Now securely in the ACC Tournament field, Clemson baseball can finish anywhere from fourth (and a spot in Pool A) to eighth place (a play-in game for Pool A).
Clemson 8, BC 4
Tigers power 3 HRs out of DKS
They took steps toward easing their path in Greensboro with the 8-4 win over Boston College Thursday night.
With another win and a Wake Forest loss, the Tigers will clinch a top-6 seed for pool play beginning as early as next Wednesday. A sweep over Boston College would do the trick as well.
After rain in the Triad yesterday, the Deacs host No. 1 Virginia in a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.
Eyeing a move up, the Tigers (14-13 ACC) can catch both Duke (15-13) and UNC (14-13) to avoid a group of death in ACC Tourney Pool B (two top-10 teams).
UNC plays a doubleheader today with the red-hot No. 7 Miami Hurricanes (3 p.m. first game). Clemson can finish ahead of the Heels with a series win and a UNC series loss.
Duke dropped its opener down at No. 4 Florida State Thursday. Clemson can jump the Blue Devils with the combination of two Duke losses and a Tigers’ series win or a Clemson sweep and one more loss in Tallahassee.
Maryland, at 15-14, can ensure a top-6 seed if UNC or Clemson lose their series or Duke is swept - and Wake Forest drops one versus Virginia.
Confused? For Clemson’s hall of fame coach, the message is pretty simple.
“You couldn’t tell me what’s going on,” Leggett said. “You would know more than that. I’m just concerned with winning the ballgame and getting ourselves in a better position. I know what happens if we win two games and if we win three. I think about us playing well and getting some momentum going into the tournament.”
Leggett has had to shake things up due to injury and looks to have found the optimal lineup both hitting and fielding.
Sophomore infielder Tyler Krieger (shoulder) has moved into a designated hitter role, where he leads Clemson in batting (.346), hits (66) and runs (46). Junior catcher Garrett Boulware has moved to left field, shifting Jay Baum has moved to shortstop and freshman Chris Okey into a every-day catcher role.
A seven-run lead late Thursday, Leggett had the opportunity to rest Okey, who leads Clemson in RBIs and is one of five Tigers to start every game this season (54). No. 1 starter Matthew Crownover was kept to a pitch count (100)
“We’ve been catching Okey a lot because Krieger’s been hurt,” Leggett said. “Playing Garrett in the left field to get all three in the lineup. To get him off his feet a little bit, (Crownover) has to turn around and pitch in five days at the ACC Tournament. Tried to get him out of there. Didn’t tax him too much.”
Krieger says his shoulder is “day-to-day” for returning to the infield, but he’s been impressed with Baum, who has a .975 fielding percentage with just three errors in 54 starts.
“He’s playing unbelievable,” said Krieger. “He’s playing a great shortstop. That’s as good as you can play the position for the last (few) games. It’s awesome to watch. He’s a great competitor…and he’s swinging it great too. As long as we can all keep swinging it, we have a good chance coming up here.”
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