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Clemson Baseball

Clemson locked in on Lipscomb, as fans mull over ACC vs SEC clash

June 2, 2023
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Clemson (43-17, 20-10 ACC) was named one of 16 NCAA Baseball Tournament regional hosts on Sunday and one of eight national seeds on Monday afternoon from a field of 64 teams. 

The top four seeds are No. 1 Wake Forest (47-10), No. 2 Florida (44-14), No. 3 Arkansas (41-16), and No. 4 Clemson. 

The Tigers, who haven't played in the tournament since 2018, will play No. 4 seed Lipscomb University, making a third appearance, on Friday at 1:00 pm EST to start the day followed by No. 2 seed Tennessee vs No. 3 seed Charlotte at 6:00 pm EST. 

Here's a quick peek at each team and how they fared against like opponents. 

Lipscomb (36-24, 23-7 Atlantic Sun)

The Bisons, ASUN regular season and tournament champs, enter the regional on a charge – winning 31 of 42 –  after dropping 11 consecutive from Feb. 28 to March 17.  

The losing streak included Power Five Conference losses to Auburn and Mississippi State, both 0-3 series sweeps, and to Georgia Tech (5-10) and Tennessee (0-10) in single game play. 

Lipscomb faced Notre Dame, Louisville, and SEC national seeds Vanderbilt and Arkansas. They lost 1-11 to Vandy but won the series 2-1 versus The Irish (5-4, 4-2, 4-8) and single games against Louisville (12-7) and Arkansas (8-6).

The Tigers lost the series 1-2 to the Jackets (3-4, 3-16,14-5) in Atlanta before their current 16-game winning streak and gave Notre Dame (4-10, 5-1, 6-4) and Louisville (6-3, 4-3, 7-3) series defeats, 2-1 and 3-0, respectively.

Moreover, the teams also have a common opponent in ASUN member Kennesaw State. Both handled them. Clemson rolled in a home-and-home series (6-2, 15-5) and Lipscomb swept three games (2-1, 8-3, 4-3) at Dugan Field.

Charlotte (34-26, 17-12 C-USA)

Conference USA Tournament Champions Charlotte defeated regular-season champions No. 18 Dallas Baptist (Stillwater Regional) 5-2 to secure their first-ever conference title.

The 49ers and Tigers met on Feb. 28 and each faced UNC - Terre Haute Regional, Virginia Tech, and regional hosts Coastal Carolina and South Carolina. Clemson beat Charlotte 9-5, throttled Coastal twice (16-6, 13-6), swept UNC and VA. Tech each 4-0, but suffered a 1-2 series defeat to the Gamecocks, 

Charlotte defeated both versions of South Carolina. In March, they won 6-2 over the third-ranked Gamecocks and 11-9 in Columbia versus the slumping team on May 16. They also traveled to Conway to take a 7-3 victory over Coastal Carolina.

Conversely, the 49ers dropped a series 0-3 to Virginia Tech, a pair to UNC (3-16, 3-5), and one to East Carolina - Charlottesville Regional (2-6). 

Tennessee (38-19, 16-14 SEC)

Tennessee finished seventh in the SEC and dropped the SEC Tournament opener to Texas A&M.

The Vols faced one ACC opponent, Boston College - Tuscaloosa Regional, and the Eagles prevailed 7-6 (10 innings) in Knoxville. 

The other common opponents are South Carolina and Georgia. They took two of three versus the Gamecocks but the opposite occurred against the Bulldogs (12-3, 1-3, 4-9).  The Tigers split games with Georgia (8-1, 4-5) and won 3 of 4 over the Eagles. 

Tennessee was tabbed No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball's 2023 DI preseason poll but exited the top 10 after being swept by unranked Missouri. Despite the fall, the Vols are a loaded, confident ball club and according to SEC fans, a serious threat to the surging Tigers.

"Clemson ain’t even getting out their own regional," The Spurs Up Show wrote with several laughing emojis.

Vols fan Robert McVol, emphatically bleeping agrees and Landon Raby thinks Tennessee prevails as well. “We are gonna whip clemsux ass all over the diamond," was McVol's response to The Spurs Up Show's tweet. 

Raby inserted the Vols’ 31-14 Orange Bowl victory over Clemson on the gridiron into the conversation shortly after the regionals were announced on Monday.

"Ending Clemson’s season in football and baseball is going to be fun."

Any team with the Vols' resume, which consists of regular season series triumphs over Vanderbilt (3-0), Texas A&M - Stanford Regional (3-0), Lexington Regional host Kentucky (2-1), and South Carolina (2-1), is a formidable foe and national title contender.

Clemson and Tennessee last met on April 15, 1997, when the Tigers smacked Tennessee 13-5 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Clemson leads the all-time series 23-11.

Tennessee is only 5-14 in away games this season but closed out the regular season with a 2-1 series ( 5-0, 12-1, 1-6) win over South Carolina in Columbia. 

There are fans hoping for an orange clash but Clemson head coach Erik Bakich made it clear on Monday that Lipscomb is on his mind. 

“This is a Lipscomb tournament. This is a Lipscomb Regional. We’re not overlooking them. They’re an excellent team. They’ve got the A-Sun pitcher of the year. They’ve got over 100 home runs, 100 stolen bases."

Logan Van Treeck, the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, is 8-4 with a 3.50 ERA and 101 strikeouts.

Austin Kelly and Alex Vergara, who hit three home runs in the ASUN Championship game, lead the Bisons in home runs with 21 apiece. Trace Wilhoit has 17 home runs, the best batting average (.311), and most RBIs (65) while Caleb Ketchup has 16 dingers and a team-leading 30 stolen bases. 

"We’re locked in on Lipscomb right now," Bakich responded when asked if he was scouting Charlotte. The 49ers have Cam Fisher, who leads the country in home runs (30), and pitcher Wyatt Hudepohl, sixth in strikeouts with 118. "I know we’ll watch video and plan scouting reports for Charlotte and Tennessee as well but in terms of where our mindset is, it’s on Lipscomb."

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Clemson locked in on Lipscomb, as fans mull over ACC vs SEC clash

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