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Clemson baseball looks to make post-season run


Clemson infielders confer with one of the coaches during a game. The Tigers hope to host a NCAA regional at home this season.

What a difference a year makes.

This time last season, the Tigers were barely hovering around .500. The analysts all pinned Clemson as a fringe NCAA tournament team at best; a majority hardly considered the team at all in their projections. A bevy of bad non-conference losses with only a few quality wins sullied the squad’s resume for most of the year.If it weren’t for a regular season-ending hot streak, the selection committee would have locked the door on the Tigers.

This year, that cloud of doubt is all but gone. This year’s Clemson team has side-stepped the problems of their previous edition, sitting at a record of 25-12 that contains a perfect non-conference record, a series victory over the SEC-leading South Carolina Gamecocks and no glaringly bad losses. Barring an unprecedented late-season collapse, the postseason forecast for Monte Lee and co. shows clear skies. That being said, specific postseason placements are still very much in flux for the Tigers, and there are still questions to be answered. With that, let’s take a glimpse at the Tigers’ postseason prospects, from the conference tourney to the NCAA field of 64. 

ACC Tournament

The ACC tournament, held once again this year in Durham, North Carolina, is notorious for its untraditional format, which has drawn the ire of many a sportswriter. As such, it feels necessary to give a primer: it stars the ten best teams based on regular season winning percentage, who are each seeded in order from 1-10 (with division champions automatically clinching the top two). After a couple of play-in games – pitting 7v10 and 8v9 reduce the field to eight, teams are placed into two pools of four. 

Each pool pits its teams against each other in a round-robin fashion, and the team with the best tourney record out of each pool meets in one final game to decide the champion.

As of press time, the Tigers are in a tight bunch for one of the lower seeds in the tournament because they are one of five middle-of-the-pack ACC teams within a game of each other in the standings. The goal now for Clemson should be to secure one of the top six berths and avoid a dreaded play-in game, which would give the staff some coveted rest. 

If Clemson keeps following the pace it has set for the regular season, a tournament title won’t be required to secure a postseason berth, but a few wins during round-robin play would do wonders for their resume.

To Host or Not To Host

While Clemson’s inclusion in the NCAAs isn’t hotly contested, sportswriters are at odds over where the Tigers’ first round placement will be. and Baseball America have Clemson traveling as a regional two-seed to Columbia, South Carolina and Gainesville, Florida (respectively), while College Baseball Daily still has them pegged to host a regional at Doug Kingsmore. 

The Tigers will likely focus on the latter for the remainder of the season in order to continue building a resume. Securing a berth as a regional host would be huge for the Tigers, whose recent postseason futility helped force Coach Jack Leggett out of the dugout last summer. For the Tigers to earn a hosting bid, they’ll likely be toe-to-toe with Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina Tar Heels and NC State Wolfpack (whom the Tigers will play at home in May). 

With a loaded homestand on the near horizon against Georgia Tech, Florida State and the aforementioned Wolfpack, the Tigers will have no shortage of opportunities to prove themselves worthy of that bid.

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