Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCAA Baseball [Print without images]

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Clemson Regional: UConn 7, Clemson 6


CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson has played in an NCAA baseball regional in 17 of coach Jack Leggett's 18 seasons at the school, advancing to the College World Series six times under his watch.

Connecticut played in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 16 years last season, losing two of three games in a regional in its own state.

But on Monday night, the No. 2 seeded Huskies will have a chance to eliminate the No. 1 seeded Tigers and advance past the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1979, the last time UConn played in the College World Series.

With the Huskies facing elimination on Sunday, they defeated No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina 12-6 and then upset the Tigers 7-6 in the nightcap in front of a crowd of 4,877 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Huskies beat Clemson on third baseman Ryan Fuller's RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, which scored second baseman L.J. Mazzilli from second base. UConn erased a 4-1 deficit earlier in the game, and then lost a 6-4 lead in the top of the ninth.

"I think everybody in the dugout is just all in," Fuller said. "We're just going to put it all on the line. We definitely have momentum and there's no place we'd rather be than on the road to Omaha."

It looked like the Huskies' postseason road wouldn't make it past Clemson on Friday night, after they were blasted by Coastal Carolina 13-1 in their opening game. UConn ace Matt Barnes, who is projected as a potential top-10 pick in Monday's amateur draft, was shelled by the Chanticleers, allowing nine hits and seven runs in 4.1 innings.

But the Huskies, who won their first Big East regular-season championship this season, defeated Sacred Heart 13-3 in an elimination game on Saturday and then won twice more on Sunday.

"I couldn't be more proud of the way we fought and scratched and clawed," UConn coach Jim Penders said. "That's a memorable win not only for our team but our program."

Facing a winner-take-all game is familiar territory for Clemson, which faced the same scenario in the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. The Tigers defeated Oklahoma State 6-5 in a final game at home in 2009 and Auburn 13-7 on the road last season.

"We've just got to be ready to play tomorrow," Leggett said. "We've been in this position the last couple of years, so we're used to it. It's something we'll be ready for."

The Huskies will be ready, too.

"You definitely throw everything out," Fuller said. "We're finally playing UConn baseball. We're putting everything on the line and having fun."