Postseason softball is coming to Clemson.
The Tigers found out their NCAA Tournament fate Sunday after making a run to the ACC tournament championship game for the second straight season. But unlike last year, Clemson won’t be traveling to begin NCAA Tournament play.
For the first time in the program’s brief history, the Tigers will play host to a regional. Clemson is the 10th overall seed in the 64-team tournament, which was revealed during the NCAA selection show Sunday night. The Tigers may have to travel for a super regional since they’re not a top-8 seed depending on how the rest of the bracket shakes out, but Clemson first has to get out of a double-elimination regional that includes UNC Wilmington, Auburn (39-15) and Louisiana (45-11).
Clemson will open regional play against UNC Wilmington (32-13) on Friday at noon at McWhorter Stadium.
The Tigers’ regional host nod comes in just their second full season as a program and third overall. Clemson is making its second straight tournament appearance after playing in the Tuscaloosa Regional a season ago. But after failing to get out of that regional, the Tigers have never advanced to a super regional, giving the program an opportunity to make even more postseason history this year.
Clemson enters the tournament with some momentum, vaulting to No. 8 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings last week even with its loss to Florida State (No. 3 RPI) in Saturday’s ACC tournament final. The Tigers have won six of their last seven games and five straight at home dating back to April 16. Clemson is 22-5 at McWhorter Stadium this season and won three of its four ACC home series, including a sweep of Georgia Tech in its final home league series last month.
The Tigers are led offensively by outfielder McKenzie Clark (team-high .327 average) and shortstop Alia Logoleo (14 home runs and 43 RBIs, both team-highs). Of course, the Tigers also one of the nation’s top two-way players in sophomore Valerie Cagle, who’s hit 12 homers with 40 RBIs and has a 2.05 earned run average in 146 ⅔ innings pitched.
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