2009 NCAA Regional Preview: Clemson

The Clemson Tigers will be hosting a 2009 NCAA Regional which features Alabama as the number 2 seed, Oklahoma State as the third seed, and Tennessee Tech as the four seed. The Tigers enter the tournament with a 40-19 overall record and finished second in the Atlantic Division of the ACC with a 19-11 record. Alabama on the other hand comes into the tournament with a 37-19 record and went 18-11 in the SEC which was good enough for a third place finish in the Western Division. Oklahoma State enters the tournament as the biggest controversy as they finished the season with a ninth place finish in the Big 12 conference which did not qualify them for the Big 12 Tournament. They have an overall record of 32-22 and finished the Big 12 season with a 9-16 record. Tennessee Tech makes the NCAA Tournament after an extra-inning victory over Jacksonville State to win the Ohio Valley Conference. They currently have a 30-22-1 record after going 10-11-1 record.

Clemson (40-19 overall, 19-11 ACC)

The Clemson Tigers will be hosting the tournament at Doug Kingsmore Stadium which is one of the better college baseball facilities in the country with passionate fans. Clemson is led on offense by All-American candidate Ben Paulsen who is hitting at .368 with 11 homers and 55 RBI. Wilson Boyd (.348 BA), Jeff Schaus (.329 BA), and Mike Freeman (.324 BA) are all formidable hitters. Kyle Parker is the biggest home run threat for the Tigers with 12 on the year but only has .268 average.

The top starting pitcher for the Tigers is Casey Harman who has a 7-3 record with an ERA of 3.86. Chris Dwyer has been the second best pitcher on the staff with a 4-5 record with a 5.30 ERA but has held opponents to a .242 average. Matt Vaughn and Tomas Cruz are tied for the team lead with 4 saves. Vaughn currently has a 3-1 record and a 2.67 ERA while Cruz is 2-3 with a 3.51 ERA.

Clemson Stats

Alabama (37-19 Overall, 18-11 SEC)

The Crimson Tide are led on offense by National POY candidate Kent Matthes who currently has .365 average with 28 homers and 81 RBI. The rest of the offense is led by Taylor Dugas (.354 BA), Ross Wilson (.349 BA), and Brandon May (. 343 BA, 12 HR, 68 RBI). Jake Smith who has a .359 average with 18 homers and 54 RBI is currently listed on the Alabama roster as inactive so he is not expected to play in the regional.

The pitching staff is led by Austin Hyatt who is 8-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts. After Hyatt in the rotation, Del Howell is the only other pitcher with more then 10 starts as he is 5-3 with an ERA of 6.33 ERA. The Tide has no set closer as four pitchers currently on the active roster have two saves.

Alabama Stats

Oklahoma State (32-22, 9-16 Big 12)

They are led on offense by Tyrone Hambly who is hitting .338 with nine homers and 38 RBI. The biggest power threat for the Cowboys is Michael Dabbs who has 13 on the year with a batting average of .335 in only 48 games. Neil Medchill has 14 homers in 54 games.

The Cowboys pitching staff has two strong arms which received preseason accolades but both have failed in living up to the hype. Andrew Oliver enters the weekend with a 5-6 record with a 5.58 ERA but has been battling with the NCAA in a lawsuit in Ohio throughout the season over an agent situation which might have affected him. Tyler Lyons is 6-5 with a 3.75 ERA. Tyler Blandford is the other starter with a 7-3 record and an ERA of 4.83 ERA.

Oklahoma State Stats

Tennessee Tech (30-22-1 Overall, 10-11-1 OVC)

Tennessee Tech made an impressive run through the Ohio Valley Conference tournament by beating Jacksonville State twice to grab the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They are led at the plate by Chad Oberaker who has a .348 average while stealing 10 bases. The biggest offensive threat is A.J. Kirby-Jones who is hitting .344 with 20 homers and 66 RBI.

The top pitcher is Lee Henry who is 9-2 with an ERA of 2.96 in 19 appearances including six starts. He has tossed five complete games in those six starts. Ryan Dennick is also respectable with a 4-2 record and a 3.74 ERA in 20 appearances including four starts. A.J. Kirby-Jones leads the team with three saves as he has appeared in 18 appearances including four starts to go with a 3-3 record.

Tennessee Tech Stats

Prediction

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma State
4. Tennessee Tech