Clemson Regional Preview

Baseball America will break down all 16 regionals, including Clemson.

STAT PACK (National rank in parentheses)
Avg. Scoring (R/G) HR SB ERA K/9 WHIP Fielding %age
1. Clemson .271 (161) 7.0 (33) 63 (15) 56 (137) 4.33 (112) 7.4 (111) 1.39 (88) .961 (235)
2. Oklahoma State .261 (205) 5.8 (114) 42 (75) 76 (51) 3.47 (33) 9.0 (16) 1.35 (64) .977 (24)
3. Nebraska .283 (94) 5.7 (121) 43 (69) 62 (100) 3.84 (65) 6.4 (225) 1.37 (82) .975 (34)
4. Western Carolina .304 (26) 7.4 (22) 71 (8) 90 (21) 5.96 (248) 8.7 (21) 1.74 (269) .964 (206)

1. Clemson (42-18, 16-14 Atlantic Coast Conference)


41st appearance (eighth straight), automatic, third in ACC Atlantic, won ACC Tournament

Top 300 Prospects: C Chris Okey (52), LHP Alex Bostic (300)

Season In A Sentence: Clemson excelled in Monte Lee’s first year as head coach, overcoming a midseason lull to finish strong and enter the NCAA Tournament as a national seed for the first time since 2006.

Player To Watch: Seth Beer, of: Beer could have spent the spring playing for Lambert High in Georgia, but he graduated a semester early and enrolled at Clemson in January. His early arrival has been a game-changer for the Tigers. Beer is hitting .372/.532/.696 with 16 home runs and 57 walks and 24 strikeouts. He became the first freshman to be named ACC player of the year in the 47-year history of the award.

Best Weekend: vs. Florida State, April 30-May 2. Clemson had lost four of its last five series and three straight before Florida State visited at the end of April. The Tigers got back on track that weekend, winning two out of three to spark their strong finish to the year. Since the start of that series, Clemson is 16-4 and hasn’t had a losing weekend.

Outlook: Clemson’s offense is firing on all cylinders and its nine-game winning streak is tied for the third longest in the country. If the Tigers pitching continues to hold up, as it did during the ACC Tournament, they are well positioned to advance to super regionals for the first time since 2010.

2. Oklahoma State (36-20, 16-8 in Big 12 Conference)


42nd appearance (fourth straight), at-large, second place in Big 12

Top 300 Prospects: RHP Thomas Hatch (170), SS Donnie Walton (296)

Season In A Sentence: After two tough weekends on the road to start the season, Oklahoma State got on track once it returned home and has played solid baseball ever since.

Player To Watch: Donnie Walton, ss: The son of pitching coach Rob Walton, Donnie Walton chose to return to school for his senior season and has been the cornerstone for Oklahoma State this season. He is the team’s leading hitter at .352/.446/.471, and a steady defensive presence at shortstop. The Cowboys captain is looking to add to his legacy in Stillwater with a deep tournament run.

Best Weekend: vs. Texas Christian, April 22-24. TCU was ranked No. 4 when it traveled to Stillwater in late April, while Oklahoma State had fallen out of the Top 25. The Cowboys showed they were not to be forgotten about in the Big 12 race, however, with a series victory. They routed the Horned Frogs, 9-0, in the opener and then secured a series win in Sunday’s rubber game. TCU got its revenge in the Big 12 Tournament, but the weekend series win proved to be the difference in the regular-season standings.

Outlook: Oklahoma State’s success this season has been built on its pitching and defense. The Cowboys will face a tough task this weekend, but if they can find an answer for Clemson’s hot bats, they could advance to super regionals for the second time in three years.

3. Nebraska (37-20, 16-8 Big Ten Conference)


14th appearance (last in 2014), at-large, second in the Big Ten

Top 300 Prospects: OF Ryan Boldt (73)

Season In A Sentence: Nebraska closed the season strong, winning its final four series to finish just a half-game behind Minnesota in the Big Ten and make the NCAA Tournament for the second time under coach Darin Erstad.

Player To Watch: Chad Luensmann, rhp: Following the graduation of Josh Roeder, who is Nebraska’s all-time saves king, Luensmann slid into the closers’ role this spring. The freshman handled the assignment with aplomb, going 1-2, 1.23 with 13 saves in 27 appearances. He was named Big Ten freshman of the year and helps make the Cornhuskers tough to beat in close games.

Best Weekend: at Michigan State, May 7-9. The Cornhuskers made two trips to Michigan to play ranked opponents this season, and the second went much better than the first. In mid-April, Nebraska was swept at then-No. 22 Michigan. When it returned three weeks later, it claimed a series victory against then-No. 24 Michigan State. The series victory kept the Cornhuskers climbing in the Big Ten standings and gave it a marquee road series win for its NCAA Tournament resume.

Outlook: Much like Oklahoma State, Nebraska has relied on strong pitching and defense to get it to regionals. It’ll need another solid weekend from its staff to advance to super regionals.

Western Carolina (30-29, 15-9 Southern Conference)


12th appearance (first since 2007), automatic, second in SoCon, won SoCon Tournament

Top 300 Prospects: None

Season In A Sentence: Western Carolina returned the bulk of its lineup this season and with its upperclassmen leading the way, it won the SoCon Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.

Player To Watch: Matt Smith, 1b: The only Catamount to start every game this season, Smith leads the team in hitting (.387/.495/.586) and was named SoCon Tournament most outstanding player last week. On a potent offense, the junior has been Western Carolina’s most consistent hitter and it will need him to provide some thump from the cleanup spot this weekend.

Best Weekend: SoCon Tournament, May 25-29. Western Carolina went to the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed and won the first two games in Greenville, S.C., before falling into the losers’ bracket with a 9-8 loss to top-seeded Mercer in the semifinals. The Catamounts responded by winning their next three games, including beating the Bears twice on championship Sunday to capture the title, their first since 2003.

Outlook: If the Catamounts are going to avoid going two-and-out in this regional, their offense will likely be the reason. Playing in the very offensive SoCon, Western Carolina has won its fair share of slugfests this year and can produce runs both with its speed (90 stolen bases) and power (71 home runs). But it can’t simply rely on its offense this weekend. Someone will have to step up on the mound.


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