Clemson softball just completed its second full season of NCAA play, and on Sunday, the Tigers hit another milestone in their impressive start to the program: sweeping an NCAA Regional and earning a berth in the NCAA Super Regionals.
In just two seasons, Clemson softball has emerged as a new power, solidifying its spot as an emerging program with a complete weekend sweep in the Clemson Regional and advancing to the Super Regionals, which features the final 16 teams in the tournament field with a chance to advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Tigers hosted a regional for the first time in its short history, and the weekend was nothing short of a dream for the program and all involved in seeing the fruition of softball coming to Clemson at the Division-I level.
On Friday, the Tigers opened play against UNC Wilmington, and Clemson wasted no time establishing dominance as the Tigers posted a 6-slot in the top of the first, cruising to the 9-0 victory in 5 innings. Sophomore Millie Thompson tossed her second no-hitter of the season on just 49 pitches.
Game two featured a classic pitcher’s duel between redshirt sophomore Valerie Cagle and Auburn’s Maddie Penta. Both pitchers threw absolute gems, combining for just seven hits, but all the Tigers needed was one hit from graduate Marissa Guimbarda, enough to score Cagle and give Clemson the 1-0 lead. Cagle would continue to dominate in the circle, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and shutting down the side in the seventh to preserve the 1-0 victory, punching Clemson’s ticket to the regional final.
On Sunday, the Tigers needed just one win to advance to the Supers, and Clemson wasted no time shutting down Louisiana. The Tigers scored one run in the first and then put up a crooked seven in the fourth to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Thompson again dominated in the circle, throwing a one-hitter in the run-rule victory.
It was a perfect weekend on the diamond in Clemson, as Tiger baseball also swept Boston College to close the regular season. Their postseason run starts on Tuesday in the ACC Tournament versus North Carolina.
After the regional win, the Tigers advance to the Super Regionals to face the winner of the Stillwater Regional, which features Oklahoma State and North Texas. The series will take place next weekend in Stillwater shall Oklahoma State win. If North Texas wins, site location will be determined, but would most likely result in Clemson hosting the round.
All three Tiger games this weekend sold out, featuring over 1700 fans each game. With Clemson headed to the Supers in just its second full season, it is clear this program is here to stay and compete on the national stage.