This game will be Miami’s toughest challenge yet. The Tigers are a nationally ranked team, and are considered a lock for a national seed come selection day. Clemson has a lot of power in their lineup, which was demonstrated in their first game in the ACC Tournament Wednesday.
The Tigers defeated Notre Dame 21-4 in a mercy rule ended seven inning game. Clemson scored 17 runs in the fourth inning, sending twenty batters to the plate. Needless to say, that’s an ACC Baseball record.
As a result, Miami will be looking for a way to control the offensive production of the Tigers. It will start with senior Jeb Bargfeldt, who was last week’s ACC Pitcher of the Week:
Jeb’s last outing was a gem. He put together a two hit, complete game shutout against Boston College. The ‘Canes will desperately need him to repeat that performance against Clemson, and, with Bargfeldt being a senior who has given his best effort to this program over the last two seasons, you can expect him to leave it all on the mound tomorrow.
Miami will also need to play strong defense behind Bargfeldt tomorrow. The Hurricanes were one of the worst defensive teams in the ACC all season, often second to last or last in fielding percentage throughout the year. However, in Tuesday night’s game against Notre Dame the ‘Canes did not commit a single error. In tight games like the ones that come in this and other tournaments every mistake counts, and the Hurricanes will need to repeat their strong defensive showing from Tuesday night against Clemson.
Meanwhile, Clemson will look to continue their strong play over the last few weeks into this game. The Tigers have been red hot recently, currently sitting on a seven game win streak. CU isn’t a team that gets put away easily, and they’ll certainly come into the game tomorrow with a chip on their shoulder, considering that Miami took 2 of 3 from them on the road.
At the plate both teams are threatening from the top of the lineup to the bottom of the lineup. However, Clemson is much better at putting the ball in play and not making bad outs. As previously said, the Tigers had a 17 run inning in their game against Notre Dame. Miami had a five run inning Tuesday night. In Clemson’s inning they routinely found a way on base or put the ball in play to keep the inning rolling. The Hurricanes struck out twice and then had their inning ended on an ill-fated attempt to advance base by Willy Escala. It’s those kinds of poorly made outs that can kill a chance to plate more runs in an inning. That could be vitally important in tomorrow’s game, where it’s likely that runs will be scarce. With a young team that lesson can be challenging to learn, and it’s something the Hurricanes have improved all season, but they absolutely have to execute tomorrow.
The winner of this game will advance to the ACC Tournament Semifinal Saturday. The Hurricanes season once again rests on the outcome of just one game. In postseason baseball it doesn’t get much bigger than this. Miami just has to go out there, be loose, and remember to execute.
Prediction: Miami 4, Clemson 3
Date & Time: Thursday, May 24, 7:00 PM
Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (4-4, 3.20 ERA)
Clemson Starter: Not announced.
Television: RSN in ACC regional areas (Your local sports networks, Fox Sports Florida or Sun for most, unless those networks are blocked by other programming). ACC Network out of market or in an area where your RSN can’t carry the game due to other programming (blackouts apply).
Radio: 790 The Ticket & WVUM 90.5 FM