CLEMSON, S.C. -- Western Carolina's baseball team began the NCAA tournament at Clemson on Friday.
A group of Catamounts fans made a nine-hour trip from Ohio to support WCU's first baseman Matt Smith.
Coming into the game, the Tigers had won five straight against the Cats.
"They're the underdog, but they'll come out and compete and, you know, stranger things have happened. You never know what could happen in baseball. Hopefully, they'll come out and play well and maybe get a chance to win," said Tom Craze, a high school coach of Smith's.
It's Western's first NCAA appearance since 2007.
"They've been treated like local celebrities. They got the police escort out of town and got a nice package from Adidas, so it's been a lot of fun for them and for us," said Tracey Moebius, the mom of a Western player.
Clemson's been in the tournament 29 of the last 30 years, but it's their first time hosting games since 2011.
Clemson beat Western twice in the regular season. Unfortunately for Cats fans, the third time was not the charm. WCU lost to Clemson 24 to 10. They go on to play Nebraska on Saturday at noon.