CLEMSON BASEBALL

The sales pitch for Clemson baseball has never been stronger
Erik Bakich has the Clemson baseball program on a good track.

The sales pitch for Clemson baseball has never been stronger


by - Correspondent -

The lights in Crypto.com Arena shined a bright Crimson Tide red.

Alabama was heading to the Final Four, and pure jubilation defined its side. Clemson, who conquered a blue blood in the Arizona Wildcats days earlier, had its season cut short.

Months later, another Clemson program faced a similar fate on the diamond against a talented SEC counterpart.

If Brad Brownell could impart any words of comfort to Erik Bakich, it is that millions of eyes just saw what you were all about.

In a world where NIL (name, image and likeness compensation) dominates collegiate athletics, the transfer portal and various moving parts, sometimes you need an incredible sales pitch.

After 13 innings of chaotic baseball that saw multiple ejections, plenty of momentum shifts, and a historic catch, Bakich got to show the baseball world what he and his program were all about.

A whopping 1.2 million eyes tallied the amount of attention closely watching game two of the Super Regional in Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Even when the ESPN cameras made it difficult to watch, it was easy to see the passion with which Bakich coaches.

Selling Clemson baseball isn’t hard for Bakich to do, but it is certainly easier when the face of your program is speaking on your behalf.

Cam Cannarella, the sophomore centerfielder who received All-American honors for the second straight season while battling an injury, quickly shut down any rumors that he would hit the portal.

Cannarella isn’t a man of many words, but his short reassurance that he is staying put was more than enough.

“I love the coaches and facilities,” Cannarella said. “I love everybody here. It is a great place to be. I’m not going anywhere.”

For all of the positive things he said about his program early into the offseason, his performance in trying to save the Tigers’ season will stick in the memories of many who watched.

Cannarella, who entered the ninth inning in an offensive slump, hit a three-run homer at the top of the ninth to help send the Super Regional to extra innings.

He wasn’t done there.

The sophomore also went viral for an athletic grab deep into centerfield, with many echoing Wille Mays’ catch as one that matches the highlight play.

All-time heroics were on display from the quiet face of Clemson baseball, but the team ultimately fell short of its goal of returning to Omaha.

Perception is everything, and this Clemson program became the darling of baseball for one weekend. The strength of positive perception has a strong example close by on campus grounds.

Back in Littlejohn, another sport fell short of its goal but captured the attention of many who chased their own version of history.

As the postseason for Clemson men's basketball ended against Alabama, Joseph Girard wasted no time giving his pitch to the country on why Clemson should be a premier destination within the transfer portal.

“Do it,” said Girard. “This place has been unbelievable, and it all comes back to the culture. That’s what attracted me. The people of Clemson are great, and I was saying that during the first week, I got there, I had cookies at my apartment door from some random guy, and I still don’t know who it is. Clemson is an unbelievable place, and they win a lot of basketball games. Anyone looking for a place with great people, playing for great people, should come to Clemson.”

We will never know if Girard’s words sealed the deal, but they certainly made an impact. For the second straight offseason, Brownell got to work within the transfer portal, backed with a historic postseason run to aid his cause.

The Tigers landed four names in the transfer portal, once again retooling the roster in an attempt to reach the promised land. One of those names happened to come from Duke, further signaling the changing perception Brownell’s program is undergoing.

For Bakich, his team on the diamond faced heartbreak once again. But maybe they did just enough to catch the attention of some star power looking across the country for their next destination.

The evidence is right across the street from Doug Kingsmore.

Brownell’s stars put on quite the sales pitch.

Bakich’s might’ve just done the same.

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