Tigers Win on Emotional Night

CLEMSON – Unfortunately for the Clemson baseball team, it choose to play one of its best games of the season in its final home appearance for 2008. If the Tigers had played this way all year, things might have been dramatically different.

No one exemplified that more that shortstop Stan Widmann, who hit two home runs and drove in five RBI to lead help lead Clemson to the 12-6 victory over College of Charleston Tuesday night at a semi-full Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The two blasts by the junior shortstop were his first two of the season. Also, the five RBI were a career high. He'd never had more than three in a game.

"I'm just happy to see that I'm hit the ball hard," Widmann said. "It's improvement and I'm just trying to help US win games."

Making the point even more about coming on strong at the end was left fielder Jeff Schaus, a freshman, who also hit his first home run of the year for the Tigers.

But the question is will this all be for naught?

Clemson (27-25-1) is still not assured a spot in the ACC Tournament. And what's worse is it doesn't control its own destiny.

What happens to the Tigers depends on what happens between Duke and Virginia Tech. The two teams begin a three-game series Thursday in Blacksburg, Va., and if the Blue Devils win three games, they go to the ACC Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., and Clemson stays home.

However, anything less than three wins by Duke and the Tigers are in.

"Hopefully Virginia Tech will win a couple," Widmann said. "Duke really doesn't deserve, after what they've done (during the controversial tie game), to be there."

And for a competitor like Clemson coach Jack Leggett, not having control of the situation is what's most stressful. It'd be different if the future of the Tigers lied in their own hands.

"We've had our chances to control our own destiny throughout the course of the ACC season," Leggett said. "Hopefully we'll get a chance and I think we deserve a chance."

The fact that Clemson doesn't even know if it's getting into the league tournament doesn't bode well for the national tournament, either.

The Tigers are nine games under .500 in the ACC and eight teams from one conference very rarely get invitations to the NCAA Tournament.

"The top three teams in the country our in the ACC," Leggett said. "We have the nation's number one strength of schedule and I would hope that there'd be seven teams in the conference (make the NCAA Tournament) at least. But we'll see about that."

And that's why what transpired Tuesday night more than likely will be too little, too late, which could mean Clemson will miss its first national tournament since 1986.

"It seems real strange (that we're talking about not making the tournament)," Leggett said. "We've got a lot of tradition and success. But it is what it is. It's reality now and we've just got to deal with it."

NOTES: Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring Mary-Louise Pawlowski took place where the Clemson baseball team made a donation of $15,000 to her to help her pay for her battle with cancer.

Pawlowski, 13, is the daughter of College of Charleston head coach John Pawlowski, who is also a former player and assistant coach at Clemson.

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