Tigers focused on FSU not national seed implications

Tigers focused on FSU not national seed implications

Baseball

Tigers focused on FSU not national seed implications

Clemson ranked No. 9 in latest RPI rankings

With 11 games remaining in the regular season, sixth-ranked Clemson finds itself in a perfect position to land as not only a regional host for the upcoming NCAA Tournament, but possibly as a national seed as well.

Heading into today’s first game of a three-game series with No. 15 Florida State, the Tigers find themselves ranked No. 9 in the latest RPI rankings. Earlier this week, D1 Baseball.com projected Clemson to land as one of the top 8 seeds, which means it would host both a regional and super regional should it advance.

As a national seed, the Road to Omaha and the College World Series becomes a little easier.

“I think the worst thing you can do is look at all that stuff, quite frankly,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “We all know that Florida State is an outstanding ballclub and we have to play good baseball to beat Florida State. We have to play our best baseball if we are going to win this series this weekend.”

That is what makes this weekend series so important. If the Tigers (34-11, 17-7 ACC) want to earn a national seed and secure they will not have to travel in the postseason, then they have to beat Florida State in this series.

It can also help position Clemson to win its first ACC Atlantic Division title since 2010. The Tigers come into the FSU series with a two-game lead on NC State and a four and a half game lead on the ‘Noles in the latest ACC standings.

As for the importance of the RPI rankings, the Seminoles (31-14, 13-10 ACC) have an RPI of No. 11 coming into Game 1. Clemson plays no one in the regular season with an RPI higher than 80 in the remaining eight games that follow this series.

Kennesaw State is currently ranked No. 80, followed by Austin Peay at No. 104, Pittsburgh at 106 and Western Carolina at 271.

“We do not worry too much about that stuff,” Lee said. “I think when you start focusing on the RPI and you start focusing on those types of things, hosting implications, national seed implications, you are focusing on the wrong things. I think everybody is aware of it. You would not be human … If you have social media you are aware of it.

“But our focus will not be any different than it really has been all season, especially the last couple of weeks because we have had a couple of really good weeks.”

The Tigers, who have won 8 straight games, are also looking for their first win over a top 25 RPI team. Right now they are 0-5 against current top 25 opponents.

“Right now, my biggest job is to try and stay out of the way and just be consistent with what we do week in and week out lately, and hopefully that will be enough for us again to play our best baseball this weekend,” Lee said.

Clemson and the Seminoles will begin their three-game series with Game 1 at 7 p.m. today at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

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