CLEMSON -- Blue light flickered in the darkness of Jack Leggett's house at 2 a.m. Monday, hours before Clemson's 8-6 super regional championship victory over Alabama.

Insomnia again was tormenting the Clemson baseball coach.

Leggett had given up the idea of trying to sleep in his new home occupied just a month earlier. There was the house fire two years ago. The skiing accident. His father's stroke. There was this trying season. Test after test after test.

So, he turned to television as a companion, watching Arizona State clinch its ticket to the College World Series.

Wide awake with thought, with the anticipation of being one win from the program's first Omaha trip since 2006, Leggett wondered whether the Tigers could win their third elimination game in eight days.

Was it the right call to start freshman pitcher Dominic Leone?

Was Alabama's undersized ace, Nathan "Peanut" Kilcrease, as tough as advertised?

"Two things happen to me," Leggett said. "If we lose, I can't sleep. And if we win, I'm so excited I can't wait to get to the ballpark the next day. I've got a heck of a problem."

Leggett probably slept well Monday tonight after Clemson clinched its 12th College World Series appearance. The Tigers open CWS play against Arizona State.

Leggett continued to press all the right buttons in the postseason Monday, and Clemson (43-23) continued its resiliency, completing the turnaround of a season appearing lost in April.

"Your team needs to get hot but you also need to keep your mind open for who the hot player is," Leggett said.

Across town, Leone was that hot player enduring a mostly sleepless night.

In the eighth inning of Sunday's 19-5 win, the freshman was selected to start after Leggett met with pitching coach Dan Pepicelli.

Leone lost the No. 3 starter role earlier this season. He struggled in limited work in the postseason.

On Sunday night, he tried to relax, listening to a collection of country music and hip-hop beats. It worked.

Leone attacked Alabama for 5 1/3 innings with an accurate, firm fastball, allowing just one unearned run. It prevented Alabama from getting to the Clemson bullpen early.

Clemson picked up offensively where it left off a night earlier, producing 16 hits and scoring six runs off Kilcrease in five innings.

Kilcrease entered with three postseason wins and an Alabama-best 2.42 ERA.

"Every time this team scores runs behind you, you know all you have to do is go out there and throw strikes," Leone said.

Clemson freshman Richie Shaffer homered twice, including a what proved to be a key, two-run homer in the seventh to give Clemson a 8-1 lead.

Of course with Clemson, it is never easy -- and the ninth inning presented another challenge.

"It was full of drama," said Hinson, who was not a full-time player earlier this year. "The whole season has been full of drama."

Kevin Brady inherited a 8-1 game in the ninth. He allowed five base runners. Alabama cut the lead to 8-3 after a two-run Brett Booth homer. With the bases loaded and two outs, Leggett summoned Tomas Cruz.

Cruz walked in a run and Clay Jones hit a ball under the glove of shortstop Brad Miller, scoring two runs to make it, 8-6. It was Miller's third error of the game, leading to three unearned runs.

Will Lamb replaced Cruz.

He faced Jake Smith, owner of four home runs and three saves as a closer in the NCAAs. Leggett thought about an intentional walk but decided against placing the winning run on base.

Smith lofted a lazy fly to Jeff Schaus in left.

A dog-pile formed in the infield.

Leggett exhaled.

"The biggest hurt in my life would have been if (Smith) put that ball up in the stands," Leggett said. "(The final out) was just a sense of relief."