Tigers Sweep Cardinals!
Coming into April, Clemson Baseball was 0-3 in ACC series in 2023, and sat dead last in the conference’s Atlantic division. A momentous month and a half later, the Tigers have won each of their last five ACC series, boasting a 12-3 record in those matchups, and currently hold the second place seat in the division standings.
Louisville became the Tigers’ most recent victim, as Clemson Baseball swept the Cardinals in their three game series. The Tigers have now earned more than 30 wins on the year, cementing themselves as one of the most competitive teams in the nation.
Some series are defined by big at-bats, great defensive plays, or standout pitching. While this series had all of that, it was defined by Clemson’s sheer will to will.
Though they achieved the sweep, Clemson did not play their best ball in these three games. There were moments when the Tigers looked lethargic: there were baserunning mistakes, defensive errors, and less than ideal approaches to at-bats.
The effects from these miscues were negated though, due to outstanding plays in crucial moments.
The Tigers had 15 hits in game one, for example, but finished 2-13 with runners in scoring position, a statistic which typically does not translate to offensive success. However, the Tigers were able to rally from an early 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the 6th via a clutch home run by Amick.
The Tigers would take the lead in the 7th by way of a bases loaded walk by Will Taylor. They would add 2 more in the same inning by a Grice HBP and an Amick sac fly.
In Game 2, the Tigers would earn a hard-fought, one run win over the Cardinals. This 4-3 win was due in large part to Will Taylor’s nine pitch, bases loaded walk, which gave the Tigers the lead.
The Tigers reinstated their dominance on Sunday, winning by a final score of 7-3. This game, which was highlighted by a career high 11 strikeouts by SP Caden Grice, sealed the sweep for Clemson baseball.
After the Game 1 win, head coach Eric Bakich shared his thoughts in a press conference shared by All Clemson. He complimented the energy and confidence he sees in the clubhouse, and believes it has played a vital role in earning wins.
"“When the team is confident, and they’re connected and there’s that synergy between the pitching and the defense and the hitting it’s just… there’s just this connectivity that we’re just going to find a win.”"
It seems Clemson is beginning to receive national acclaim for their midseason turnaround. The Tigers were ranked in numerous polls last week, and are expected to enter D1Baseball.com’s Top 25 after this sweep.
Over this last month, Clemson has flipped their season’s script entirely. The conversation is no longer, “Can the Tigers make the postseason?”, it’s “When they get into the postseason, how much damage can they do?”
Admittedly, their postseason outlook will be somewhat limited by whichever regional Clemson is slotted into. Should the Tigers be forced to wrestle with top teams early, like Wake Forest, LSU, or South Carolina, the odds of them advancing to a super regional become more unlikely.
However, with each series win, the Tigers’ seeding becomes increasingly favorable. In fact, some analysts have speculated Clemson baseball may have the potential to earn hosting rights for a regional, assuming they continue their elite play. While this may be an unlikely prospect, it is something this team should strive for.
Regardless of their seeding, if Clemson continues to deliver positive results on the field, as they have for the past month, things will fall into place as they should for Bakich and company.
The Tigers will be back in action Tuesday for a big midweek matchup against a Top 25 Coastal Carolina team. The Tigers earned a huge 16-6 mercy rule win the last time they faced the Chanticleers, but they will need to repeat their great play if they expect to get this big win on the road.