CLEMSON—The Clemson Tigers (29-5, 13-2 ACC) and the Florida State Seminoles (21-14, 7-8 ACC) have been on opposite trajectories since the beginning of the season.
The Tigers began the season ranked as high as No. 10 in the nation and as low as No. 19, while the Seminoles were ranked as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 9. However, the if there was ever an indication that preseason polls are worthless it would be these.
Since the preseason polls were released the Tigers have been on the rise, being ranked fourth in all but one poll and are ranked fifth in Baseball America’s rankings, and the Seminoles are absent in every poll except the Coaches Poll—where they are ranked 25 th.
But don’t let the rankings fool you, as the Tigers are preparing for an all-out battle in Tallahassee as they prepare to take on the Seminoles beginning Saturday night (6 p.m.).
“Florida State is one of the most well-coached teams in the county,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “To beat Florida State, you’ve got to execute pitches—pound strikes.”
The expectation, for Lee and the Tigers, is this will be the weekend that a Florida State ballclub that has struggled thus far into the season will get things turned around.
And with that on their minds they understand that they will have to be ready for the challenge of playing in one of the greatest environments in college baseball.
“It’s going to be a pressure-packed, high-intensity series,” Lee said. “There’s going to be a high sense of urgency on their part. I know that their season hasn’t went probably the way they expected it to up to this point.
“There are a lot of things stacked against us, but I would never bet against my club as competitive as they are. We will be ready to play in Tallahassee this weekend.”
Florida State leads the overall series with the Tigers 72-66-1 (1958-2016), however the Tigers won the series last season in Clemson and went on the beat the Seminoles 18-13 in the 2016 ACC Championship.
The Tigers will send Charlie Barnes (4-2, 1.51 ERA) to the mound Saturday (6 p.m.) to face Cole Sands (5-2, 3.53 ERA). Sunday (2 p.m.) the Tigers will give the ball to Alex Eubanks (5-2, 2.92 ERA) to take on Tyler Holton (4-1, 2.47 ERA).
Monday’s finale, first pitch slated for 7 p.m., will be televised by ESPNU and will feature the Tigers’ Pat Krall (6-0, 3.09 ERA) against a pitcher to-be-determined by the Seminoles.