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A Dose of Reality: Tigers get a wake up call after series loss against the Hurricanes

Allen Randall, staff

Coming into their road series against the Miami Hurricanes, the Clemson Tigers were riding high. At 17-3 overall and 5-1 in conference play, the Tigers were arguably the hottest team in the country, going from unranked to No. 12 in the nation in a short span of time. However, the Tigers were quickly brought back down to earth in Coral Gables, Florida, as a sweep at the hands of the seventh-ranked ‘Canes proved that the college baseball season is not without its trials and tribulations.

Giving up 24 runs in the three-game series, the Tigers suffered through their worst pitching stretch this season, with ace pitcher Clate Schmidt getting shellacked to open the weekend.

Despite freshman slugger Seth Beer’s continued heroics, the Tigers showed flaws against the Hurricanes. There were question marks surrounding Clemson’s unproven pitching staff prior to the start of the season, and those concerns came to fruition in Clemson’s first true road test of 2016.

Interestingly enough, based on preseason projections, the Tigers were supposed to get swept by the likes of Miami. The fact that it was considered a bitter disappointment that they were just goes to show you that Clemson has already exceeded expectations for this year. 

To be fair, two of the three losses were by one run, including an eleven-inning heartbreaker. That being said, Clemson can and should expect tough, nail-biting games like that for the remainder of the regular season. As they advance through the ACC portion of the schedule, the Tigers will be met with even greater challenges, which means they will have to learn from their letdown in Miami and quickly move on.

The sweep might do the Tigers some good in the long run; it probably provided the players with a much-needed reality check. It proved that the road to the College World Series (CWS) is not as easy as Clemson might have made it seem by its spectacular play in recent weeks. 

Rest assured, though, the Tigers definitely have what it takes to reach the CWS. Speaking on the series following his team’s victory in the finale, Miami Head Coach Jim Morris told reporters, “That’s a very good club, and we played well all weekend.” 

While a simple acknowledgement of Clemson’s worthiness as an opponent, it speaks volumes about the quick progress that the team has made under Monte Lee, their new coach.

The Tigers still have a long way to go before discussions about contending for the national championship can be taken seriously, but the season is still young. Look for the Tigers to rebound in their next conference test when they square off against the Pittsburgh Panthers at home this weekend. 

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