Clemson Regional: Clemson 12, CCU 7

June, 4, 2011

CLEMSON, S.C. -- After Saturday night's game against No. 1 Clemson in an NCAA baseball tournament regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Coastal Carolina coach Gary Gilmore joked with Tigers coach Jack Leggett on the field.

"I told him I thought moving to his dugout, where he beat my butt so many times, might give me some luck," Gilmore said.

It didn't matter which dugout the No. 2 seed Chanticleers used on Saturday night, as the No. 1 seed Tigers rolled to a 12-7 victory in front of a crowd of 5,408 fans. In the process, the Tigers took control of the Clemson Regional and are now one victory away from advancing to an NCAA Super Regional for the sixth time in seven seasons.

"It definitely always feels better to be playing in the winners' bracket," Clemson third baseman John Hinson said.

The Chanticleers, who used ace Anthony Meo in Friday's 13-1 victory over No. 3 seed Connecticut, will have to beat the Huskies in an elimination game on Sunday and then beat the Tigers twice to advance to a Super Regional.

A day after Meo allowed one run in 6.1 innings for the Chanticleers, they used seven pitchers against Clemson, none of which were very effective.

"We couldn't have text-booked it any better [on Friday]," Gilmore said. "We were in remedial school today. We were terrible. If we pitch like that tomorrow, we'll be on the bus."

The Tigers chased Coastal Carolina starter Keith Hessler after only 1.2 innings, taking a 4-2 lead after two innings. Clemson blew the game open with a four-run eighth and had 14 hits, including three homers.

"I think everybody, from one through nine, was just swinging and swinging at pitches up in the zone," Tigers left fielder Jeff Schaus said. "When those guys made a mistake, we made them pay."

The Tigers came into the NCAA tournament as one of the country's hottest teams, winning 17 of their last 21 games and each of their last six ACC series.

Maybe it's not a coincidence the Tigers switched bats in late April; they're hitting .346 with 17 homers in 20 games since switching to the new models.

Now Clemson is matching its solid pitching with hot hitting.

"I think it's just getting into crunch time and having a full season of at-bats," said Tigers first baseman Richie Shaffer, who went 3-for-4 with four RBI. "Everybody is swinging the bats well and hitting is contagious."

So is good pitching.

Leggett said Justin Sarratt, a right-handed junior, would start against the winner's of Sunday's game between the Chanticleers and Huskies. Sarratt is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA.

With one more victory, the Tigers will move a step closer to reaching the College World Series for the seventh time under Leggett.

The Chanticleers are hoping they'll be standing in the way.

"It's up to [the players]," Gilmore said. "We've done it and a large part of that group is here. A lot of it's not looking at how big the mountain is. It's taking one step and then another step. It's not something that can't be done."



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