Elon takes on college WORLD SERIES CHAMPS
February 24, 2012By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School
Elon to take baseball tests vs. champions
Watching the College World Series on television last June, Elon University infielder Chris Bresnahan figured he might as well be pulling for South Carolina.
“I was hoping they would win,” he said, “and then we could go beat them.”
That opportunity has arrived for the Elon baseball team.
The Phoenix (4-0) visits South Carolina (3-0), which is the two-time defending national champion, for a three-game series beginning today.
“We respect them, but we’re going down there to win the series,” said Elon pitcher Dylan Clark, who’ll start Saturday afternoon’s game. “We’re not going down to play the two-time defending national champions. We’re going down there to play a series we want to win. They’re not going to give us any respect when we walk into that stadium.”
This will be the second time Elon has met a reigning NCAA baseball champion in its Division I era. In 2002, Elon won two of three games at Miami, which was the 2001 titlist.
Elon has faced South Carolina in recent years.The Phoenix won one of three games to open the 2006 season, then went on to capture its first Southern Conference championship. In 2007, South Carolina visited Elon for one game.
“It’s a privilege to be on a club that has an opportunity to go down there and play,” Elon left fielder Jake Luce said.
The Gamecocks attracted average crowds of more than 7,750 at Carolina Stadium for a three-game sweep ofVirginia Military Institute last week.
Clark said it will be an adjustment for the Phoenix playing in such an environment and against a Southeastern Conference team. But he said Elon’s annual outings against teams such as Clemson and North Carolina are indicators of the type of opponent the Phoenix will see.
“We’re going down there to win a weekend like any other weekend,” Bresnahan said. “We play these teams all the time. You come here to this program so you can play these teams and you want to beat them.”
Elon coach Mike Kennedy said he hopes some of his team’s newcomers can overcome what he has called “nervous at-bats” during the first week of the season. He said facing this kind of competition is the norm for the Elon program.
“We’re going down there to, hopefully, play well and win some ballgames,” he said.
Kennedy said he didn’t give much thought to this series in relation to South Carolina winning June’s CWS again.
“I’d rather us have won it,” he said.
The Associated Press
South Carolina coach Ray Tanner heads on to the field prior to last week’s season opener. Today, his team faces Elon.
The Associated Press
South Carolina fans take photographs of the school’s two national championship trophies for baseball.