Riding high into Tallahassee

CLEMSON - An 8-7 walkoff win against a .500 USC-Upstate team shouldn't be so thrilling.

But Clemson is fighting for the right to host postseason play. A home loss to the third-worst team in the Atlantic Sun could have been devastating to the Tigers' tournament resume.

Entering with a national ranking as high as 14, RPI ranking of 12 and strength of schedule at 14, Tuesday night's victory moved Clemson to 38-15 on the season. The win, No. 8 in a row, also capped a nine-day, eight-game span that included two doubleheaders.

Though it won't do much in the way in securing more games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the last month and a half wouldn't look quite as nice without the three-run walkoff homer from Kevin Bradley deposited over the wall in left against USC-Upstate.

Since April, Jack Leggett's team has won plenty of tightly-contested games.

Starting with their 5-4 extra-inning victory over No. 1 North Carolina on April Fool's Day, Clemson won 11 games in a row to open the month. The Tigers have an overall record of 21-3 and are 6-1 in 1-run games since.

Tor the most part, the last week or so had been a breeze. Clemson didn't get much of a fight in the two games against Maryland and Furman and three versus Georgia Southern. The Tigers won those games by a combined score of 63-15.

A loss to USC-Upstate would have taken some of the sizzle away from the recent stretch of hot play.

"During the course of that game, I was just hoping to pull that out so that bus ride feels a little bit better tomorrow," Leggett said, referring to the road trip to Florida State.

"If we had a bad taste in our mouth after this one, it wouldn't have been such a pretty ride for us."

The already long bus ride to Tallahassee would have been downright miserable. And it wouldn't have been the ideal way for the Tigers to open their biggest series against their biggest rival in league play.


Regardless of Tuesday night's result, the ACC opportunities would have still been there. But, as odd as it may seem, a win over USC-Upstate makes a series victory over Florida State seem that much more realistic.

"It's definitely big to keep winning. I think leaving the field with a good feeling today is big for the team," Bradley said.

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