CLEMSON BASEBALL

Tigers start final stretch of games facing college baseball superstar
Clemson hits the road for all four games this week, starting at Georgia on Tuesday.

Tigers start final stretch of games facing college baseball superstar


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson baseball enters the final stretch of the 2024 regular season schedule looking to add to its resume, and it will have to do that on the road. And it all begins with a game against one of the nation's best players.

The Tigers have played 39 games and have 15 left to play. Two games on the initial 56-game schedule – a road game against South Carolina and a home game against Coastal Carolina – will not be made up, leaving the team with a 54-game schedule. Twelve of those games are conference games – six at home and six away – with all three non-conference games on the road.

Clemson sits at 32-7 overall with a 13-5 record in the ACC. The Tigers sit two games ahead of Florida State (31-8, 11-7) in the ACC Atlantic. The Tigers swept Florida State at home in March. The Tigers are 2 1/2 games ahead of an NC State team that won two out of three at Clemson a week ago.

Yes, No. 5 Clemson has just six home games (but hope to host an NCAA Regional) remaining and will have to do the majority of its work on the road, starting with a Top 25 matchup at No. 20 Georgia Tuesday night (7 p.m./ESPNU).

How does head coach Erik Bakich feel about his team heading into these final 15 games?

“From the pitching side, Tristan Smith coming back, that's big, and now we're going to get him built back up,” Bakich told TigerNet. “And so we will be going into the final stretch of the regular season with a rotation with him in it. That'll be good to see. We moved Austin Gordon to the bullpen and start to work from back to front with some of these high leverage guys. We feel really good about that.

“And then it's the outliers, it's the guys (like Nathan Hall, Cooper Blauser, and Jack Crighton) that may have a role now that didn't really have a role before. So it's still moving those pieces around and figuring out what fits best defensively. I think we're going to have some moving parts because Jimmy Obertop and Jacob Jarrell can't catch every single game. They're going to share those duties, which moves first base around with Will Taylor out.”

Bakich said the coaches are still figuring out lineups and when to mix and match against certain pitchers.

“We're going to have to play some matchups with left and right-hand pitching with Bissetta being the left-handed hitter, and Crighton being a right-handed hitter and Hall being a right-handed hitter. Crighton can also play first base. So, we have some things that we can still figure out. I think these 15 games are going to be part of the figuring it out phase of what's going to make us the best team and figure out what's going to help us win the most," Bakich said. "So the last couple of weeks, if it seems sometimes out of rhythm or out of sync, it’s just because we're trying to figure that out. So hopefully we get it figured out here in the next week or two and get back into a good steady flow and steady rhythm as we get into May and into June.”

The road trip to Athens to take on Georgia means facing Charlie Condon, the 6-6 sophomore superstar who leads the nation with 26 homers and is 12th with 56 RBIs.

“They're a great team, and he and the guy from Morehead State (Roman Kuntz) are kind of the front runners for the Golden Spikes (Award, given annually to the best player),” Bakich said. “So yeah, he may get the Barry Bonds treatment. We may walk him with the bases loaded. Don't be surprised if we do. We've already talked about it. He's a superstar, and he's having a superstar year.”

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