Clark Gets the Call

OMAHA, Neb. – A little over a month ago, Sean Clark was more or less a nobody in terms of importance on the Clemson roster. Now, he's the starting pitcher in the first game of the College World Series.

After much deliberation, Tigers coach Jack Leggett decided Thursday afternoon that the red-shirt junior was the team's best option.

"The reason it was a tough decision is because we have three kids with nine wins and they've been sort of stuck there," Leggett said. "He's somebody that they haven't seen and looking to give them some kind of adjustment. But he still has to go out there and pitch."

Clark, who has allowed just two runs over his last 20 innings pitched, said he's not nervous and ready to take the hill.

"It will be exciting and for to represent us," he said. "But it doesn't matter who gets that first start. We're ready to go."

The other options Leggett was considering were Steven Faris and P.J. Zocchi. Faris has had some recent success against the Yellow Jackets, while Zocchi is a lot like Clark, someone who has been pitching well and Tech isn't familiar with.

Yellow Jackets coach Danny Hall said it doesn't matter who Clemson starts.

"We've played them six times," he said. "Between us there isn't much we don't know about the other. … We've obviously seen him on tape. We've never seen him in person, so obviously there will be some adjustment. The game doesn't change. He still has to throw across the dish."

And that's not going to be an easy task, regardless of who pitched for the Tigers. Georgia Tech is absolutely ferocious on offense.

The Yellow Jackets have five players who have reached double digit home runs – Whit Robbins (13), Wes Hodges (11), Jeff Kindel (13), Danny Payne (11) and Matt Wieters (14). It's the first time they have done this since the NCAA adopted the current bat rules in 1999.

Moreover, Georgia Tech has hit 88 home runs this year, the most of any team in the College World Series. That would account for its .501 slugging percentage.

"They have as strong an offensive team as I've seen in a long, long time," Leggett said. "At this time of year, there isn't a No. 1 favorite. Every team here has been playing good baseball. You dealing with the hottest teams in baseball." Top Stories