Clemson (29-20, 12-12) hits the road this weekend, heading up to Raleigh to take on #16 NC State (37-13, 14-10) in an ACC series that could have major postseason implications for both teams. They’re not quite the same kind of implications most imagined a month ago however, when many thought it could decide the Atlantic Division.
The first weekend in April, the Wolfpack won an ACC series against Boston College and Clemson won an ACC series over Louisville. Neither team has won a conference series since. The Tigers have slumped terribly, going just 6-12 over the last 18 games, while the Pack haven't fared much better, going just 9-9 after their torrid start.
The Pack still have a ton on the line though, as they currently sit three games back of Louisville in the loss column in the Atlantic. Sitting at 25th in RPI, hosting could still be on the table with a strong finish.
Clemson on the other hand isn't fighting for a host spot, or playing for a better seed at the moment. Instead, the Tigers are playing for their postseason lives as they currently sit at 48th in RPI and have no more room for error. This is a must win series for Monte Lee's team.
What should be a well rested Mat Clark (7-1, 3.31 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) gets the nod on Friday night and will face off against RHP Jason Parker (4-2, 4.37 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). Normally the Tigers Saturday starter, Clark has not pitched two of the past three weekends, and will be making his first Friday night start.
Davis Sharpe (6-3, 2.93 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) will go on Saturday, getting an extra day of rest, and will square off with RHP Reid Johnston (5-1, 4.05 ERA, 1.35 WHIP). Sharpe hasn't looked quite as dominant of late and an extra day off for the freshman can't hurt.
Neither team has announced a starting pitcher for Sunday's game. Jacob Hennessy has been in that slot the last two weekends but struggled in both outings, and it looks like the staff will make a decision based on what transpires in the first two games.
Clemson will also have back relief pitchers Sam Weatherly and Holt Jones. Both players are coming off 4 game suspensions for hitting batters two weekends ago against Georgia Tech after both teams had received warnings. Having not pitched in two weeks, both should also be well rested, and ready for the stretch run.
The Friday and Saturday games are both scheduled to start at 6:30 pm, with Sunday's first pitch set for 1 pm. All three games can be seen via the ACC Network Extra on WatchESPN and can be heard locally on WCCP 105.5 FM, or online via the TuneIn Radio App, or at ClemsonTigers.com.