Clemson Baseball

Tigers sweat out selection show, return to postseason for eleventh straight year

May 27, 2019

CLEMSON -- For the eleventh consecutive year, Clemson baseball is back in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers will be heading to Ole Miss for the Oxford Regional as the No. 3 seed and will play two-seeded Illinois on Friday at 4 pm. The Rebels will play Jacksonville State at noon on Friday.

Clemson, which sat squarely on the bubble, finished the season with a 34-24 record, and were 16-16 in ACC play. The Tigers are No. 38 in the RPI and are 8-7 against teams in the top 25. Illinois is No. 28 in the RPI and finished with a 36-19 record.

“Very excited about the opportunity to take our team down to Ole Miss,” head coach Monte Lee said after the selection show. “Playing the University of Illinois in the first game is certainly a tough test for our team, but our guys are very excited… Just grateful for the opportunity to get to continue our season.”

This was the first time in a while the Tigers found themselves sweating a bit on Selection Monday. Clemson’s sweep against No. 14 national-seeded North Carolina and winning three out of four against No. 7 national-seeded Louisville outweighed losses to Presbyterian College, Winthrop, and being swept by Duke and Florida State.

There was a bit of anxiety in Clemson’s clubhouse.

“I mean I’d be lying if I said we didn’t (get nervous) a little bit,” Logan Davidson said. “We worked hard to get here. We’re just going to take advantage of it.”

“There’s always a level of nervousness and worry when you know you’re on the bubble,” Lee added. “We felt like we were in good shape, but you just never know.”

This is the first time since 2015 that the Tigers will be playing a regional away from Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson has failed to make it out of a regional, home or away, since 2010.

The key to Clemson getting out of the regional will start at the pitcher’s mound where the Tigers will look for quality innings from three different starters. Coming off the best outing of his career, Mat Clark will start either game one or game two.

Clark, Davis Sharpe, and Jacob Hennessy are the three pitchers who are “in the conversation” to start this weekend in Oxford.

“You have to look at your depth in starting pitching, and you have to look at what you feel like for your team is the best scenario starting pitching wise to win the regional,” Lee said. “We obviously know how important winning Game 1 is, but you also want to put yourself in a position to win the regional.”

The Oxford Regional is matched up with the Fayetteville (Arkansas) Regional. The last time Clemson won a regional was 2010 at Auburn when Clemson eventually advanced to the College World Series.

The Tigers are hoping to play their best baseball of the season as they head back to SEC Country.

When he was asked if he’s learned anything from playing in the postseason while at Clemson, Logan Davidson looked up and gave a quick smile.

“Anything can happen,” he said. “That’s pretty much it.”

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