Clemson Baseball: After sweep, Tigers host Presbyterian and Kennesaw State

3-0 Clemson dominated Xavier, host Presbyterian and Kennesaw State this week

Jun 2, 2023; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson pitcher Austin Gordon (56) during the NCAA Baseball Regionals
Jun 2, 2023; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson pitcher Austin Gordon (56) during the NCAA Baseball Regionals / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The opening series of a collegiate baseball season is typically a time ripe for over reaction on either side of the ledger.

Go 3-0 and it's Omaha here we come, 2-1 means there's trouble ahead and if you somehow manage to lose that first series, well football starts in August.

The truth is we don't know how good the Clemson team that swept Xavier is, just like we don't know how good Xavier is.

Given those two things, it's difficult to take all that much away from the opening series other than a few observations and the fact that three wins is better than two and every win is big if you hope to be a top 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

For the most part, Clemson played well and did the things good baseball teams do and this has the makings of a good team.

Both Billy Barlow and Tristan Smith got off to slow starts on the mound, but each found their groove and showed they belong as starters.

Freshman Aidan Knaak struggled a bit on Sunday, but from the first pitch he looked like he belonged and with some seasoning and experience will become a quality starting pitcher at this level.

Knaak's results were not what he wanted and he was inconsistent, but I trust this staff to harness and develop his obviouis natural talent in the coming months.

Clemson's bullpen was full of live arms over the weekend starting with Drew Titsworth on Friday, Nick Clayton on Saturday and Matthew Marchal and Rob Hughes on Sunday.

There were also veteran arms that we know are solid that we didn't see, like Reed Garris.

The defense was solid, with strong throws across the diamond in the infield and competent play in the outfield.

As head coach Erik Bakich promised preseason, the lineup is deep and talented, scoring 33 runs in three games, but more than that, answering each time Xavier took a lead or threatened Clemson over the weekend, beginning with inning No. 1 on Friday.

It remains to be seen how much of that was Xavier pitching and how much was the Tigers bats, but the early returns are encouraging, despite not taking advantage of several opportunities with the bases jammed with runners.

Another point Bakich made during preseason shouldn't be overlooked: The Tigers' depth was challenged starting in game two with the late scratch of Jacob Jarrell and then on Sunday with Will Taylor missing the game due to a death in the family.

Challenge accepted and successfully handled as Jimmy Obertop moved to catcher and Jack Crighton had a day at the plate and made a nice catch in left on Sunday.

Clemson Baseball hosts Presbyterian Tuesday and Kennesaw State over the weekend

The Tigers are scheduled to host 4-0 Presbyterian College on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The Blue Hose are coming off a 4-game sweep on St. Peters, traditionally one of the worst programs in NCAA Division I, in which Presbyterian put up 58 runs in the four games, scoring 16 runs apiece in three of the games.

Perhaps the biggest question Tuesday is how will Austin Gordon look after not pitching in the opening series due to not being stretched out per Bakich.

Over the weekend, Clemson takes on Kennesaw State of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The Owls (1-2) lost two of three to the University of Alabama-Birmingham over the weekend, host Mercer on Tuesday and play at Wofford on Wednesday before traveling to Clemson for the weekend series.