Clemson baseball season in strong fashion by sweeping the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the final series of the regular series. The Tigers started the series winning another close game in extra innings, 2-1. On Friday Clemson stomped on Notre Dame with an 11-1 win before completing the sweep on Saturday, 6-2. The series saw the best parts of Clemson pitching and hitting, giving fans a real sense of optimism heading into the ACC Tournament and eventually the NCAA Tournament. It seems like the Tigers are getting hot at just the right point.
Thursday night Chris Williams with the hero. Williams hit a solo shot in the 11th inning to give Clemson the 2-1 lead and eventually the win. Notre Dame had scored first in the 4th inning off of a fielder's choice, but Clemson was able to tie the game when Seth Beer scored off of an error appropriately enough. Beer also had some fine defensive work in the outfield when he made a spectacular catch on what would surely have been a double for Notre Dame in the bottom of the 11th. The win also gave Clemson a 12-6 record in one run games, a trait that should help them as games get closer.
Friday saw Clemson break out the big bats. But as good as the offense was, Clemson starter Clate Schmidt may have been better. The righthander went over 8 innings and allowed 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 6 batters. His long start also gave the Clemson bullpen some rest after going into extra innings Thursday. On offense, it did take a few innings to get going, but starting in the 6th Clemson quickly put the game away by scoring 3 runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. Clemson was able to take advantage of some poor Notre Dame fielding in the 7th with all 3 runs unearned.
Saturday started in comfortable fashion for Clemson, but it did get tense late. Alex Eubanks had an excellent outing as a starter, he went 7 innings without allowing a run, but the bullpen was a bit shaky. Notre Dame plated 2 runs in the 9th inning and had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th before succumbing to the Clemson bullpen. In the bottom of the 9th Notre Dame Luckily Clemson started strong on offense by scoring 2 runs thanks to Seth Beer and Weston Wilson. Chris Okey also hit a home run in the 3rd inning while Chris Williams finished things off with a 2-run shot in the 9th.
With this series sweep Clemson claimed the 6th seed in the ACC Tournament that starts this week. The Tigers will open the tournament against Virginia on Thursday followed by games against Louisville and the winner of a Duke - Wake Forest play-in game on Friday and Saturday respectively. Should Clemson advance out of the bracket, they will play the winner of pool A on Sunday for the ACC Championship. Depending on how the Tigers do at the tournament, they could be in line to host a Regional.