Thursday, June 2, 2005
Updated: June 5, 11:01 PM ET
Tigers roll into super regionals
By Will Kimmey
1. Clemson (39-21) -- at-large berth, second in ACC, 31st NCAA tournament, 19th consecutive appearance
2. College of Charleston (47-13) -- at-large berth, won Southern Conference regular season, second NCAA tournament, second consecutive appearance
3. Oral Roberts (40-18) -- automatic berth, won Mid-Continent regular season and tournament, 17th NCAA tournament, eighth consecutive appearance
4. North Carolina A&T (27-25) -- automatic berth, won Mid-Eastern regular season and tournament, first NCAA tournament
Clemson Regional schedule
At Doug Kingsmore Stadium
Friday, June 3
Game 1 -- College of Charleston 5, Oral Roberts 2
Game 2 -- Clemson 12, North Carolina A&T 2
Saturday, June 4
Game 3 -- Oral Roberts 6, North Carolina A&T 3, North Carolina A&T eliminated
Game 4 -- Clemson 6, College of Charleston 0
Sunday, June 5
Game 5 -- Oral Roberts 6, College of Charleston 0, College of Charleston eliminated
Game 6 -- Clemson 8, Oral Roberts 3, Oral Roberts eliminated
Clemson (42-21) advances to super regionals
Players To Watch
Clemson freshman Taylor Harbin (.360-10-60) and Charleston sophomore Chris Campbell (.388-14-85) produce the kind of power at second base most recall from Jeff Kent during his Giants days. Both No. 3 hitters apparently like standing near their position on the basepaths as well, as Harbin smacked 28 doubles while Campbell hit 21 of his own.
Clemson finished the regular season with nine straight wins, including one against Charleston and a sweep of Miami, before losing twice to Virginia in the ACC tournament. Harbin and junior DH Kris Harvey, who led the ACC with 22 home runs, form a punishing duo in the middle of the Tigers order and are two of the team's five batters with averages of .341 or better. First baseman Andy D'Alessio's 14 homers ranked third in the ACC. The pitching staff doesn't feature overwhelming power arms, but doesn't give anything away. Top right-handers Stephen Faris (6-4, 2.55) and Josh Cribb (7-4, 3.53) combined for just 43 walks.
On The Other Hand
College of Charleston coach John Pawlowski pitched and coached for Jack Leggett at Clemson. His Cougars lead the nation with an almost comical .364 team average and rank fourth by scoring 9.1 runs per game. Speedy senior outfielders Brett Gardner (.456, 36 steals) and Philip Coker (.397, 23 steals) set the table with on-base percentages above .500 before Campbell and D.J. Wabick (.659 slugging, 66 RBI) bring them home. Closer Brett Harker (14 saves) locks down wins for a staff that minimizes baserunners as effectively as its offense creates them with his 57-8 strikeout-walk ratio.
This Oral Roberts club isn't as strong as the one that battled Texas in the Austin regional last year, but it fits this category well after taking a game at Baylor and two of four at Miami this year. Its strength lies in pitching depth; it posted a 2.88 overall ERA after allowing 34 earned runs in 24 conference games. Senior right-hander/DH Dennis Bigley won the Mid-Con player and pitcher of the year award for the second straight season. He went 11-3, 1.47 on the mound and posted a 33-inning scoreless streak while becoming the 25th pitcher in Division I history to notch 40 career wins. Senior shortstop Michael Holliman, a Texas transfer, paced the league with 13 homers and 64 runs.
Don't Forget About Us
North Carolina A&T might be in over its head in its first NCAA appearance. Still, it boasts one of the tournament's most inspirational stories in senior reliever Clint Summers. He suffered a brain hemorrhage in April, and hasn't been cleared for a return to action, but is still helping the team by serving as the bullpen coach. Aggies coach Keith Shumate also sent Summers to the field to accept the team's MEAC championship trophy.
Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.