Berken In, Demmink Out?

Clemson head baseball coach Jack Leggett spoke Tuesday evening about the upcoming ACC Tournament in Salem, Virginia. Jason Berken will get the call Wednesday against North Carolina, but another key player may be out for at least one game.

Obviously a big game against North Carolina Wednesday. You have to feel good that you were able to take two of three from those guys on the road earlier this season.
Leggett: Well, they are a very good team. We are going to face a very tough right handed pitcher in Daniel Bard. They've got two of the best freshman pitchers that I've seen in the conference in a long long time. They swing the bats well and are agressive on the bases, and they've three or four left left handed hitters in the order that are strong. I think they are a good baseball team, but I feel good about our chances and good about our team.

You are starting Jason Berken against North Carolina, correct?
Leggett: We'll start Jason Berken. He's feeling better. Hopefully we'll get four or five innings out of him and get some good relief after that. Everybody has to step up if we want to win this thing. Pitching-wise we have to step up, and we have to step up when we've got guys on base. Our offense has to be in full swing to make this happen. I really have a lot of confidence in this team- I always have. I feel like our best days are still ahead of us.

This has been a streaky team this year, and these guys seem to be battle tested. Do you think that will help you in a tournament setting?
Leggett: I think when we were playing well we had a lot of confidence. Our pitching, hitting, and defense was as good as anybody's in the country. We just need to get back to that level of play. I think we are close to it. I feel good about the mental state of our team. We've had some ups and downs, we've had some challenges. We fought our way through a couple of injuries with Berken being out for 5 weeks, that really hurt us. We are just going to have to play our best baseball at the end and everybody else is trying to do that this time of year, so it's a challenge, but I think we are up for it.

Regardless of what happens in the ACC tournament, do you feel like this team has done enough to earn a bid into the NCAA tournament?
Leggett: I think so. I would be surprised if we didn't. We had some good wins. we finished fourth, just a little bit out of third place in the ACC. Our RPI and strength of schedule is as good as anybody's in the country. I'm not worried about that though. We have to continue to play hard and play our best baseball to put ourselves in a position that we want to be in and get a lot of confidence going.

Is hosting a regional still a possibility?
Leggett: I think that's a possiblity. If we were to win out through the ACC tournament or get to the finals, that kind of thing. But I think we've got to make some noise in the tournament. We still feel like that's a possibility. We've got a great facility, a great history of hosting, and with our RPI and everything I think we've got a chance.

Healthwise, how are things looking for this team right now?
Leggett: Well we are hoping Berken will be fine. He's feeling good now and the doctors have given him the green light to play. Other than that the only player hurting is Herman Demmink with his back. He's probably not going to be able to play on Wednesday because his back is just not feeling good at all. I'd be surprised if he's able to go. Top Stories