Florida State's Seminoles, ACC Atlantic Division front-runners from the get-go, have their work cut out for them.
To win the division title, Mark Martin's club will have to sweep 14th-ranked Clemson in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee.
Considering FSU's 30-3 home record and history, the task would seem do-able.
But after the 8-2 thrashing Clemson delivered Thursday night in the series opener, the Seminoles look like - as has happened before - a team on their back-heels headed into the final weekend of the season.
Clemson, meanwhile, with a potential tiebreaker on its side, needs to win just one of two, pending N.C. State's series against Duke, to clinch the division title.
The first game in the series was not much of a contest.
Clemson scored early and often, while ace Daniel Gossett baffled FSU for his six innings, allowing just three hits as his teammates built a formidable 8-0 lead.
FSU battled back once Gossett left the game, but it proved to be too little, too late.
After FSU scored two runs off reliever Kyle Schnell, but then Patrick Andrews and Matt Campbell slammed the door for the Tigers.
Steve Wilkerson put Clemson on top 1-0 with a solo homer in the first inning, and the Tigers scratched out another run in the second, prompting FSU coach Mike Martin to make his first pitching change.
Clemson added another run in the third when Garrett Boulware led off with a walk, advanced on a single by Shane Kennedy, and scored on a ground-out by Jon McGibbon.
The Tigers then pushed their momentum with a two-run, stand-up, inside-the-park home run by Thomas Brittle, whose looping hit to center rolled past a diving catch attempt by Seth Miller and trickled slowly toward the wall.
Clemson added a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
The Tigers worked out of a pair of bases-loaded opportunities by the Seminoles, including a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth.
Clemson, now 39-15 and 18-10 in the ACC, has won nine straight. FSU, also 18-10 in conference play, lost for just the second time in 13 games.
The Tigers can clinch the ACC Atlantic Division title with a sweep or a single win in the next two games and a loss from No. 5 N.C. State at Duke - Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.