Story Poster
Photo by ClemsonTigers.com
Clemson Baseball

Clemson head coach Erik Bakich: High Point, Regional Storylines, South Carolina Trolls

May 29, 2024
1,257

No. 1-seed Clemson (41-14, 20-10) will face High Point University (34-25, 17-7) at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. ET in the Clemson Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournament. 

No. 4-seed High Point won the Big South Tournament championship and will make their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.

Clemson head coach Erik Bakich is in his second season in the Upstate and second as a host of a Regional. The Tigers were eliminated in 2023 after losing consecutive games to Tennessee (5-6) and Charlotte (2-3).

Bakich answered questions about the upcoming Regional on Monday. 

On being the No. 6 overall seed, the teams, and the matchup with High Point:

“I told the guys that whatever the four seed is, that's the regional. So we've been good about just keeping our eyes focused on what's in front of us. We figured there'd be a really good, just like in years past here. But we certainly can't overlook the first game, which is High Point. So for us, this is the High Point Regional and that's where our energy and focus will be, on just what do we need to do to get in the winner's bracket.”

The Clemson Regional also includes 2-seed Vanderbilt (38-21, 13-17) and 3-seed Coastal Carolina (34-23, 16-14). The teams will meet at noon on ESPN2.

Bakich was an assistant at Vanderbilt from 2003-2009 under head coach Tim Corbin and both Bakich (2002) and Corbin (1994-2002) coached under Clemson Hall of Fame head coach Jack Leggett at Clemson. 

In 2017 and 2018, Corbin returned to Clemson and his Commodores eliminated the Tigers and advanced to the Super Regionals. In 2019, Corbin led Vandy to the 2019 CWS Finals win over Michigan and head coach Bakich (2013-22). 

On the storylines that involve the coaches in the Regional:

“I think we don't want to get emotional about the storylines. This just needs to be about the players because players don't have those storylines. Only coach Leggett and myself do so I don’t ever want the attention to be on the coaches. I told the guys that whatever the four seed is, that's the regional. So, we've been good about just keeping our eyes focused on what's in front of us. But we certainly can't overlook the first game, which is High Point. So for us, this is the High Point Regional and that's where our energy and focus will be, on just what we need to do to get in the winner's bracket.”

The Chanticleers enter the Regional with a storyline as well. Head coach Gary Gilmore, who has battled cancer since a 2020 diagnosis, announced on May 30, 2023, that 2024 is his final season. 

On Gary Gilmore and the Chanticleers: 

“I really admire and respect Coach Gilmore and the career he's had and the program he's built at Coastal. They'll be as dangerous as anyone. Playing with a lot of passion – with players trying to make sure that he ends his career the right way. There's a lot of storylines....but the team that's going to win is the team that plays the best - that's the bottom line.”

On the team feeding off the energy of the crowd: 

“When the crowd is loud and they stand up and clap with two outs and two strikes, and they actually have synchronized chants and they cheer and they get into it and they’re actually an active participant in the game, instead of a spectator, our guys absolutely feed off that, and that’s what we need the crowd to do. 

“We need DKS to be filled with six- or seven thousand participants acting as if they’re the 10th man on the field, not just showing up to watch a game. And if we can do that, wow, I can’t wait to hear this place rocking.”

On the struggles of the bullpen: 

“See, everybody says that but I think our bullpen is good. I like our bullpen. I like our options. We got some really good ones out there. This time of year you have a pretty good sample size and feel of who can do what and then you'll need some outlier performances. I think our pitching, specifically our bullpen is going to rise to the occasion.”

Clemson hasn't won a Regional since 2010 and it's a topic of discussion by fans on social media. 

On fans chatting about the Tigers CWS drought: 

“The people who bring that up over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, those are called Gamecocks. Those aren’t Clemson fans. That’s South Carolina’s fanbase that loves to troll. They’ve got bragging rights because of what they accomplished a decade ago, and that’s fine.

“If you’re going start looking in the history books, then go back to the mid-90s and the early 2000s in the coach Leggett heyday, go back to coach [Bill] Wilhelm’s days. This is a blue-blood program with plenty of rich history and tradition. If Clemson baseball truly is back, then we’ve got to go out and earn it on the field.”

Discussion from...

Clemson head coach Erik Bakich: High Point, Regional Storylines, South Carolina Trolls

1,120 Views | 0 Replies | Last: 15 days ago by Tyreese Ingram
There are not any replies to this post yet.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.