CLEMSON -- When the 64-team NCAA field was unveiled Monday, Clemson's No. 2 seed was expected. The Tigers' destination -- the Auburn Regional -- was a surprise.
Most projections, including Baseball America's final forecast, had the Tigers making their 35th NCAA appearance in Myrtle Beach, a regional hosted by a familiar opponent in Coastal Carolina.
Instead, the Tigers will travel west into the unknown.
Clemson will open NCAA play against third-seeded Southern Miss at 3 p.m. Friday. Clemson has never faced the Golden Eagles, a team playing with the added motivation of keeping pro quarterback Brett Favre from retiring. Favre pledged to return to the Minnesota Vikings if Southern Miss advances to the College World Series.
Clemson has also never played No. 4 seed Jacksonville State.
Clemson last met Auburn when the SEC Tigers defeated Clemson twice in a three-game series in 2005 at Auburn.
Clemson coach Jack Leggett seemed undaunted by the lack of familiarity, noting it is typical of regional play. Leggett does know Auburn head coach John Pawlowski. The former College of Charleston coach was an assistant under Leggett.
"All I know is that it is going to be a very competitive regional," Leggett said. "Auburn had a great run and won their division in the SEC, we know they are a very strong offensive team. (Southern Miss) has a storied program, and always plays everyone tough."
What is known, is there should be plenty of offense.
Auburn leads the nation in home runs (117) and is in the top 10 in batting (.348).
Southern Miss entered postseason play 20th in the country in runs scored per game (8.7). Clemson was 19th at 8.8.
Pitching might be lacking as Clemson is the only team in the Auburn Regional ranked in the 50 of ERA -- a 4.63 (47th).
Adding to pitcher's concerns will be Plainsman Park.
The venue features a Fenway Park-like wall in left, a mere 315 feet down the line. It's 385 feet to center and 360 feet to the right-center.
Leggett was noncommittal with his pitching plans Monday, saying he's not even sure if he'll throw usual No. 1 starter Casey Harman against Southern Miss.
"We'll take it one game at a time and figure out what we want to do," Leggett said. "Whoever we put on the mound, we have got to have confidence they'll keep us in the ballgame."
It was also apparent Monday that Clemson likely cost itself a No. 1 seed by losing two out of three games at the ACC Tournament.
Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander, who is a member of the NCAA selection committee, said Clemson "was in consideration" for a No. 1 seed.
"They were in the mix," Kallander said. "We looked at so many different factors … at everything from overall (record), how you are trending, how you did against the top 25."
Kallander said speculation Clemson was not placed in Myrtle Beach at the behest of Coastal Carolina and their conference, the Big South, was not true.
"There was no discussion at any time," Kallander said.
Parker not thinking about the draft
Major League Baseball's draft comes at an unusual time for college players, in the midst of their postseason. Clemson could play Monday when the draft begins.
Clemson outfielder Kyle Parker is expected to be selected during the first 50 picks. Baseball America has Parker being taken by the Yankees in the first round (32nd overall). Parker is rated by Baseball America as the 38th best prospect available.
"I'm not really thinking about it," Parker said. "I'm just kind of getting ready for it to be over with and see what happens."