Tigers' Work May Not Be Done
Following a loss to Virginia Tech, many believed (self-included) that the Clemson Tiger baseball team's hopes of hosting a regional had all but disappeared. Head Coach Jack Leggett kept his team focus and reminded them that they could still play their way into hosting. There was times where it look like it would be too much to overcome.
Down seven on the road at Wake Forest, they could have easily folded, instead they caught fire and won 17-14 in extra innings. Then this past Saturday, Miami had held the Tigers bats down for the first time in the series and were leading 2-0. Coach Leggett kept the same attitude he had all year by telling his team they going to score six runs in the sixth inning. The Tigers responded by scoring five, so Coach Leggett is not a prophet but a pretty good motivator.
With the sweep of Miami, Clemson may have wrapped hosting a regional. Last Tuesday, Baseball America's Will Kimmey said on the "Overdrive" that he felt Clemson needed the sweep of Miami to host. Also, he stated that Georgia Tech, Miami, and Florida State had almost locked up regionals. Even though the Tigers swept Miami nothing can be taken for granted heading to Jacksonville.
The surge in the second half of the season has put the team in a position to host, but they are not guaranteed to host. If they go 0-2 in the ACC tournament, it will not leave a good impression on the committee. Potentially, this could be a very good week for the Tigers.
They are the hottest team in the ACC heading into the tourney winners of nine in a row. If they are very successful in the tournament, the hopes of a super-regional are not dead. The Tigers' RPI currently stands at 8th. A run to the championship or if the Tigers win the ACC title, there is a legitimate claim to be made that the Tigers deserve one of those top eight seeds.
This team has come a long ways since starting the year 15-13. The enthusiasm has returned in the fans, doubters of Coach Leggett have fallen by the wayside, and a young team has announced that the future is now.