Despite earning a surprise national seed and hosting a Regional for the first time in 5 years, Clemson has been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament for the 6th consecutive season. After winning a rain delayed elimination game against Western Carolina 15-3, the Tigers suffered a second loss to Oklahoma State, 9-2.
Things started well for Oklahoma State when they were able to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first off of a double that scored a man from first base. From there things settled down for both teams until the 5th inning. It really was a pitchers duel until then with Clemson's Pat Krall going pitch for pitch with Oklahoma State's Jensen Elliott.
Everything went sideways for Clemson in the 5th inning. The Cowboys were able to load the bases because of a throwing error, shocker, and took a 5-0 lead because of it. Oklahoma State loaded the bases a second time but Clemson was fortunate enough to get out of the inning. Once again poor play in the field led to a big inning for an opponent, not exactly anything new for Clemson.
In the 7th the Cowboys did it all over again, this time with a little bit of small ball. Donnie Walton hit a solo shit before the rest of the Oklahoma State lineup played small ball to score another 3 runs. The 7th pretty much ended any hope of a Clemson comeback. The Tigers had scored a run in the 6th and 7th innings to cut the deficit to 5-2 before giving up 4 runs.
After that it was just a matter of playing out the remaining inning and a half and Oklahoma State clinched a spot in the Super Regional. For Clemson the season ended in a rather disappointing fashion, especially when a lot of the runs came from fielding errors and not necessarily a lack of talent.
The 2016 season was certainly a roller coaster year for the Tigers. Few thought the Tigers would even contend for an NCAA berth let alone win the ACC Tournament or capture a national seed. Coach Monte Lee was in his first year replacing a college baseball legend and the cupboard seemed a little bare.
But as frustrating as this weekend was the future seems bright for Clemson. ACC POY and Freshman of the Year Seth Beer will be back as will most of the Clemson lineup. Another season of recruiting from Coach Lee should help rebuild the talent level in the Upstate, and maybe the Tigers can finally figure out how to properly field the ball. If they do that 2017 could be special.
Check back with Shakin' The Southland over the next several weeks as we review Clemson's season and give an early look to the future.