Despite losing 12 of their last 18 games, including 11 of their last 12 games in the ACC, the Clemson Tigers were one of 16 programs selected to host a regional in this year’s NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Clemson being named one of the regional sites came as a surprise to many considering its end-of-season skid, but the news was met with nothing but excitement by Clemson starting pitcher Charlie Barnes and his roommates.
“We were really excited,” Barnes said on Monday. “I was at home with my roommates Chase Pinder, Drew Wharton and Adam Renwick. We were all at home, we were watching it, and so obviously we were really excited. It was a cool moment for us, and we’re ready to get going and get ready to play on Friday.”
Had the Tigers won a few more games down the stretch, they wouldn’t only be talking about hosting a regional, but likely about hosting a regional as a national seed.
Instead of being a top-eight seed in the tournament, however, Clemson is the 16th overall seed. If Clemson wins its regional, it will have to travel to Corvallis, Ore., for the super regional. Oregon State, the host of the Corvallis Regional, is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
Barnes and the Tigers, however, aren’t looking back and thinking about what could have been.
“It’s a new season. We’re moving on,” Barnes said. “Obviously the back half of the season didn’t go quite as planned, but everyone’s 0-0 right now. So, records don’t matter, nothing matters up to this point. We’re just ready to get going and try to advance past this regional.”
After a disappointing 10-2 loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament on Friday, Clemson has tried to hit the “reset button” on the season and view the NCAA Tournament as a fresh start.
“You have to hit that reset button,” Barnes said. “We haven’t played since Friday, so we kind of had the weekend to reset, and we’re going to get to work this week and you move on. It’s tough, but it is a new season.”
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 Tigers have won just three of their last 10 games heading into the tournament, but they aren’t worried about that. Now, it’s all about the three games they have to win in their regional to keep the season alive.
“We weren’t playing our best baseball at the right time,” Barnes said. “But it’s time for us to heat up now, and this is what really matters.”