By the margin of one that got away Friday night, the Clemson baseball team missed an opportunity to win another series against a top-tier ACC team.
But after the Tigers' rally fell short in an 8-5 loss to No. 12 Virginia on Sunday, coach Jack Leggett had no trouble finding a silver lining in his team's performance.
"I think we're going to be a good ball club," said Leggett, whose Tigers carry an 11-7 record in a two-game midweek home series against Morehead State. "We got down today, but we did battle and we did show some toughness. After we got down, we could have let up and cashed it in, but instead we battled and got ourselves in position to tie or win the ball game. We just couldn't quite get it done."
More painful to Leggett was the Tigers' 6-5, 11-inning loss on Friday, in which Clemson led 5-1 and enjoyed a three-run edge when starting pitcher Daniel Gossett left the game after seven innings.
"That one hurt Friday night," Leggett said. "We played really, really tough, and then we let it slide away. We just needed to be a little tougher in our relief pitching, and those guys had been doing a pretty good job for us all season long.
"We hit some good pitching this weekend. That's as good a pitching staff as you'll see, top to bottom. (Thomas) Brittle started to swing the bat a little bit, and some other guys stepped up and started hitting the ball. Tyler Slaton had a couple of good games.
"I saw some good things. We just slipped up Friday night. Otherwise we walk out of here with two out of three against a very good team."
The Tigers have a chance to build some positive momentum this week when they play five home games - against Morehead State on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Duke.
"We have 45 innings of baseball this week," Leggett said. "We're going to come back Tuesday against Morehead State, and we don't need any letdowns. Some other guys are going to have to pitch for us this week, and hopefully we'll get some offense going and play well."
While freshman Matthew Crownover will start one of the midweek games, Leggett said he's not sure about who'll pitch the other game against the Eagles.
"Brody Koerner, a freshman, is a possibility," Leggett said. We'll just have to see. I was thinking of Zack Erwin, who he went five innings on Saturday. So I don't know - we'll figure out something."