Opposing coach says Clemson has the "makings of a really good team"

by - Senior Writer -
Heefner (center) says Clemson has the makings of a really good team
Heefner (center) says Clemson has the makings of a really good team

CLEMSON – Dallas Baptist University head baseball coach Dan Heefner’s team plays the best competition from across the country year in and year out, and he says Clemson has the makings of something special this season.

In the eleven years with Heefner at the helm, DBU has appeared in seven NCAA tournaments, won three MVC titles, and produced forty-three MLB draft picks, including 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs.

In 2011 the Patriots emerged from the Fort Worth, TX Regional (TCU) to earn an appearance in Santa Clara Super Regional against Cal. In 2015, DBU hosted the Dallas Regional, where the Patriots fell to fourth seed VCU in the final game. The Patriots have won 40 or more games in six out of the past seven seasons and entered the 2018 season as one of only 18 teams in the nation to advance to the NCAA Tournament in at least six out of the last seven years.

The 2018 Patriots entered the weekend ranked as high as 10th in some polls but were swept in a three-game series by No. 11 Clemson.

Tiger pitchers were stellar all weekend, giving up just four runs in 27 innings. Only two of the four runs scored this weekend by the Patriots was earned. The Patriots had just 17 hits on the weekend, striking out 33 times while walking six times. All three Clemson starters, Jacob Hennessy, Brooks Crawford and Jake Higginbotham, earned wins in the series.

Heefner met with his team in left field after the sweep and had a message for the club.

“The message is that Clemson has a good ballclub and that is the type of team we will have to beat late in the year,” Heefner said. “Obviously, there are some things we can learn from the weekend, and I don't think there is any good team that cruises from the start to the finish during the year, and I think every time you have a championship-type team you look back on the year and there was a point where they went through some adversity and learned from it. That's the message to our guys, is this is an opportunity to learn and make us better. If we do what we did this past weekend, it's a long season. You just have to learn from it.”

He said he hopes playing series in places like Clemson will help his team down the road.

“I think this will help us,” he said. “That is why you schedule series like these, to put your guys in these situations and make them face adversity early.”

What are his thoughts on the Tigers, who now sit 7-0?

“I think they are solid. They have some very mature hitters who have a very good approach at the plate. It's a tough lineup,” Heefner said. “They have very good plate discipline. They play very solid defense. On the mound, its a really good mix. They have a lot of different looks they can throw at you. They all pounded the strike zone with multiple pitches and then on the back end they have some guys with shutdown stuff. They have the makings of a really good team. If you play defense and pound the strike zone and have tough at-bats, then you are going have to success.”

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