Coastal Trip Next Best Thing for Tigers

CLEMSON – If the Clemson baseball team can't host an NCAA Tournament regional, it was awarded the next best thing – playing in a regional in the state of South Carolina.

Clemson (38-21) will start its trek toward a return trip to the College World Series as the No. 2 seed in the Coastal Carolina Regional Friday afternoon. They will face No. 3 seed St. John's (40-17) at noon. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

The No. 1 seed Chanticleers (48-11) will face No. 4 VCU (37-21) at 4 p.m. The game will also be televised on ESPNU.

"We've got to play a tough and scrappy St. John's team and VCU won their tournament and of course, Coastal has been playing great all year long," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We excited about staying in the state and hopefully we'll get some great fans going and people will start picking up some tickets."

Leggett isn't all that familiar yet with St. John's and won't announce his starting pitcher until Thursday, which will give him and his staff enough time to scout the Red Storm.

"We've played teams from up there before, and we know that the city kids and Northern kids are going to play us very tough," Leggett said. "They're going to be competitive and scrappy. … There's not going to be anything easy about it, for sure."

After it was announced on Sunday that the Tigers wouldn't be hosting a regional, many believed they would be headed to Myrtle Beach. So that's why when it was announced Monday where Clemson would be playing, there wasn't a single reaction from any member of the baseball team.

"It wasn't a big surprise to us," shortstop Taylor Harbin said. "We're just happy to be able to be close to home and have our fans behind us and support us."

It wouldn't be at all surprising if the fan base at the Coastal regional had more Clemson fans than Chanticleer fans. Coastal Federal Field might very well be a home away from home for the Tigers.

"One thing great about Clemson is (fans) travel well," first baseman Andy D'Alessio said. "We go down to Miami and we have 200 fans there. It's amazing. It's good that this is South Carolina because there's going to be a lot of fans there helping us out. And we're going to need that because Coastal Carolina is a good ball club."

Should Clemson make it out of the Coastal Regional, it will going against the winner of the Tallahassee Regional, which has No. 1 seed and No. 6 national seed Florida State (47-11), No. 2 Mississippi State (33-20), No. 3 Stetson (41-19) and No. 4 Bethune-Cookman (33-25).

The only way the Tigers won't have to go to Florida State for the Super Regional would be if the Seminoles were upset.

But that's still a ways away. Clemson is just focusing in on this week's games.

"Everyone makes their money in the postseason," D'Alessio said. "Once everyone gets to the tournament, everyone has the same chance. It just depends on what team gets hot and jells together as a unit. That's the team that's going to win it."

At Coastal Federal Field
Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Game 1 -- Clemson (38-21) vs. St. John's (40-17), Noon (ESPNU)
Game 2 -- Coastal Carolina (48-11) vs. VCU (37-21), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

Game 3 -- Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 12:00 p.m.
Game 4 -- Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4:00 p.m.

Game 5 -- Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 12:00 p.m.
Game 6 -- Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 4:00 p.m.

Game 7 -- Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 7:00 p.m., if necessary Top Stories