Tigers Rewrite the Script
The Clemson Tigers baseball team was not supposed to win this series.
Sure, everyone knew the Tigers were good. They amassed an impressive 10-3 record in their last thirteen games coming into this series, including three straight ACC series wins over Florida State, Notre Dame, and NC State, as well as impressive out-of-conference wins over Georgia and a top 25 Coastal Carolina team.
But this Boston College team is great. They sat at 28-12 coming into this series, which included wins over Tennessee, Virginia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, and UCONN. Their resume earned them the no.11 rating in last week’s D1 Baseball Rankings, putting them among the top programs in the country this year.
For Clemson, beating the Eagles on the road was a tall task. Boston College is great, and the Tigers are… well… they’re just, good.
This weekend, however, the Tigers silenced the doubters, emerging from Harrington Athletics Village with a 2-1 series win, their fourth consecutive ACC win of the season.
While fans were well aware of the Tiger’s midseason turnaround prior to this series, perhaps this result implies the Tiger’s recent success should not be attributed to a “hot streak,” but contrarily, to their overall potential.
When one views Clemson’s season in its entirety, the Tigers 28-17 record suggests that they are a slightly above average power five team. However, when focusing on their last 16 matchups, the team has earned a remarkable .750 winning percentage, placing them among the nation’s best during that stretch.
This 12-4 record has not come against lower caliber teams either. With the exception of FSU, all of Clemson’s wins have come against opponents with a winning percentage greater than .500. Similarly, 10 of these wins came against Power-Five teams, and one of the two remaining wins came against a top 10 Coastal Carolina team.
Such success begs the question:
What is the Ceiling for this team?
The Tigers are quietly approaching the top 25. While D1Baseball.com did not include Clemson in this week’s rankings, the Tigers were featured at no.18 in NCAABaseball’s rankings and no. 12 in the national RPI rankings.
Assuming the Tigers continue to play at their current rate, they will have a strong chance to make the postseason, perhaps even entering it as a top 25 team.
For most Clemson fans, this alone would be a satisfying conclusion to Bakich’s first year, as the accomplishment would far surpass the expectations coming into this season.
However, the Tigers just beat the no.11 team in the country, and they did so on the road. While one hesitates to overreact to a single series, this win might imply the Tiger’s ability to do significant damage in the postseason.
While a trip to the College World Series seems like an unrealistic goal for this team, if the Tigers continue to improve and play to their potential, who’s to say they could not emerge victorious from a Regional and make some noise in a Super Regional?
However, to do that, the Tigers must first qualify for the postseason, and in order to do so, they must successfully navigate their remaining regular season schedule. They have done well thus far, handling KSU and Boston College last week, but they must extend their impressive play through to the end of May.
The Tigers will continue their march to the postseason this Friday, as they welcome the Louisville Cardinals to Doug Kingsmore stadium for a best-of-three weekend series. This series might provide insight into whether last weekend was a fluke, or if the Tigers really are, in fact, here to compete with the nation’s best.