A home regional is not the be-all end-all, but it sure helps on the road to the College World Series.
SEBaseball.com, after No. 18 Clemson baseball’s recent 14-3 stretch, is the first major college baseball site to project the Tigers as a regional host.
With three weeks left in the regular season, they have a pairing of student versus teacher, with Clemson coach Jack Leggett welcoming former assistant Kevin O’Sullivan and his Florida Gators along with Western Carolina and Minnesota. In the super regional round, SEBaseball.com has Clemson paired with a Vanderbilt regional.
Clemson, in the NCAA baseball tournament’s current regional and super regional format (1999), is 6-1 in advancing to the next round as a host, while a respectable 3-3 coming out of a road regional.
The Tigers’ four CWS appearances since 1999 each came after either hosting a regional or super regional.
Baseball America is a little more skeptical on Doug Kingsmore Stadium’s postseason chances.
They have Clemson (30-14, 15-9 ACC) missing the cut along with Arkansas, Ole Miss and South Alabama.
The two most vulnerable teams ahead of the Tigers are Oklahoma, which has a RPI of 43, and Louisville, the only other host “bubble” team with a 20-plus RPI (21).
Clemson is one of seven ACC squads in the RPI top-20, at No. 17.
Both Baseball America and SEBaseball.com have No. 1 UNC, No. 5 N.C. State and No. 7 Virginia as national seeds, and eight conference teams making it into the field overall.
The Tigers are in the thick of the Atlantic Division race, trailing No. 10 Florida State by a game and N.C. State by a half-game.
The trio all play each other – N.C. State, who dropped 2-of-3 to Clemson earlier this season, hosts FSU next week, and the Tigers head to Tallahassee, Fla. to close the season.
Maryland comes to town for a three-game set starting Saturday, which begins a stretch of 12 games in 15 days to close the regular season.
The ACC Baseball Championship and its round-robin format follows in Durham, N.C. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park from May 22-26. The Atlantic Division winner clinches a two-seed in the tourney.