A lot of the numbers support Tigers’ chances
Earlier this week, Clemson head coach Monte Lee said he felt the Tigers earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament following their 7-1 victory over Louisville in the ACC Baseball Championship.
“I certainly think that we are a team that will be in the field of 64, and again, it was just a tremendous performance today by our team,” Lee said on Thursday. “I’ve been saying it all year long. We’ve got a good team. We’ve been through a lot of highs, we’ve been through some lows, but at the end of the day, I think this win certainly solidifies us in the field of 64, and it’s a brand-new season for us moving forward.”
Most seem to agree with Lee. The Clemson Insider’s Trey McCurry has the Tigers firmly in the field, as does Baseball America and DI Baseball.
The argument for Clemson (34-24) to earn an 11th straight NCAA Tournament bid is a good one. Not only do the Tigers have a 3-1 record against the ACC Regular Season Champion this season, but they’re 9-7 against top 25 teams and 8-7 against team ranked in the RPI top 20.
Clemson, who is currently ranked No. 39 in the RPI, also has a 7-5 record against top-15 RPI teams. The seven top-15 RPI wins are tied for third most in the nation. Only UCLA and Georgia Tech have more top-15 RPI wins.
The Tigers eight top-25 RPI wins, is one of only nine teams in the nation with both 7+ top-25 RPI wins and a winning record against top-25 RPI teams.
Also, consider injuries. Just like they do in football and basketball, the selection committee will consider injuries.
Clemson has been without its hottest hitter, Michael Green, for 33 games this season due to injury. He missed 32 of those games during the middle of the season.
In the 11 games since returning from the injury in May, he has hit safely in all 11 games and is hitting a team-high .405 with 15 runs and a .510 on-base percentage in those 11 games.
Clemson’s top starting pitcher, Mat Clark (9-2, 2.84 ERA, .193 OBA), missed the Duke series and Gardner-Webb series due to injury. The Tigers lost both games in which he would have started.
Clark was also 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and allowed just five hits in 15.1 innings pitched in two starts against Louisville.
“I certainly think that we’re in now,” Lee said.
The Tigers will find out if they are in the NCAA Baseball Tournament on Monday when the field is announced at noon. The selection show will be carried on ESPNU.
–Clemson Athletic Communications contributed to this story