CLEMSON BASEBALL

Bakich gets heated in the dugout, Tigers respond yet again
Clemson's dugout responds to the big inning (Photo courtesy of the ACC).

Bakich gets heated in the dugout, Tigers respond yet again


by - Senior Writer -

CHARLOTTE, NC – Erik Bakich challenged his team in the most colorful of ways Friday, and his team responded.

With Clemson trailing Louisville 6-1 in the fifth inning of Friday’s pool play contest against the Cardinals, television cameras caught Bakich in an animated conversation with his players. The win wasn’t necessary for the Tigers, but Bakich was not happy with the way his team was playing.

He was asked about the conversation during his postgame press conference.

“I don't know if that's a ‘For TV’ commentary, but basically get your head out of your butt and start competing,” Bakich said. “We may lose the game, but we're not going to lose the game playing like this. But I don't need to say much.”

The Tigers fell into an early hole for the second straight game and didn't show much fight through the first four innings.

“I think I started with a question asking what they thought people thought of Clemson who were watching in the stands and on TV of our effort so far, these first few innings, and I didn't have to say much,” Bakich said. “We've got great leadership and the captains of this team, they know how to get everybody to make that mind switch if needed really quickly.”

The Tigers went quietly in the bottom of the fifth, but things started to happen in the bottom of the sixth. Jimmy Obertop – whose walk drove in the winning run and three-run homer tied the score in the eighth – said the Tigers flipped the switch when it was needed.

“Yeah, once Bobby (what the players call reliever Jacob McGovern) was throwing up zeros and big hit by JJ (Jacob Jarrell), the two-run homerun and that inning was big for us,” Obertop said of the three-run sixth inning that allowed the Tigers to crawl back in the game at 6-4. “When we scored runs in those big innings, it helps us to know that we're really going to come back and so just a good job on both sides of the ball.”

The comeback win was the 24th of the season for the Tigers, and three of those have come at the hands of the Cardinals.

“We just lost to what everybody feels like is a national seed because of their ability to finish,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell said. “It’s so hard. We lost a game like that – I think we were up seven, eight, nine or ten runs on a Friday, and they just kept coming back and coming back. That’s a special team. Obviously, they have talent, but it’s something when you can finish the way they finish.”

Bakich said it’s what his team is about.

"Just more affirmation of their fight. Their resiliency," Bakich said. "Could have been real easy to mail it in today down 6-0 in the fourth, and they didn't. They just kept fighting. Just more confirming of what we already know about this team is that they have the 'it' factor and that's their superpower. Their belief, even in a game that technically won't allow them to advance, they still wanted to compete and play and play hard and play their best baseball and understand the importance of that winning feeling of competing and keep this momentum going."

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