Friday, June 9, 2000 • Box score
No All-Americans? No first-team all-conference players?
No problem, Clemson says.
The Tigers' alleged no-name lineup produced an all-star second inning Friday-eight runs on seven hits-in a 10-6 Bracket One victory over San Jose State in the opening game of the College World Series.
Clemson center fielder Patrick Boyd, who hammered a three-run homer in the second, bristled at any suggestion that the Tigers (51-16) get by more on guile and guts than talent.
"We think we've got All-Americans," Boyd said. "A lot of the publications apparently don't think so, but we don't care about that.
"We've got a bunch of great players. We're real fundamentally sound. And we're extremely confident in what we're doing right now. So we're going to put up some runs. And if we don't, we'll rely on our pitching."
Clemson needed some pitching, in conjunction with the biggest one-inning outburst at the College World Series since Alabama scored eight in 1997, to close the book on San Jose State (41-23).
SJSU, in its first trip to Omaha, played in front of a Rosenblatt Stadium crowd of 17,000. That was more fans than the Spartans had seen in this season's 28 home games combined.
The stage fright showed early as they gave up all 10 Clemson runs in the second and third innings. And with four errors, seven of the runs were unearned.
"One of our biggest concerns was to get out of the first three innings alive," SJSU Coach Sam Piraro said. "We were a little tight. We did some things that we normally don't do."
The Spartans nearly gave the crowd a comeback to remember by scoring in the third, fourth and fifth innings to cut their 8-1 deficit to 10-6.
But Clemson's Steve Reba preserved the victory for starter Ryan Mottl (10-3) with four innings of two-hit, shutout relief.
"It's our job to come in and quell the bats, and we've been doing that throughout the postseason," Reba said. "Everyone in the pen has done a good job so far."
San Jose State scored the game's first run in the top of the second on back-to-back doubles by left fielder Tony Tognetti and first baseman John Fagan.
But Boyd said the early deficit didn't worry Clemson.
"In postseason, everybody has been swinging the bat extremely well," said Boyd, whose 2-for-5 day boosted his average to .292.
"So I don't think when they put that one run up we felt any pressure at all. We knew we were going to score some runs on these guys."
And the runs came in a bunch in the bottom of the second.
Clemson shortstop Jeff Baker led off with a single. Then second baseman Ryan Riley singled. Then first baseman Mike Calitri's sacrifice bunt turned into an infield single to load the bases.
Right fielder Justin Singleton followed with a two-run single to put Clemson ahead 2-1. A sacrifice bunt, an error and a fielder's choice produced two more runs before Boyd cranked his three-run homer to left for a 7-1 lead.
Second baseman Khalil Greene then chased San Jose State starter Chris Key (13-4) with a double. Baker, who started the inning with a single, greeted reliever Chris Sherman with a first-pitch double for the eighth run of the inning.
Of all the batted balls in the second, Clemson Coach Jack Leggett was as pleased with the two bunts as any.
"You've got to do the little things to win," he said. "We created some pressure in the second inning, and that was a key to the whole game."
Clemson's lead grew to 10-2 in the third on two errors and left fielder Casey Stone's single. But San Jose State didn't wilt.
The Spartans closed to 10-5 in the fourth. Second baseman Brian Stream's two-run triple to right center was the big hit. In the fifth, Fagan's two-out solo homer gave San Jose State its sixth run.
SJSU threatened to get even closer in the seventh. Stream led off with a walk and right fielder Brandon Macchi doubled him to third. But the reliever Reba got the Spartans' No. 4, 5 and 6 hitters to pop up to end the inning.
"We had our good hitters up there, and the guy got out of it," Coach Piraro said. "That was a big, big inning to get out of for Clemson.
"The last six innings, we played extremely well. But one inning hurt. And in baseball, that's all it takes."
Clemson (51-16) advances to Sunday's 2 p.m. winner's game, while San Jose State (41-23) will play in a loser's game at 6 p.m. Saturday.