Clemson tough out en route to Omaha

Updated: June 12, 2006, 11:32 AM ET
By Will Kimmey | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: No one knows the super regional teams better than their opponents. Will Kimmey talked to college coaches who had faced multiple teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament and offered them anonymity in exchange for their candor.

Clemson Tigers
Record: 52-14
How They Got Here: Won the Clemson Super Regional in two games; won the Clemson Regional in three games
CWS History: 11 trips to Omaha, last in 2002
Coach: Jack Leggett (13th season)

Clemson's Top Hitters
Player (Position) AVG OBP SLG Key Stats
Tyler Colvin (LF) .359 .424 .622 22 2B, 12 HR, 23 SB
Andy D'Alessio (1B) .321 .380 .662 22 HR, 80 RBI

Clemson's Top Pitchers
Player W-L ERA Key Stats
Stephen Faris (RHP) 9-2 2.34 78 K's, 16 BB, 92.1 IP
Jason Berken (RHP) 9-3 2.72 74 K's, 32 BB, 79.1 IP
Josh Cribb (RHP) 9-0 3.09 83 K's, 26 BB, 87.1 IP

Scouting the Tigers: "I thought Clemson was without question the best team in the [Atlantic Coast Conference]. They really pitch and are deeper than anybody in the country. The starting pitchers don't overpower you; they all come at you and throw strikes. They're bulldogs and work fast. It makes you feel uncomfortable at the plate. If you see a fastball early, be ready to hack. I thought all of them were pretty much the same: fastball, 86-88 [mph], and they all had an average slider. They threw a get-me-over slider early in the count and get you to chase with two strikes. Slow the tempo down on them and have a good opposite-field approach.

"The one thing that is overlooked is their catcher [Adrian Casanova] is the best defensive catcher we saw all year. He can really catch and throw, and he gets pitches for their guys because he's so calm. It didn't seem like they pitched on the plate much. They knocked the spots out and the umpire called it because he was doing a great job of receiving. He compliments their staff. They're all 90 with a breaking ball but they're not eye-popping stuff. They just hit their spots and have a great plan to get ground balls and have a great fielding team.

"They like to put a lot of pressure on you. Really good team speed. Seven of the nine hitters can run. There's a couple that can really, really run. Everyone is good enough that they can start runners and can bunt and can handle the bat.

"They have so many options with speed and bunting; they run a team offense really good and understand what coach Leggett is trying to do. They raked. [Tyler] Colvin was a first-rounder, a great hitter. We thought he was one of best hitters we've seen; he can do it all. We struggled with [Taylor] Harbin the most; he tore us up. He's not big or imposing, but has some sock. With Harbin, throw the first pitch out of the zone because he's hacking at the first close pitch he sees. D'Alessio killed us. He has good strength, but stay away and spin breaking balls -- he tries to hook everything. But if you miss, he'll kill it."

Will Kimmey covers college baseball for Baseball America.

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