COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The college baseball season is over for the Palmetto State's powerhouse programs — and much earlier than many expected.
Clemson (36-25) went 0-2 in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1981. It was 1976 when South Carolina (44-18) last failed to advance from a regional it hosted, which is what happened this weekend when the Gamecocks dropped two games to surprising winner Maryland.
"It's definitely a tough one to swallow, just coming out and not performing our best on our home field in front of our home crowd," South Carolina closer Joel Seddon said.
The early meltdown hasn't set well with some.
Some fans have questioned whether second-year coach Chad Holbrook was up to the job of leading a program that won national titles in 2010 and 2011 and is expected to be at the College World Series each year. Meanwhile, some Tigers fans are calling for the ouster of Hall-of-Famer Jack Leggett, who's led the Tigers to six CWS trips, but none since 2010.
That might not seem like a big gap, but college baseball in the Palmetto State stands second only to football as the most important among the two fan bases.
Both coaches say they'll do what they must to improve and get back to being CWS contenders each spring.
"It was a good season, but good isn't good enough around here. I understand that," Holbrook said. "We've got to do better than good."
Both programs usually have. This is just the second time since the NCAA started best-of-three super regional series in 1999 that neither Clemson nor South Carolina are among the final 16 contending for the College World Series.
"I go into every season thinking we're going to get to Omaha, like everyone else does that follows our program," Leggett said Saturday after his team was eliminated by fourth-seeded Xavier 6-4.
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