On Thursday afternoon No. 1 seed Clemson wrapped up their final day of practice before the Clemson Regional begins Friday as the Tigers take on No. 4 seed UNC Greensboro in their first game at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Clemson’s practice was followed by a press conference with head coach Monte Lee, Charlie Barnes, Seth Beer and Andrew Cox. Here is what we heard:
“Well just want to reiterate what I’ve already said,” Lee started off with. “Very excited to be here. We had a great week. The guys have been working very hard in preparation for this regional. We’ve had great practices; everybody is in good spirits. We’ve worked on a number of things and now it’s go time.”
“But more than anything else we have to draw on our strength,” Lee continued. “When we’re successful, what do we do well as a team? I think our guys will attest to that. It’s been pretty relaxed but also a big sense of urgency every day to get better.”
Seth Beer then talked about what is at stake this weekend for the Tigers and why getting the opportunity to compete in the post season is so special.
“There’s definitely a sense of excitement,” said Beer. “I think one of the reasons athletes are drawn to this sport is just the amount of failure and when you succeed it just means that much more. Obviously the stakes are higher, the risks are higher. You lose you go home kind of thing and I think that contributes to almost the amount of emotion shown throughout the playoffs. It’s part of baseball at every level and I think that’s where the excitement comes and I think that’s where the fans really get involved and they really enjoy it because they know what the stakes are.”
“As a player toward the end of the year you’re kind of getting to that point where your body is starting to feel it,” Beer continued. “It’s almost like it’s a brand new start. You’re running on fumes yet there is something driving you. You don’t exactly know what it is but something is there. Something is pushing you hard every pitch, every at-bat, every time you get on the field and that’s what makes the post season so special.”
When Andrew Cox was asked if he was nervous going into last Sunday night knowing there was a possibility that his time playing at Doug Kingsmore Stadium was over, he responded, “I’m not going to lie I was pretty nervous but at the same time that’s out of my control. We had done what we could do and at that point it was just sit back and wait, but like Coach (Lee) was saying earlier, you have to have faith and you have to have evidence and I feel like our evidence was our body of work throughout the course of the season.”
“As a collective unit,” Cox continued, “I think there’s a sense of urgency to prove to ourselves that we belong here and this was deserving and I think our guys will be ready to come out tomorrow and play some good baseball for the weekend.”
Pitcher, Charlie Barnes spoke about how it feels to be in the spotlight during big moments and how he handles the pressure that comes along with those situations.
“I would say the pressure is what makes it fun,” Barnes said. “That’s why we come to Clemson; to be in situations where everyone is looking at you to make a pitch. That’s why I’m here. That’s why everyone comes to Clemson; to make a pitch or get an at-bat or make a play whenever the pressure is on you. So I would say the fun is in the pressure. That’s why we play and that’s why we love the game.”