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Omaha remains ‘ultimate goal’ for Clemson baseball

Matt Mynes
Senior captain Blake Wright, pictured against Binghamton last February, has high expectations for his team this season.

Two weeks ago, many Clemson fans were gearing up for the football game against Notre Dame, whether it be celebrating downtown or making final tailgate preparations. But in an empty Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the baseball team had other matters that came to mind — the 2024 baseball season.

Fall ball has been in full swing for head coach Erik Bakich’s program as they look to build off last season that brought Clemson its first ACC title since 2016. The team has played in multiple scrimmages since October, partaking in three intrasquad scrimmages from Nov. 3-5, and three more scrimmages from Nov. 10-12.

While they were just fall ball scrimmages, competition was in the air, and senior captain Blake Wright stressed how important it is to have that.

“There’s nothing more fun than competing with each other,” Wright said. “If you were out here watching, it gets competitive, and we are looking forward to the year.”

Despite a successful campaign that included hosting a super regional, Ohama, Nebraska, remains the ultimate destination for Clemson.

“The ultimate goal is to win a national championship,” Bakich said. “In 127 years of Clemson baseball, we have yet to win one. Every day, we (tell ourselves) let’s do something that this program hasn’t done ever.”

Doug Kingsmore stadium will look a little different without players such as Caden Grice, who went to the Arizona Diamondbacks; Cooper Ingle, who now plays for the Cleveland Guardians; and Billy Amick, who left the program for Tennessee. This year’s roster will feature many newcomers, whether it be freshmen or players Bakich grabbed from the portal.

“We have the talent to make it to Omaha, everybody is good on the team, anybody can play, and I think we can make even more noise than last year,” sophomore centerfielder Cam Cannarella said.

While Omaha is six months away, the foundation began way back in August. Wright and Cannarella mentioned a lot of it comes from the “classroom’” in the baseball facility, where Bakich preaches the ins and outs of baseball to the team.

“It’s where we learn the standards of the program and build a team culture that everyone follows,” Wright said.
“It all comes down to today. Whatever we are doing right now is the most important thing we are doing,” Bakich said. “We have set high(expectations), but it all starts with improvement, growth, and getting better every day.”

Clemson looks to make history this season, starting with opening day on Feb. 16, 2024, as the first day of a three-day series against Xavier at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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Patrick Driscoll
Patrick Driscoll, Senior Reporter
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