Tigers find themselves in familiar situation

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Clemson Tigers have been here before. Now the question is can they do it again?

Tonight's second game of the Tempe (Ariz.) Regional will be the Tigers' fourth elimination game in this year's NCAA Tournament. Clemson fought off elimination three times in last week's Clemson Regional to advance to the super regional round.

"We have been in this situation before," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We lost the second ballgame of the regional. We have to collect ourselves. This is a three game series. This is just one game."

The Tigers won the Clemson Regional by beating Oklahoma State in back-to-back days, which is the same road that is laid out for them now after losing Game 1 on Saturday.

"We have a challenge ahead of us," Leggett said.

But history doesn't favor the Tigers' chances of moving on. Since the Super Regional format came into play in 1999, the Tigers have gone on the road to play in a super regional four other previous times and all four times their season came to end there.

In fact, Clemson is just 1-4 in road elimination games in the Super Regional format.

But Clemson designated hitter Chris Epps says the Tigers can't worry about what happened last week or 10 years ago, all they can do is focus on the now, and that is Game 2 tonight.

"What happened last week was last week," he said. "This is a new week and we have to approach it like that. We are down by one (game), so now it is time to go get it."

Recent history doesn't favor Arizona State either. After winning the first game to Fresno State in last year's Tempe Super Regional, the Sun Devils (48-12) dropped the next two games and then watched the Bulldogs win the national championship at the College World Series.

ASU would love nothing more than to finish Clemson off tonight so what happened last year doesn't haunt the team again.

"You have to win two out of three," Sun Devils' head coach Pat Murphy said. "It doesn't matter which one you lose or which ones you win. If you win two of them, you go to the next round."


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