CLEMSON -- Thirty wins. Seven regular season games remaining. The race to host an NCAA Regional is in the home stretch.
Clemson's final eight days of regular season baseball get underway today in Winston-Salem, N.C., where Jack Leggett's team will play a three-game series at Wake Forest (23-23, 11-13 ACC).
The Tigers (30-19, 15-9) still cling to hopes of entertaining postseason baseball at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, this despite the fact that the fewest number of wins a Clemson team has had when hosting a regional in the Leggett era is 42. But Leggett remains adamant that his team can still play at home this postseason if it can close strong.
And the first step in that direction is this weekend vs. the Demon Deacons.
"You look around the country and there aren't any teams in the upper 40s or with 50 or more wins," Leggett said. "There's a lot of very good teams with records close to ours. And in our league there will be some people beating up on each other these last two weekends.
"We've just got to go take care of business, play the way we're capable of playing, and I believe we can still host a regional."
Wake Forest has lost nine straight games to Clemson, including four in a row at Hooks Stadium. The Deacs last win over the Tigers came in Clemson back in the 2002 season.
First year head coach Rick Rembielak's team is 16-7 at home, but has played just one of its previous eight games at Hooks Stadium.
Clemson will start sophomore righty Stephen Faris (4-3, 2.93) in the first game. He'll be opposed by senior righthander Brian Bach (2-1, 4.26). In the second game, the Tigers will likely send junior righty Kris Harvey (5-3, 4.84) to the hill to face Wake Forest sophomore righty Josh Ellis (5-4, 5.82 ERA).
Josh Cribb (4-4, 3.94), coming off a complete game, six-hit shutout in his last outing, will pitch game three for Clemson. Wake Forest will counter with sophomore righthander Charlie Mellies (2-3, 4.12).
- Three Tiger players will miss Friday's game due to graduation ceremonies. Senior righthander Jeff Hahn (marketing), senior catcher Gene Pierce (civil engineering), and junior infielder Daniel Pritchard (marketing) will all receive their undergraduate degrees at commencement ceremonies in Littlejohn Coliseum.
- Clemson has out-homered its opponents this season 61-18, including 34-9 in conference games.
- Clemson has a school-record 48 sacrifice bunts in 2005. That mark broke the old record of 47 held by the 2000 team. Six Tigers have at least five sacrifice bunts, including Adrian Casanova (11), Brad Chalk (10), Herman Demmink (6), Taylor Harbin (6), Travis Storrer (5), and Stan Widmann (5).
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.