Over the last five weeks, everyone—players, coaches and media alike—have been saying Clemson needs that one game or moment that’s going to push it back on the Road to Omaha, where it was once steady and headed straight for Nebraska.
That moment might have come on Monday while the Tigers were watching ESPN’s Selection Show Special for the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Due to the fact Clemson was awarded a regional over Virginia, the ESPN studio host and his two analysts played down the Tigers’ right to host. Basically saying the selection committee got it wrong and should have awarded the regional to Virginia instead.
They talked about the Tigers’ current slump and talked about how they were not playing well enough to deserve a regional. It was just a couple of minutes long, but during that time the Clemson baseball team stayed quiet and listened to every word.
“There are always going to be people that are going to say stuff and that is just part of it, but in my mind, and the rest of the team and the coaches’ mind, we like to have that chip on our shoulder,” outfielder Seth Beer said after the show.
Pitcher Charlie Barnes agrees with Beer saying those comments will definitely motivate the team. However, the lefty says it can be about playing with a chip on their shoulder.
“At the end of the day, we have to go play,” he said. “We really can’t worry about what people say. At the end of the day it is on us and we just have to go play.”
Clemson, the No. 1 seed in the Clemson Regional, will play No. 4 UNC Greensboro on Friday at 7 p.m. Earlier on the same day No. 2 Vanderbilt will play No. 3 St. John’s 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.
To Beer, the comments made by ESPN’s studio talent were the dose of medicine they needed.
“That is going to give us a little bit of extra confidence coming into these games because we have something else pushing us,” Beer said.
“We like to have that,” he continued. “We had that last year and carried that throughout the year and that is a good thing for us to have and something that will drive us. When we are running on fumes and it is the last part of the season that is the stuff that is going to drive us throughout these practices, going into these games and the late innings. That will drive us.”