After taking the last five days off from competition, No. 6 Clemson gets back on the baseball diamond this afternoon when it host Nevada at 2 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee expects his team be a little more relaxed coming into today’s first of three games against a non-conference opponent as opposed to an ACC opponent.
“It is a little different,” he said. “The guys will be a little bit more relaxed. But at the end of the day these are very important games. We need to come out and play consistent baseball this weekend just like we do any other weekend. The message is not going to change.”
The Tigers (34-11) needed the time off from baseball perhaps more than anyone. They dropped four of their last five games prior to their break as the bullpen especially seemed as if it was breaking down. In five of their last six losses, the bullpen gave up late leads, including in all three losses at No. 3 North Carolina last weekend.
“Often times it is hard to work on the development side of the game when you are playing,” Lee said. “When you are playing, it is go time so to be able to take a step back and not have that midweek game and just focus on each individual player and say this is what I want you have to work on today, it helps.
“This is what I want you to do on the mound. This is all we are working on and all we are focused on, it gives them the chance to take a deep breath and just work on the execution part of the game as opposed to coming right into the fire and having to get outs or step up to the plate and get a big hit.”
Generally, coming off exam week has always been good for the Clemson baseball program. In the last four years, the Tigers have posted a 38-14 (.731) record after exam week to close out the regular season.
“The big thing with guys after exams is that they are a little more relaxed,” Lee said. “They get to sleep all day and they get to come out to the ballpark a little more refreshed. They are focused just on baseball so it is a little bit different once you get done with the exam schedule and you can just focus on your team and baseball and try to finish strong.
“They get to focus on themselves a little more and not have all the pressure to have to perform and be so outcome driven. So it is good. It gives them a physical break from the game and a mental break from the game and helps them recharge a little bit going into the weekend.”