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Bakich: ‘We want to build off of what we were able to do last year’

Aralynn Minnick
Head coach Erik Bakich believes sophomore outfielder Cam Cannarella will be an essential piece of the Tigers’ success this season.

Ahead of fall ball, Clemson baseball head coach Erik Bakich spoke with the media on Sept. 28, as scrimmages are slated to be in the upcoming weeks.

Bakich has high hopes for the season and believes the team is building off its foundation after winning the ACC last year.

“We want to build off of what we were able to do last year to be a championship program,” Bakich said. “But we want to advance, and we know how important it is to have that foundation in the fall and why this time is so critical. Because all the things that take place in June, there has to be that foundation in August and September, October, November.”

When asked about sophomore Cam Cannarella, who earned honors for ACC Freshman of the Year and first-team freshman All-American, and whether they’ve been experimenting with him in the infield and outfield, Bakich had a solid stance on where the star sophomore will play on the field this year.

“He jumped out to shortstop the other day, but he’s found a home out in center field,” the Clemson head coach said. “That’s where he’ll play. And he looks good out there. He’s comfortable out there. He’s a natural.”

Bakich continued to rave about Cannarella, saying, “He’s one of three players I’ve seen in 25 years that when the ball is hit, he can just put his head down, run to a spot, turn around and catch it. And that’s tough to do as an outfielder, just be able to have that instinctive ability to run to a spot and catch the ball once you get that initial read.”

After last season’s injuries led to pitching depth struggles late in the year, it seems that there is much more depth at the position right now, and Clemson continues to lean on that while they have it due to its vitality.

Aware of last year’s pitching woes, Bakich spoke to the talent on the mound.

“We’ve got over 20 pitchers. We’ve got a lot of returning pitchers, we’ve got a lot of returning guys with stuff and command that are in year two with coach Belanger,” Bakich said. “And, you know, as of right now, Sept. 28, the pitching staff again looks to be a significant strength of this team with the guys that have come back that have starting experience as well as guys who have been in high-leverage situations in big games with the experience they got last year and in years past.”

Bakich’s final message emphasized growth and improvement, separating last year’s team from this year’s while building on successes.

“Once you start that path, that journey on daily growth, daily improvement, there’s no finish line for that,” Bakich added. “You got to separate the two (last year and this year’s team), but you also got to take the things that you did well and improve upon them and the things you didn’t do well and improve upon them as well.”

The team will travel to Conway, South Carolina, on Oct. 14 to face Coastal Carolina, and the following day will head to Greenville, North Carolina, to take on East Carolina.

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Angelo Feliberty
Angelo Feliberty, Senior Reporter
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