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Bakich’s return to Clemson ‘a dream come true’

Max Knipstein // Contributor

Clemson baseball head coach Erik Bakich answers questions at an introductory press conference.

As Clemson baseball prepares for the upcoming season, no one is more excited to be with the Tigers than new head coach Erik Bakich.

Bakich was named Clemson’s head coach in June 2022, which stirred up much excitement for the new chapter of baseball at Clemson University.

“For a lot of reasons, we’re really excited to help return Clemson baseball to where it belongs; on top of college baseball,” Bakich said in January. 

When asked about his eagerness to open up the season at home, Bakich expressed how coming to the Tigers is “a dream come true” after serving as a volunteer assistant coach for Clemson in 2002.

“This brings back a lot of nostalgia and the feelings of being here for the first time,” Bakich said of his return. “I just feel that deep appreciation of being at such an awesome place that values their baseball program and has such a passionate fanbase following their community.”

After 10 years of coaching at the University of Michigan, Bakich traded the cold temperatures for a chance to lead the Clemson Tigers.

“I pinch myself every day,” he said. “I still can’t believe it’s January, and we’re looking at blue skies.”

In 2019, Bakich led Michigan to the College World Series championship series, proving that he is well capable of taking a team all the way to the top.

As for his team, Bakich made it clear how important it is for his players to commit to greatness on and off the field.

“Champions behave like champions before they become champions,” Bakich said. “What they do in the classroom is connected to community service, which is connected to playing on the field.” 

His principles are already paying off, as his team set the all-time GPA record for Clemson baseball in the fall 2022 semester.

As with any season, a big question on fans’ minds leading up to the season opener is the starting lineup. In regards to this conundrum, Bakich wasn’t committal to any set lineup but has an idea of who might run out in a week.  

“We haven’t defined any roles yet,” Bakich said. “Even though we haven’t named the starters 1-9, I think there are a few positions on the field that you just know those guys are going to be out there in some capacity.”

Players such as Benjamin Blackwell, Blake Wright, Cooper Ingle, Caden Grice and Tyler Corbitt were briefly mentioned by Bakich among those who will likely be included in the starting lineup.

The Clemson Tigers will launch the season on Feb. 17 with a home series against the Binghamton Bearcats. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. EST at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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Mary Katherine Mize, Asst. Communications Manager
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