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The Tiger

Tigers must prove themselves on the road

Ashley Stout, Asst. Photo Editor

Left fielder Reed Rohlman (26) and pitcher Pat Krall (36) celebrate together during a game at Doug Kingsmore stadium.

With the Clemson Tigers baseball team currently boasting a less than stellar 7-5 conference record, this weekend’s series against the lowly Duke Blue Devils is exactly what the Tigers need to become nationally

relevant again.

Following Clemson’s mid-March sweep of the Boston College Eagles, the Tigers were riding high — No. 12 in the nation — following the impressive series performance. Then, a lackluster effort in a road sweep against the Miami Hurricanes showed the Tigers’ weaknesses and downgraded them from their position as one of the nation’s top powerhouses.

This past weekend saw the Tigers take two out of three against the Pittsburgh Panthers, but the series was at home, in Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Tigers have yet to make an impactful statement on the road this season, and their humiliation at the hands of the Canes occurring on the road.

Enter the Blue Devils. At 4-8 in conference play, they are second to last in the ACC, and they have been bottom feeders for the past few seasons. However, Duke has a history of giving the Tigers trouble, even at Doug Kingsmore, so the Tigers could potentially make a major statement when they take them on in Durham this weekend.

At this stage in the season, every game is important, and losing a single game of the three-game series against Duke would be a blow to Clemson’s postseason resume. The Tigers are hoping to be named a regional host for the NCAA Tournament, and suffering losses to lowly teams in the latter half of the regular season is never a good way to accomplish that goal.

Speaking on the importance of each game over the course of the college baseball season, Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee told reporters this past weekend, “In baseball, they’re all important. The 56-game schedule is a resume. You’re trying to build a resume to get into the field of 64. Then you have a chance to play in Omaha.” 

That being said, a sweep of the Blue Devils would help make that chance of playing in Omaha a little better.

The Tigers are beginning to display signs of inconsistency that are to be expected from a youthful team under the leadership of a first-year coach. Some games feature an abundance of runs, and, in others, runs are far harder to come by. The starting pitching is a bit dubious, as well. Needless to say, the Tigers must correct this if they are to have a decent shot at hosting a regional in May. Sweeping Duke would be a great start, and the Tigers should go into Durham with the confidence that they can pull it off.

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