Clemson University

Former Tiger Baker plays in World Series

Yes, that was a familiar face playing in the World Series.

Former Clemson All-American Jeff Baker was with Colorado as it was swept by Boston last week, ending the Rockies' epic late-season winning streak. Baker became the first former Tiger to appear in the World Series since Jimmy Key won a ring with the New York Yankees in 1996.

Baker switched from his collegiate infield (shortstop and third base) position to right field when he got to the pros and was mostly used as a pinch-hitter this season. He only had one at-bat in the Series and ripped a line drive that was stabbed by Boston's Julio Lugo, shorting out a Rockies rally.

In his third year with Colorado, Baker hit .222 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 85 games. His season highlight was during the National League Championship Series, when he delivered the pennant-clinching RBI against Philadelphia.

Baker became the seventh former Tiger to play in the World Series. Four (Key, Flint Rhem, Tim Teufel and Mark Davidson) have won at least one championship.

• HARDWARE: The South Carolina equestrian team, defending national champion and winner of two of the past three national crowns, received its championship rings last week during a team supper. Coach Boo Duncan gathered the team at Columbia's Longhorn Steakhouse and presented each member with the new rings.

"We told the team that we were going to have a long meeting and they all needed to show up," Duncan said in a statement. "We made up about 5,000 lies and got them hook, line and sinker."

It was a bad omen. The team left for two road competitions over the weekend and dropped both, 16-3 at Oklahoma State and 13-7 at Kansas State.

• MILESTONE: Longtime USC men's soccer coach Mark Berson picked up his 400th win with the Gamecocks over the weekend, beating Marshall 3-1. Berson, the longest-tenured coach at USC (30 years), is the 11th-winningest coach in NCAA history.

The win was clinched when freshmen Mike Lindsay and Will Traynor each hit their first collegiate goals while Jeff Scannella scored his team-leading sixth goal. Goalie Jimmy Maurer had eight saves.

• STRONG FINISH: Clemson's men's golf team wrapped up its fall season last week with a second-place finish at the Isleworth-UCF Collegiate. The Tigers came in 10 strokes behind Georgia and placed ahead of eight of the Top 20 teams in the country.

Tanner Ervin fired a final-round 69 and Kyle Stanley was the Tigers' top tournament golfer, with a three-under 213. Clemson breaks for the winter and will resume action Feb. 29 at the Puerto Rico Classic.

USC was at the same tournament and finished eighth.

• THE RIVALRY: USC and Clemson pick up the all-sports season rivalry when the Gamecock men's and women's swimming and diving teams travel to Clemson Saturday. The series is tied 1-1, with the next match scheduled Nov. 24 in Columbia (football).