2013 Columbia Regional

(capsules compiled by Sean Ryan, Phil Stanton, Zachary Kerr)


1. South Carolina Gamecocks

Columbia, South Carolina

At-large bid from SEC

2012 record: 17-12, 39-18 (second place in SEC East)

Head coach: Chad Holbrook (North Carolina, 1994)

Record at school: 39-18, 1 year

Overall record: 39-18, 1 year

Assistant coaches: Jerry Meyers, Sammy Esposito, Brian Buscher

Last NCAA Appearance: 2012 (3-0 in Columbia Regional, 2-0 in Columbia Super Regional, 4-1 in College World Series bracket play, 0-2 in CWS Championship Series)

Notes: South Carolina is making its 29th NCAA Tournament appearance and 15th straight, the longest streak among SEC schools. This will be the first postseason trip under first-year head coach Chad Holbrook. The Gamecocks are hosting for the 16th time. South Carolina has been to the College World Series each of the past three seasons, winning consecutive national championships in 2010 and 2011 before a runner-up finish in 2012. The Gamecocks became just the sixth program to repeat as national champion in 2011. The only team to win three straight titles is Southern California, which won five consecutive championships between 1970 and 1974. South Carolina had an NCAA-record 22-game postseason winning streak snapped by Arkansas in Omaha a year ago. The Gamecocks are third in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.30) and sixth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.39). Tyler Webb is ninth in the country with 16 saves. LB Dantzler is 13th in the nation with 15 home runs.


2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson, South Carolina

At-large bid from ACC

2013 record: 18-12, 39-20 (third in Atlantic Division)

Head coach: Jack Leggett (Maine, 1976)

Record at school: 886-424-1, 20 years

Overall record: 1,263-714-1, 34 years

Assistant coaches: Dan Pepicelli, Bradley LeCroy, John Hinson

Team offense: .278 BA, 326 R, 19 HR, .362 SLG%, .363 OBP%, 110-149 SB

Team pitching: 3.17 ERA, 537 IP, 532 H, 191 BB, 386 K

Top hitters: Shane Kennedy (.317/4/33/22-27 SB), Garrett Boulware (.310/8/44/104 TB), Steve Wilkerson (.294/2/32/16 2B), Steven Duggar (.291/2/28/15-22 SB)

Top pitchers: Matthew Crownover (7-2, 2.05 ERA, 66 IP, 59 H, 16 BB, 42 K), Daniel Gossett (9-4, 2.53 ERA, 92.1 IP, 73 H, 33 BB, 89 K), Scott Firth (6-5, 3.23 ERA, 61.1 IP, 63 H, 18 BB, 41 K)

Last NCAA Appearance: (2012, 2-2 at Columbia Regional)

Notes: Clemson has reached the tournament for the 26th time in the past 27 years. Coach Jack Leggett was a captain of Maine's 1976 CWS team and played three years for the Black Bears football team. Freshman Matthew Crownover led the ACC in ERA in conference games at 1.73. In the regular season, Clemson's freshmen pitched 208 innings, in which they allowed 78 earned runs, giving them a 3.38 ERA in 41 percent of the team’s innings. Starter Daniel Gossett, designated hitter/utility player Shane Kennedy and second baseman Steve Wilkerson made the All-ACC second team. It was the second selection for Wilkerson.


3. Liberty Flames

Notes: The Flames captured their first Big South Conference title and NCAA bid since 2000 by upsetting top-seed Campbell in the league tourney final. Along the way, Liberty snapped a streak of 20 straight losses to Coastal Carolina by beating the Chants twice. Quietly, the Flames have averaged 37 wins a season over the past nine years, second only to Virginia in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Coach Jim Toman was groomed for 18 years at NC State and South Carolina and played three one-run games (1-2) vs. the Gamecocks to open the season. He’s headed to the Regionals for the 15th time and also has been to seven Super Regionals and three College World Series. This year’s edition is a little light on hitting (.267), but Trey Wimmer and Danny Grauer have some pop, and Ryan Cordell is 26 for 30 in stolen bases. Liberty alums who made marks in Major League Baseball include Sid Bream, Lee Guetterman and Randy Tomlin.


4. Saint Louis Billikens

Notes: The Billikens are champs of the A-10, but it didn’t come easy. Top-seeded St. Louis lost its opener then won five straight – including four in 24 hours – to capture the automatic bid. It previously won A-10 titles in 2006 and 2010. The Billikens have won 41 games (school record) in back-to-back seasons. Coach Darin Henrickson posted an 18-5 career mark at SIU-Edwardsville. Alex Alemann has won 27 games in his career, a school record, and reportedly has an offer to work for the Federal Reserve if baseball doesn’t work out. Fellow starter Clay Smith, a junior, has gone 15-4 the past two seasons and walked only 16 in 91 innings this year. Mike Vigliarolo and Alex Kelly provide a quality 1-2 punch, with 29 and 27 extra-base hits, respectively.