The table is set for the Tigers to make history Friday night or Saturday night if they can defeat South Carolina. Clemson stands just one win away from making the championship series of the College World Series. In order to get there the Tigers will have to dispose of their in-state rivals. While the rivalry may not be strong in football because of Clemson’s dominance it is very strong in baseball.
It shouldn’t be any other way for this team that has battled back from a midseason slump and done everything the hard way all season long. This Clemson team has shown grit and determination all season long.
Since the win over Oklahoma Wednesday coach Leggett has been asked repeatedly about who he prefers to play and asked questions about a possible repeat of 2002. Coach Leggett has responded time after time that he is concerned with his team and how they play, not the opponent.
The Tigers stood in the same position in 2002 where a victory over the Gamecocks stood between them and the championship series. That year it didn’t happen for the Tigers. As coach Leggett has said many times the past few days, that was a different time with different players.
The 2010 Tigers are a very talented team, but the difference maker this time around could be the team chemistry. If you look at championship teams in any sport talent you will certainly find very talented players, but you will also find good team chemistry. There is something special about this team.
Clemson should be very confident playing South Carolina. The Tigers are in much better position with their pitching heading into the Friday night matchup and the Tigers are still awaiting the breakout game of the offense that they have seen so often this season. Also the memory of the 19-6 blowout at South Carolina should help the confidence of the Tigers.
It certainly would have been easier in many ways for the Tigers to meet Oklahoma Friday night and not have the distraction of the rivalry. But this team wouldn’t have had it any other way. If the Tigers can make history and defeat South Carolina to make the championship series it will certainly be much sweeter sending the Gamecocks home in the process.
History will be made this weekend by one of the Palmetto powers. Get ready because it could be a very special night for Clemson nation.