Clemson Baseball: Fullerton Regional Preview


The Clemson baseball team begins their path into the NCAA Tournament when they play in the Cal State Fullerton Regional beginning on Friday, the question is can the Tigers win the regional and advance to a super-regional?

The Fullerton Regional will begin play on Friday when the Clemson Tigers play the Arizona State Sun Devils. This, should the Tigers win, could be a long, but exciting, weekend of baseball for Clemson fans. Tiger fans will have to stay up late to be able to see the Clemson baseball team play as they could be playing a game as late as 11 p.m. eastern time. The time difference could come into play as we get later into the week as Clemson is the only team from the east coast to be playing in this regional.

Cal State Fullerton Titans (34-22, 9-5 Big West)

Number-one seeded Cal State Fullerton had the opportunity to host a regional based off their strong finish to their season. They are only 34-22 overall and 9-5 in the Big West, but finished the season winning 13 of their last 15. They are one of the hottest teams in the Tournament, but what makes them so good is their deep pitching staff. Their team ERA is 2.85, good for one of the best in the nation. Fullerton has a strong baseball program historically, but I think Clemson could match up well with them. As said before, however, the most impressive part of this team is their pitching. They certainly have the pitching to go deep into the weekend so a loss on Saturday does not necessarily mean they won’t find themselves playing for the championship.

Arizona State Sun Devils (34-21, 18-12 Pac 12)

The number-two seed in the Fullerton Regional is the Arizona State Sun Devils. Clemson opens up Tournament play with Arizona State and this may be the toughest test for the Tigers. The Sun Devils are, without a doubt, the most explosive team in this regional. They have seven batters hitting over .300 on the season and, until a series loss to USC late in the season, were in contention to host a regional. Arizona State has a solid pitching staff, overall, and they are led by Ace Ryan Kellogg, who the Tigers will face Friday. The most impressive part of this team, however, is their explosive offense. Even if you get out to a three or four run lead, the Sun Devils can score in flurries and can cut a lead in a heart-beat. Clemson will need to play a complete nine-inning game to be able to beat Arizona State on Friday and, most likely, later in the weekend.

Pepperdine Waves (30-27, 17-10 WCC)

The number-four seeded Pepperdine Waves may be one of the strongest four seeds in the tournament. They earned an automatic bid by winning the WCC, but Clemson should be able to handle the Waves should they face them this weekend. Pepperdine’s offense has struggled at times and their pitching can be inconsistent. Should the Tigers face them this weekend, though, Clemson will need to be focused and realize that Pepperdine will be giving everything they have to advance as far as they can.

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Bottom Line:

To win the regional this weekend, Clemson will need strong-outs from every starting pitcher and the bullpen, as well. There is a great chance that Clemson could go farther into their rotation than just the weekend starters and everyone needs to be ready to give a strong performance when they take the mound. The Tigers must also make sure they cut-down on their defensive errors. When Clemson plays solid defense, they tend to win games, but if the Tigers commit careless errors it could be a very short weekend for Jack Leggett and company. The offense will come, but Clemson must play fundamental defense and have strong pitching all weekend to advance. The Tigers can, most definitely win this regional, but it is going to take strong efforts from all those who are involved and exceptional outings from those on the mound.

Friday, May 29:

Game 1: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 2 Arizona State, 6:05 ET

Game 2: No. 4 Pepperdine vs. No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, 10:05 ET

Saturday, May 30:

Game 3: Losers of Game 1 and 2, 7:05 ET

Game 4: Winners of Game 1 and 2, 11:05 ET

Sunday, May 31:

Game 5: Winner of Game 3 and Loser of Game 4, 7:05 ET

Game 6: Winner of Game 4 and 5, 11:05 ET

Monday, June 1:

Game 7: If necessary, 11:05 ET