By Seigler, Guest Columnist
After failing to secure home field advantage for the upcoming super regional tournament, the Tigers are heading down to Mississippi to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a best of three match up. The first game will be played Friday, June 8th at 11am CST, or 12pm EST, in Starkville, MS with the second game being played Saturday, at 12pm EST. The games will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2 respectively, with the third game being TBA if necessary.
While it is disappointing that the Tigers will be unable to play in Clemson at this year’s super regional, the momentum gained during regional play should help them fare well no matter where they play. The Tigers jumped 8 spots from #13 to #5 in the Collegiate Baseball Division I poll released Wednesday June 6th. The Bulldogs, currently ranked at #17, jumped 10 spots from #27, with Rice taking the top spot as Vanderbilt, the #1 overall tournament seed was knocked out in the regionals.
This is the seventh year total and the third year in a row that the Tigers have reached the super regional in the nine years since the super regional format was instituted. Last year, of course, Clemson entered super regional play against Oral Roberts as the #1 overall tournament seed, taking the first two games and advancing to Omaha and the College World Series.
The Tigers of course, defeated Mississippi State in last years regional play in Clemson, winning the regional tournament. This will be the third straight year the Tigers and Bulldogs have faced off in tournament play. Clemson leads the postseason series 4-0 against the Bulldogs. There is no reason to believe that the unbeaten streak will end this weekend. In the 2000 super regional, the two teams met, with Clemson taking the first two games on their way to Omaha.
Looking at the numbers to date, Clemson has a decided edge in pitching. The Tigers’ staff has posted a 3.65 season ERA , which is more than a run better than the Bulldogs ERA of 4.76. The Bulldogs do hold an edge as far as batting average, hitting .316 as a team against the Tigers .293. The Tigers are also fielding slightly better than the Bulldogs, at .971 to .965.
In Friday’s game the Tigers will send junior left-hander Daniel Moskos to the mound in hopes that he can continue his season success in the postseason. To date, he is 3-5 with a 2.91 season ERA and 6 saves, in 9 starts and 17 relief appearances. Opponents are only hitting .261 against Moskos, who has issued 33 free passes and 74 strikeouts in 74.1 innings pitched. The left hander who is known for his 94+ mph fastball was drafted earlier today by the Pittsburgh Pirates as their first selection of the 2007 MLB amateur draft. He went fourth overall in the draft, and is predicted to be either a closer, or number 3 starter in the majors.
The Bulldogs will counter with sophomore right hander Chad Crosswhite who sports an 8-4 record and 4.16 ERA. Teams are batting .318 against him this season and he has issued 25 walks and 61 strikeouts in 71.1 innings.
The Tigers will be depending on their high powered offense to propel them into the CWS. Team leaders Brad Chalk ( Batting .384, with a .503 OBP) Doug Hogan ( .339, 11 HR, 43 RBI) Marquez Smith (.329, 13 HR, 56 RBI) Andy D’Alessio (16 HR, also named Myrtle Beach regional MVP) and Taylor Harbin ( 11 HR, 59 RBI), will more than likely continue their successes behind strong pitching.
The Tigers should have little trouble seeing that the Bulldogs stay home for the CWS. The Bulldogs did defeat rival FSU in two games of their regional in Tallahassee, but that should be little cause for concerned, considering the dominance Clemson displayed this year against the Seminoles. Look forward to post game analysis here before you can get it anywhere else tomorrow after noon, and every time the Tigers play this postseason.