CLEMSON, S.C. — Millie Thompson is not a fan of water.
She does not mind drinking it but having a whole tub of water poured on her head is not something she normally allows.
But it is not every day her team wins an NCAA Softball Regional either. So, when No. 10 overall seed Clemson took down Louisiana 8-0 Sunday in the Clemson Regional Finals at McWhorter Stadium, the freshman pitcher volunteered.
“I think it was just for the moment, you know? This team is pushing me. That could be a symbolism of how much they push me in any type of situation,” Thompson said. “Like, I hate water, but I went and did it for them. That is kind of how it is. Any fear I have they back me up and I am just so blessed to have them.”
The Tigers (42-15) were blessed to have Thompson on Sunday. For the second time in the regional, she pitched magnificently.
Thompson followed up her no hitter against UNC Wilmington on Friday, with a one-hit shutout of the Ragin’ Cajuns. In 10 innings for work in the Clemson Regional, she gave up just one hit and struck out nine batters.
In all Thompson and fellow pitcher Valerie Cagle did not allow a run all weekend and gave up just five hits, while striking out 15.
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Clemson outscored UNC Wilmington, Auburn, and Louisiana by a combined score of 18-0 in the three games.
“Coach Kyle Jamieson deserves a lot of credit. He calls a great game and works his butt off with our pitchers,” Clemson head coach John Rittman said. “Like I said, I am so proud of our pitching staff. We have seen so much growth in the last two years with our pitching staff. Sometimes they make it look real ease, but it is a lot of work.”
That hard work paid off as Clemson Softball won its first regional title in just its third year. And the Tigers celebrated that fact for a long time after the game.
There was a dogpile. Thompson welcomed the cold water being dumped on her. Rittman took his first Gatorade bath in a long time. Players were high-fiving fans. There was a celebratory lap around the stadium.
The party lasted for more than 30 minutes.
“This is probably the last time I will play on this field, so having that overwhelming feeling of joy. It is just pure happiness,” graduate senior Cammy Pereira said. “You can see it in our fans. Our fans have never experienced this. We have never experienced this. I think just that pure happiness and that pure joy is something we are never going to forget.
“Obviously, we are like little kids running around the field. Getting sprayed with water. Millie getting buckets dumped on her. She really hates water. So that is just a testament to how much fun we are having.”
Up next for Clemson is No. 7 overall seed Oklahoma State. The Cowboys beat North Texas 2-0 on Sunday to set a Super Regional matchup with the Tigers in Stillwater, Okla.