CLEMSON- No matter what happens from here on out, Erik Bakich will always remember his first Clemson baseball team. And he is going to make sure his future teams remember them as well. Team 126.
The Tigers are in the midst of a remarkable turnaround. After the 5-4 walk-off win over North Carolina on Friday, Clemson has now won eleven straight, 16 of 17, and 22 of its past 26 games. They have gone from sitting at 2-8 in league play and possibly in danger of missing the ACC Tournament to a potential national seed. And they have done it in a span of six weeks.
“I don’t even know if I can put it into perspective right now, but you know I’ll probably try to at some point,” Bakich said.
The fact that the Tigers are doing this under a new coaching staff makes what has transpired even that much more impressive. However, Bakich insists that it is the players that deserve all of the credit.
“Transitions are never easy,” Bakich said. “But for these guys to be as hungry as they’ve been and be bought in, all in, from the start. From August, you know. They’re just awesome to be around. Love being around them, love coaching them and they’re very deserving because they worked their butts off.”
“They did not want their story to be something where Clemson was not having success. And they took it upon themselves to do that and it could have been very easy to be resistant to some things that were maybe a little bit different, but they were all in from the start.”
Clemson will finish the regular season having won its last seven ACC series, with at least three of those coming by way of the sweep. The Tigers will head to Durham next week as the three-seed in the conference tournament and no matter what happens in the regular season finale against the Tar Heels on Saturday, Bakich’s team will head into postseason play with serious momentum on its side.
However, regardless of what happens once the postseason begins, Bakich won’t let anything tarnish the legacy of his first team at Clemson, and the 126th team in program history.
“For them to see the results that they’re seeing now, especially after we didn’t get the results, because that’s when you really question, is this working. And we didn’t change lanes. We didn’t just all of a sudden stop doing this and start doing that. And they stayed with it as well. So all the credit goes to them because they stayed positive when it was really tough.”
“They never lost hope and they never lost their positive attitude, and that’ll be something that they’ll always be remembered for is how they turned this season around. Whatever happens the rest of the way, how they turned this thing around. Just to be in this position, it will go down forever. It’s something that I know I’ll talk to future Clemson teams about. If you ever have a tough start or have a rough go of it, just a remember what Team 126 did.”
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