It appears Clemson has likely earned its 11th straight bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The 64-team field will be officially announced on Monday (noon, ESPNU), and the Tigers are expected to hear their named called.
Where? That has yet to be determined, but regardless the Tigers will be happy to just be playing.
This time two weeks ago, some wondered if Clemson (34-24) would even be in this position. The Tigers had lost 14 of its last 19 games at the time and suddenly found themselves sitting on the proverbial bubble to make the NCAA Tournament.
However, Clemson finished strong by winning four of its final six games including this past Thursday’s 7-1 victory over No. 7 Louisville in the ACC Baseball Championship in Durham, North Carolina.
In the win, sophomore Michael Green had two hits, including a double and scored a run. It was the 11th straight game since the right fielder came back from injury that he recorded at least one hit.
“He has been a big boost for us since we have been able to get him back,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
In the Tigers’ last six games, Green is 11-for-26 (.423) at the plate with 7 RBIs and 7 runs scored. Even in a loss he came up big, as he ripped a two-out hit against Boston College in the bottom of the eighth inning last Tuesday to score two runs, tying the game and forcing extra innings.
“I talked to Coach Lee right before that at-bat, and he just told me to stay through the ball, work the middle, and luckily he gave me a good pitch and I was able to take a good swing on it,” Green said.
Green has taken a lot of good swings lately and he has helped get the Tigers going. After being injured against North Carolina on March 9, he missed the next 32 games. A week later, fellow outfielder Kier Meredith was also injured and eventually was ruled out for the season after tearing his quad muscle.
Meredith played in just nine games this season. He was hitting a team-best .319 before the injury.
“Losing him and Kier early in the season, it certainly hurt us,” Lee said. “You look at those two guys and those are potential one and two guys in the top of your order that can set the table for the whole season and for the middle of the order.
“We have not had those two guys for a good portion of this year.”
Since his return against Gardner-Webb on May 5, Green has hit safely in all 11 games he has played in and is hitting a team-high .405 with 15 runs and with a .510 on-base percentage in those 11 games. He also has 9 RBIs.
“Having him back has been a huge boost for us,” Lee said. “He is a good hitter. He is a strong kid. He is a table setter and he certainly had another good game for us and has played well since he has been back.”