Last season, the Clemson baseball team entered the NCAA Tournament on a hot streak, having won nine straight games and the ACC Tournament title en route to a regional bid and national seed.
This year, it’s the opposite. The Tigers have lost 12 of their last 18 games and lost both of their games in the ACC Tournament.
Nevertheless, because of its overall body of work during the season that includes the nation’s No. 12 RPI, Clemson finds itself in a similar position. Although it is not a national seed, Clemson was selected to host an NCAA regional for the second straight season.
“Now the season starts back over for us,” Clemson outfielder Seth Beer said on Monday. “Just like last year, we are in the same situation. We were hot towards the end, and this year, we got a little cold. But we’re in the same place, and none of it matters now. It’s a new season for us, and we’re back at square one.”
Beer admitted Clemson’s end-of-season slide had an effect on the team mentally. Now, the only thing the Tigers are thinking about is the postseason.
Clemson is looking at the NCAA Tournament as a new season, and Beer says that mindset is refreshing for the team.
“This is all starting over again,” Beer said. “We’re starting at square one. Nothing else matters, nothing in the past, and I think that’s refreshing for us because throughout the season, it’s a long season. You start off hot and you go cold, and mentally it kind of creeps into your head. So, we’re back to square one, and it’s like starting a whole new season.”
Clemson didn’t catch many breaks down the stretch this year, when it lost 11 of its last 12 games in the ACC and went 3-7 in the last 10 games overall.
The Tigers are fortunate to be hosting, and certainly excited about the opportunity to begin the road to Omaha at home.
“Down the stretch, some things didn’t go our way, and that’s just how baseball is sometimes,” Beer said. “But to find out that you’re hosting and you’re going to play in front of your fan base against some good competition, it’s a really awesome experience.”
Clemson, the No. 1 seed in the Clemson Regional, will play No. 4 UNC Greensboro on Friday at 7 p.m., while No. 2 seed Vanderbilt will play No. 3 seed St. John’s on the same day at noon. The winners will play in the winner’s bracket game on Saturday, while the two losing teams will play an elimination game on the same day as well.