new level, as has the trash talking.

"They talk a lot," said Clemson starting pitcher and senior Josh Cribb. "I think the emotions take over. I think that's the fun part about this as long as you don't let it get to you or inside your head.

"At times it can be bitter, but at the same time, we know a lot of their guys. And they know they can beat us and that we can beat them."

Berken's Bruised
As first reported on CUTigers.com, Tigers starting pitcher Jason Berken sustained a broken nose and mild concussion during a collision at first base with an Oral Roberts batter in the second inning Friday.

Berken, who has a left black eye, said he cracked a bone on the right side of his nose, where it meets the cheek. He also said the runner's cleats scrapped down his shin bone, while also getting kicked in the head.

"The next day, I was pretty sore," he said. "When it happened, the first time I go up, I was dizzy. Then I got up again and was just trying to collect my thoughts."

Berken said he feels fine and that he'll be able to pitch without any lingering effects. However, he said that almost wasn't the case.

"When we won on Saturday, I jumped in the middle of the dog pile," he said. "The first thing that happened was I took an elbow to the same side of my head."

He's hoping that the bad luck that has plagued him during three of his past four starts is over.

"They say bad luck comes in threes," Berken said. "I've had two rainouts and a broke face. It's been real bad luck for me. Hopefully, that's over with and things go a lot better in Omaha. But as long as we're winning, that's all that matters."

There's no word yet as to whom Clemson coach Jack Leggett will select to throw the first game Friday. It appears there's a four-way battle for the starting gig – Cribb, Berken, Stephen Faris and Sean Clark.

Since the Yellow Jackets haven't faced Clark, he's become a viable option, Tigers pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan said.

An announcement of the selection will likely come Wednesday.

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