Confidence is Clemson’s Key to Success

CLEMSON — Over the past month, Clemson’s baseball team has found different ways to win baseball games.

The Tigers first went on the road to Florida State, where they used good pitching and clutching hitting to win two of the three games. The following week at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, they manufactured some runs and let its defense help them take two of three from Notre Dame.

Then they went to Raleigh, N.C., where Clemson used the long ball to sweep NC State. Then last week, they came up with big hits and got just enough pitching to win the series at Boston College.

“It is just confidence,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “They are confident right now. They have a high level of belief, and the scoreboard has been in our favor, so that fuels the confidence as well.”

The Tigers’ confidence shined in each of the first two games of the Louisville series. Despite going a combined 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the first two games, they found a way to beat the Cardinals in each contest, including Saturday’s 4-3 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

“It is just good team baseball,” Bakich said. “The pitching and the defense are connected. The offense is stringing quality at-bats together. It has not been our best performance this weekend by any stretch. We have not been very good with runners in scoring position, but the pitching and defense has really stepped up, so that is the difference.”

Clemson (30-17, 13-10 ACC) has won 14 of their last 18 games overall and 11 of its last 13 against ACC foes. By winning Saturday’s game, the Tigers clinched the series over Louisville, marking the fifth straight week they have taken down an ACC Atlantic Division foe.

On Saturday, like Friday, they did it with great pitching and defense, plus finding a way to manufacture enough runs to get the win.

“There are going to be times when we don’t cash in and we don’t get the run in and we don’t get the hit,” Bakich said. “But there is this belief that the next guy will pick him up or we will do it the next inning or whatever. It is a good feeling. The guys have it right now. They are confident.”

Clemson will attempt to keep that confidence going on Sunday as it hopes to sweep the Cardinals to close out the weekend series. The final game of their three-game series is set for a noon start.

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