OMAHA, Neb. | Clemson kept waiting for the Pacific-10's pitcher of the year to throw the ball over the plate. When he did, the Tigers were ready.
The Tigers roughed up previously unbeaten Arizona State ace Seth Blair and got strong performances from Casey Harman and Alex Frederick to stop the No. 1 national seed Sun Devils 6-3 Monday in the College World Series.
Clemson (44-23) is the only non-No. 1 regional seed to make it to Omaha, and had to stave off elimination three times to get this far. Now the Tigers find themselves in the winners' bracket, needing a victory over Oklahoma on Tuesday to gain control of Bracket 2.
"Just because we're in the winners' bracket doesn't mean the tournament is over," coach Jack Leggett said. "We have to play Oklahoma, which is feeling as good as we're feeling right now. So you can't too feel good about yourself because you'll get slapped right in the back of your head."
The Sun Devils (52-9), who haven't lost consecutive games this season, will meet South Carolina in an elimination game Tuesday.
Blair (12-1), taken 46th overall by St. Louis in the recent major league draft, walked four of the first 12 batters he faced. He finished with a career-high five walks, and was tagged for five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.
"I thought Clemson did a good job of being very patient," ASU coach Tim Esmay said. "They were making him pitch, making him throw pitches to the zone. And he just wasn't on it. He just wasn't as efficient as he's been in the past where he gets on it early. And I thought at some point he was going to get back on it."
The Tigers, who averaged 15 hits and 11 runs over its previous five games, got 14 singles off Blair and three ASU relievers. Every starter had at least one hit.
"It proves we can play with anybody," Clemson second baseman Mike Freeman said. "We let everyone know that just because we might be the last seed here, we're not to be overlooked. We've got guys on this team that are as good as anyone in the nation. It's nice to go out there and prove that we belong."
Blair reached 110 pitches in the fifth inning and left after John Hinson's RBI single put the Tigers up 3-1. Blair's only shorter start this season was a three-inning stint against BYU on May 10 when he was on a pitch count.
ASU came to Omaha having won 16 of 17 games in which Blair started.
Brady Rodgers took over for Blair, and Richie Shaffer reached when left fielder Drew Maggi lost the ball in the sun to score another run, and Wilson Boyd's single made it 5-1.
Harman (8-3) allowed only one run on two singles and a double in the first five innings against a lineup featuring seven players batting .327 or higher.
"We knew he was going to pound the zone away, the fastball away, and changeups," Riccio Torrez said. "We knew what he likes to throw and the way he throws it, but we just couldn't square him up."
Torrez extended his hitting streak to 26 games with his RBI single in the sixth.
Harman gave up a run in the sixth, and was relieved by Frederick after ASU loaded the bases with none out in the seventh. Maggi's RBI groundout cut Clemson's lead to 6-3, but Frederick struck out Zack MacPhee to end the rally. MacPhee slammed his bat onto the plate after fanning.
Frederick retired the Sun Devils in order in the eighth and ninth for his third save.
"It felt good, because we always talk as a pitching staff that we're always behind you," Frederick said. "I go out every time and try to do what I can to help when something happens, like when the bases are loaded with no outs."
The game originally was scheduled for Sunday night but was postponed by rain.
"We know late in the season we've had to win some ballgames to get where we are right now," Leggett said. "So nothing's been easy. You've got to just keep on plugging one game at a time and not get too high or low with it. When we play confidently, we're pretty good."