Plenty of work to do in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. – Jack Leggett has never just been happy to be here.

"I can't really tell you that I've ever thought that," he said. "I always think about winning every game."

However, there was a time, early in Leggett's career as head coach of the Clemson baseball team when getting to Omaha was a relief.

"I can probably remember the first time we came out here…you get the monkey off your back," Leggett said. "Your team made it to Omaha. You made the statement for your program and for your team."

That kind of thing is to be expected when you follow a legend like Bill Wilhelm, who'd won 1,161 games over a 36-year coaching career at Clemson.

The 2010 visit is trip No. 6 to Omaha for the College World Series by a Leggett led Clemson team. And experience breeds confidence for Leggett, whose Tigers enter with a 43-23 record.

"I think the more times you come out here it becomes more about figuring out a way to win every ball game and compete for a national championship," he said.

Clemson is 10-22 all-time in the College World Series (Leggett is 6-10). The Tigers have only won two games in an appearance only twice (1996, 02). In both seasons, the Tigers finished tied for third.

On Sunday, Clemson will play Pac-10 champion Arizona State.

Fans catch a ball beyond the reach of Clemson's Chris Epps, during team practice at Rosenblatt Stadium. (AP)
"We're playing well lately," Leggett said. "Hopefully we will keep it up in this tournament."

Casey Harman, who's 7-3 with a 3.73 ERA, will start against the Sun Devils.

"He's getting better and better every time out. He's got some experience, some savvy about him, and some ability to make adjustments as the game goes on. He's very competitive. He's a strike thrower and doesn't hurt himself very many times," Leggett said. "Against this Arizona State team, he's going to have to be very sharp."

As a team, Arizona State is hitting .338 with a .539 slugging percentage and .436 on-base percentage.

The Sun Devils have stolen 134 bases, which is eighth-most in the nation. The 37 triples are best in the country this season.

Seth Blair will get the start for Arizona State with his 3.35 ERA over 102 innings this season.

"He throws 92-93 with a good slider. He'll double up with the sliders," Leggett said. "He learned from some really good pitchers last year, (Mike) Leake. He knows how to be a number one. He's got a strong team behind him that hasn't lost very many games."

Clemson had a first-hand taste of Arizona State last season when the Tigers were eliminated from the 2009 NCAA Tournament in Tempe, Ariz.

"We were in some tough games against them last year in the Super Regional," said Kyle Parker, who leads Clemson with 20 homeruns and is second on the team with a .353 batting average.

"We are going to have to play well and put together a good, consistent game to win because they're a good team." Top Stories