The final week of college baseball’s regular season is here, and Clemson’s postseason hopes are hanging in the balance.
The Tigers’ final four games will determine if they qualify for the ACC Tournament and possibly beyond.
As of now, Clemson would be the final team into the conference tournament field. The Tigers followed up their sweep of Georgia Tech with a series loss at Virginia over the weekend, dropping them to 32-20 overall and 10-16 in ACC play. But Duke also dropped two of three to North Carolina State to put its league record at 10-17, keeping Clemson slightly ahead for the time being in the race for the 12th and final conference tournament berth based on league winning percentage.
Each team has one conference series remaining: Clemson at home against Boston College and Duke at Virginia Tech starting Thursday. Since the Tigers hold a one-game advantage over Duke in the conference loss column, Clemson would clinch a league tournament berth if the teams have identical results this weekend. The Tigers could remove all doubt with a sweep of Boston College – the Eagles are officially out of tournament contention with a league-worst 5-22 conference record – but any other outcome would leave the door open for Duke to keep Clemson out of the ACC Tournament for the first time in program history.
And since the best the Tigers can do is 13-16 in ACC play, a perfect weekend against Boston College is a virtual must if they want to keep realistic hope alive for a berth into the NCAA Tournament. While finishing within a game or two of .500 in conference play is usually the cutoff for teams to earn an at-large bid, Clemson’s numbers would at least put the Tigers in the conversation if they’re able to pull off the sweep.
Clemson moved up three spots to No. 22 in the NCAA’s latest RPI rankings despite dropping the series at Virginia. The Tigers have 12 wins over top-26 RPI teams and could further help themselves tonight when they travel to Conway to take on Coastal Carolina for their final midweek tilt. The Chanticleers, who beat the Tigers back on March 22 in Clemson, sit at No. 31 in the RPI rankings, giving Clemson another resume-building opportunity.
Yet if the Tigers don’t play (and make a run) in the ACC Tournament, tonight’s outcome will almost certainly be irrelevant when it comes to Clemson’s NCAA Tournament chances. The last time an ACC team made the 64-team field without playing in the conference tournament was 2010 when North Carolina snuck in after finishing two games under .500 in conference play.
Simply put, Clemson needs to maximize the few opportunities it has left. Otherwise, there’s a real possibility this week could be it for the Tigers’ season.
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