Clemson Baseball: Tigers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview

Clemson players wave their hats at the end of the alma mater after beating South Carolina 5-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Sunday, March 6, 2022.Ncaa Baseball South Carolina At Clemson
Clemson players wave their hats at the end of the alma mater after beating South Carolina 5-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Sunday, March 6, 2022.Ncaa Baseball South Carolina At Clemson /

Home Sweet Home!

After four straight road games, the Clemson Tigers will return to Doug Kingsmore stadium on Friday, April 14th, to kick-off a home series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

For the majority of the 2023 season, Clemson’s baseball team has been exceptionally mediocre. Not great, but not bad either. For the most part, the Tigers have beaten the teams they were supposed to, and have fallen to those that were thought to be better than them.

That mediocrity, however, is perhaps beginning to change. After a 10 run win over Coastal, a road series win over Florida State, and a dominant showing against UGA in Athens, Clemson’s team is coming into this series playing their best ball of the season, and looking to prove their worth against a talented Notre Dame team.

The Fighting Irish currently sit fourth in the ACC’s Atlantic division. Despite coming off an extra inning loss to Michigan State, the Notre Dame has shown their capability throughout this season, earning wins against top teams like Louisville and Wake Forest during their campaign. Their success is due in large part to a strong batting order and marksman-like pitchers.

Defeating the Irish is a big ask for this team, but Bakich is hoping his team’s newfound momentum will carry them to their second ACC series win of the season.


Last season, Notre Dame swept the Tigers in South Bend, outscoring Clemson by an average of roughly 5.34 runs per game. If the Tigers hope to beat the Irish this weekend, their pitchers will need to contain this lineup.

But if Clemson can pitch as well as they have during their recent stretch, they should be poised to do just that. Clemson’s starters allowed just 3 runs combined in their last three starts against FSU and UGA. Similarly, the bullpen flexed its muscles in Athens, posting a shutout in 6.1 innings of work.

If they can replicate their recent success in this series, they should be able to limit a Notre Dame offense that, through this point in the season, has posted the lowest batting average (.228) and lowest slugging percentage (.378) in the ACC. 

Judging by these stats, one might wonder how Notre Dame’s team has been able to maintain competitiveness in the conference. It is worth noting that these stats may be a bit misleading, as Notre Dame’s lineup is especially top heavy.

For the Tigers, their success in this series will be predicated on their ability to limit the impact of their best batters. If they are able to consistently retire the top four of the Irish’s order, especially first baseman Carter Putz, the Tigers should be able to restrict Notre Dame’s ability to score.

Offensively, the Tigers will need to find a way to scratch runs across a Notre Dame starting rotation that has looked dominant to this point in the season. Two of the three starters the Irish will send to the mound this weekend–Jackson Dennies and Jack Findlay–both have a sub 3.00 ERAs this season. Black Hely has also been good this year, allowing only 5 home runs in his 35.1 innings of work.

Scoring against these starters will be a difficult task. Expect Bakich to manufacture runs through aggressive base running and small ball play, forcing the action to generate traffic on the base paths. Likewise, expect Clemson’s aggressive approach at the plate to continue in this series. They should look to swing early if they see good pitches, but also remain content fighting deep into at-bats and working walks.

The true key for the Tigers in this series is getting to these starters. Notre Dame’s bullpen is not nearly as efficient as their starters are, and if Clemson can chase their top pitchers from the game early, they may have an opportunity to steal some wins in the later innings.


Notre Dame looks like the better team, and when all is factored in, they should win this series. But, as sports fans know, that does not always translate to on-field success. Especially not in baseball, when results are oftentimes determined by timely hitting and clutch pitching.

Notre Dame has the arms and the lineup to cause Clemson a lot of trouble, but this Tigers team is playing lights out at the moment. If they can maintain their aggressive approach at the plate, and keep Notre Dame’s runs to a minimum, there is no reason why Clemson should not be able to compete with, potentially even beat, this team.

Clemson wins the series 2 games to 1 over Notre Dame.

This series is set to begin on Friday at 8:00 EST, and will continue Saturday at 4:00 before concluding at 1:00 on Sunday. Check back following the series finale for a recap, and a look ahead to the Tiger’s rematch against Georgia.