Clemson Baseball: Tigers vs Florida State Series Preview

Clemson junior Caden Grice (31) bats against Binghampton during the bottom of the fifth inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Friday, February 17, 2023.Clemson Vs Binghampton Baseball Home Opener
Clemson junior Caden Grice (31) bats against Binghampton during the bottom of the fifth inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Friday, February 17, 2023.Clemson Vs Binghampton Baseball Home Opener /


If there is one word that best describes this Clemson-Florida State baseball series, it would be this. Both of these teams desperately need to take this series.

Despite a solid 17-13 start to their campaign, the Tigers are still searching for that elusive first ACC series win. With series losses against Duke, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest, Clemson currently sits at the bottom of the Atlantic division at 2-7 in conference play.

In spite of this, the Tigers have shown promise throughout the season, particularly offensively. Their most recent win arrived in dominant fashion, as the Tigers mercy-ruled the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 16-6 in just 7 innings. Clemson plans to maintain that momentum as they travel to Tallahassee in hopes of leaving Dick Howser Stadium with their first ACC series win of the season.

As badly as Clemson wants to take this series, perhaps no other team in the nation needs a win as badly as Florida State.

The Seminoles are currently suffering through a ten game losing streak, the longest such streak in program history. Their last win came on March 17th at home against Boston College. Since then, they have been outscored 83-29.

Their losing streak is undoubtedly due in large part to a difficult portion of their schedule. 7 of those losses came at the hands of three Top 25 teams: Florida, Virginia, and Miami. Furthermore, their additional three losses were against teams who are well above .500.

Nonetheless, FSU is hoping to right the ship against an unranked Clemson team who has struggled in their own right.

Both of these teams desperately need this victory, and both believe they are capable of pulling it off.

Key to the Series

The primary matchup to watch for in this series is Florida State’s pitching staff against Clemson’s lineup.

During their ten game losing streak, Florida State’s pitchers have allowed 8.3 runs per game, far more than a team can allow if they expect to win. Conversely, the Tigers have scored an average of 7.1 runs per game in their last ten matchups, and the pitching staffs they faced in those ten games were far more proficient than what they’ll expect to see in Tallahassee.

Yet for Clemson, it is not about taking big hacks at every decent pitch they see. While FSU’s staff certainly gives up their fair share of big hits, their real issue is rooted in their inability to throw strikes. They have allowed 5.25 walks per game, putting them at 204th in that category nationally.

The key to the Tiger’s offensive success will be predicated on their ability to work deep into counts and force FSU’s pitchers to make good throws. If Clemson can do that, they should be able to buy themselves some free passes, and force the Seminoles into some costly mistakes.

For the Seminoles, it boils down to situational pitching and damage control. Florida State will need to make Clemson put the ball in play to get on base, and to do that, they must throw strikes. Sure, this will result in a number of hard hit balls and possibly some runs, but nonetheless, they cannot afford to walk this Tiger offense.

There will come a crucial moment in at least one of these three games when Clemson has multiple runners on base with no outs. When they do, they will need to deliver competitive pitches and work themselves out of trouble, even if that means giving up some contact. A one or two run inning doesn’t kill your chances, but when you start walking multiple batters, it only takes one hit before the game is out of reach.

What Will Happen

It is hard to pick this Clemson team, primarily because what one sees from them varies drastically from night to night. One evening they’ll score 13 runs, the next they’ll score 2. One game the bullpen will completely shut down the opposing offense, the next they’ll blow the game. This Tigers team lacks consistency, and it is therefore impossible to predict what one should expect from them.

However, one does know what they’ll get from Florida State’s pitching staff, and as streaky as the Tigers have been this year, it seems unlikely they won’t be able to take advantage of a struggling FSU bullpen.

Florida State certainly has the offensive talent to present problems for this Clemson rotation, but the Tigers are playing solid baseball right now, and the Seminoles are going through their worst stretch in program history.

Coming off that big win over Coastal, expect the Tiger’s bats to stay hot against a struggling FSU pitching staff. But, expect Florida State to give Clemson a fight to the finish.

Clemson will take the series, but FSU will pick up one of three to break their losing streak.

Prediction: Clemson takes 2 of 3 and wins their first ACC series of the Season

Check back in following the games for a series recap, and keep an eye out for a preview of the Tiger’s midweek matchup against the Georgia Bulldogs.