Clemson (44-20) arrived in Tempe Thursday dressed out in their Sunday's best and then headed over to the Los Angeles Angels spring training facility for a two-hour practice. The Tigers will visit No. 5 national seed Arizona State Saturday in Game 1 of a best-of-three series at 9 p.m. to decide who goes to the College World Series.
It was truly a statement that Clemson came to Tempe with one thing on
their mind — to win.
"Obviously we would like to play (at Clemson), but it is also exciting to
get on a plane and go to a different venue and play a good baseball team
with a rich tradition," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We are going to
take that as a challenge and as an opportunity to succeed and to prove
what we are all about."
Tough at home. The Sun Devils (47-12) are 34-4 at Packard Stadium, and
their .790 winning percentage is the best in the country. Arizona State
has won 14 of its last 15 games.
Pitching clinic. The Tempe (Ariz.) Super Regional will have perhaps the
best pitching matchups of the weekend when Clemson and the Sun Devils
(47-12) go head-to-head.
Arizona State (47-12) leads the nation in earned run average (2.79), while
Clemson ranks fifth nationally with a 3.57 ERA.
"They have some really good pitching and if we pitch like we are capable
of pitching than we are going to have some duels," Leggett said. "But also
the air is little thin out (here) and things could happen. They have the
potential to have a good offensive team and we do to so we just have to
get some pitches and when we do, we have to be ready to hit them.
"That's going to be the key."
Arizona State will more than likely throw junior right-hander Mike Leake
(15-1, 1.23 ERA) in Game 1. He has allowed just 71 hits, two home runs,
and 20 walks with 143 strikeouts this season in 124 innings of work. He
also has pitched seven complete games.
Lefty Josh Spence is 8-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 79.2 innings
pitched over 15 appearances (12 starts). He is likely to start in Game 2
for Arizona State. There is still no official word on who the Tigers will
throw in Game 1. Though there is speculation that it will be either Trey
Delk or Casey Harman.
Tomas Cruz and Matt Vaughn are tied for the team-lead with four saves
apiece for Clemson, while freshman right-hander Scott Weismann is 3-1 with
a 1.23 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched, including three starts.
Tigers arrive in Tempe
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