Clemson (26-16, 9-9 ACC) vs. Boston College (28-12, 12-9 ACC)
Friday: (2:00 p.m.) ACCNX
Saturday: (2 p.m.) ACCNX
Sunday: (1 p.m.) ACCNX
It’s no secret that despite being in the sports obsessed city of Boston, Boston College sports, save for hockey, are often an afterthought. It is also no secret that the Northeast can be a college baseball wasteland, where the best talent migrates south to play in warmer weather and stadiums that rival AAA MiLB parks. Those who stay local must fight through frigid temperatures and spartan ball fields with crowds that consist largely of players’ parents, student newspaper writers, and the occasional professor who refuses to spring for Red Sox tickets. Yet, through all of these challenges, Mike Gambino, in his 13th season, has the Boston College Eagles ranked #11 in the nation and looking to host a regional. We are in the era of private school dominance in baseball, where schools with deep pockets are able to find ways to pad out the 11.7 scholarship limit for college baseball teams.
While the Eagles hit a mini slump and lost back-to-back ACC series and got run-ruled by UConn, they had a huge rebound last weekend sweeping #16 UNC in Chapel Hill.
Now, the Eagles are hosting a Clemson team that is playing its best baseball and finally cracked the D1 Baseball tournament projections (#2 seed in the Conway, SC regional). Clemson’s won 3 ACC series in a row, including last weekend’s sweep of NC State in Raleigh. The Tigers split the season series with UGA, who is similarly playing extremely well after a sluggish start, and on Tuesday run ruled a scrappy Kennesaw State team that had given the Tigers all they could handle in a Clemson win in Kennesaw back in March.
The boys are playing loose and its fun. Caden Grice is looking like college baseball’s Shohei Ohtani by being one of the nation’s hottest hitters and being dominant on the mound as the Sunday starter. Blake Wright continues to be a dangerous hitter and solid fielder. Benjamin Blackwell doesn’t let anything get by him at short. I could honestly sit here and brag on every player but you don’t have time for that.
It seems like every week I say this series is big, and they are, but because of wins in those big series this series is huge. First, BC is #2 in the ACC Atlantic, and this recent hot streak has the Tigers sitting in the middle of the division, so this series could have big implications for ACC Tourney seeding. Also, in addition to playing #11 BC this weekend, the Tigers will go on the road next Tuesday to face #10 Coastal, the team that Clemson run-ruled at Doug Kingsmore earlier this month. If Clemson goes 3-1 in these next few games (or dare I dream, 4-0), the team becomes a little less bubbly in regards to the tournament. Even 2-2 makes you feel good.
Weather wise, it actually looks about the same in New England as it does in Clemson. It’ll be maybe a few degrees cooler, and of course there’s a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday, but definitely better than some of the frigid trips to BC the squad has had in the past.