Lofty weekend goals

CLEMSON - Daniel Gossett doesn't want to win one or two games during this weekend's series at Florida State. He wants the whole darn thing.

A road sweep of the eighth-ranked Seminoles could do wonders for the Tigers' already strong NCAA Tournament resume.

"Honestly, we need to go down there and sweep," Gossett said. "We need to do our best to try and host. That's the goal, try and host. Try and host Supers, get to Omaha."

At home is where you want to be in postseason baseball.

"We were talking about it in the bullpen. Statistics show [that] not hosting a Regional is not where you want to be," Gossett said. "If we go down [to Florida State] and take care of business so we can host, that would be ideal for what we can do."

No. 14 Clemson [38-15, 17-10 ACC] opens its three-game clash with No. 8 Florida State [42-10, 18-9 ACC] on Thursday night at 6.

"We've got our own fate in our own hands, so it's just about going down there and playing good baseball, playing confidently and going down there and playing like we can play," said Jack Leggett, who will be taking Clemson to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time during his stint as head coach.

But, first things first: this weekend's series.

"They're a good baseball team. They're solid. They're a team that's got some good pitching, some good offense," Leggett said. "They've been playing well all year long. It will be a real good challenge for us."

After Tuesday night's win over USC-Upstate, Leggett wasn't ready to pound the table and make the case that Clemson deserves to host a Regional.

"I haven't thought about that, to be honest with you," he said. "I don't think we've clinched anything. There are a lot of good teams in our conference that are battling to have the same opportunity as us.

"We've got to go down [to Tallahassee] and play well. We've got to play in the ACC Tournament. We've got two more weeks of baseball before that gets determined."

But there is speculation that just one Clemson win over Florida State would clinch a Regional host spot.

"I don't think that's a given," Leggett said. "I think it puts us in a better spot."

Off on the right foot

Gossett relishes the moment. The sophomore righty looks forward to the pressure that comes with being the ace of a pitching staff.

The numbers back it up.

In 13 outings this season [all starts], Gossett is 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA. In 80 innings of work he's struck out 80 and walked 28. Opposing batters have are hitting .213 against him.


Kevin Bradley hit his first-career homer on Tuesday night.
He knows Thursday isn't just another game.

"In reality, it is a little bit bigger deal, but you have to go in just like every other start," Gossett said. "You can't think, ‘OK, well, now we're trying to host, so now it's time to turn it on.' It's all about the next pitch, trying to get to the next pitch.

"You've got to have that mentality every time you go to the ball field…it's got to be turned on from the word go."

Introducing, Kevin Bradley

Jon McGibbon would have made his 53rd start of the season at first base had he not come down with an illness before Tuesday night's game against USC-Upstate.

In his place stepped Bradley, the first player not named McGibbon to start at first for Clemson this season.

Bradley, who went 2-for-3, hit the game-winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Clemson an 8-7 win.

The freshman from Pennington, N.J. won't use the walkoff bomb as a means to lobby for more starts at first.

"I know I can't quite do what [McGibbon] can do over there at first base. I know we're all going to be happy when he gets back," Bradley said. "I'm just glad I could help out."

Over the last few weeks, McGibbon has been one of the hottest hitters in the Clemson lineup. His batting averaged is up to .270 and he's second on the team with 37 RBI.

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