Lee says Tigers have to do little things right to bring home another ACC Championship
With the ACC Tournament on the way at Durham Bulls Park in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, the Clemson baseball team spent the day practicing at the Durham Athletic Park and then taking in the games.
It was a good way to start the tournament for the Tigers who play Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m. in the second game of Pool B. Clemson is the No. 2 seed and comes in playing better than anyone in the conference.
The Tigers (43-13, 22-8 ACC) have won 17 of their last 19 games and have beaten 11 of their last 12 ACC opponents.
“I think we have a lot of good vibes going on in the program and with the team this year,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
However, Lee does not believe the Tigers’ winning ways guarantee any success in the ACC Tournament this week or in next week’s NCAA Regionals.
“Momentum, quite frankly, is always that days starting pitcher,” he said. “So momentum to me, I do not know I will say is overrated, but it is always dictated by your starting pitcher. So we have to get off to good starts on the mound, every game. We have to swing the bats well. We have to have a certain level of heighten awareness and a sense of urgency.
“When we get runners in scoring position we have to find ways to get runners in and get hits with two strikes. We have to do the little things. That is the big key when you are playing tournament baseball and you are playing in the postseason.”
Clemson, for the most part, has been doing those little things as of late. The pitching, especially from the bullpen, has been outstanding for much of the year, and lately, the bats have come alive. Logan Davidson and Seth Beer have been on fire the last couple of weeks, while catcher Kyle Wilkie has continued to be the Tigers’ most clutch performer with runners in scoring position.
“I think we are a really good team,” Beer said. “I think we are firing on all cylinders when it comes to our pitching staff and our hitting. I think all of us are thinking the same thing. We are just super excited to go out and compete.”
Now the Tigers hope they can continue to compete the way they have the last month of the season, and bring back a second ACC Championship in three years.
“You have to be able to do the little things in the game, but as long as we continue to pitch the way we have been pitching and play defense the way we have been playing defense, then we are going to give ourselves a chance to win every game against anybody,” Lee said. “It is going to come down to the little things. If we can do that, then we are going to give ourselves a chance.”