Red Hot Tigers Head South

For the second half of the season, the Clemson baseball team has been one of the hottest in the entire country.

And it seems all is going perfect at just the right time as the Tigers get set to do battle in the ACC Tournament Wednesday.

With No. 2 seed Clemson (37-19, 21-9 ACC) taking on No. 7 seed Virginia (38-17, 14-14 ACC) in the first round, it appears the Tigers have the odds in their favor, especially after having gone 22-6 over their last 28 games.

"We've been playing about as good as we can play," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "It's just a matter of trying to maintain that momentum. … I'm excited about how we've been playing lately. Coming off the last couple of weekends, we've got a lot of confidence. Everything's started to fit together, but we're very cautious about feeling good about ourselves because you know how baseball can be."

Considering how well the Tigers have been playing the last six weeks, there's always the question as to whether or not they are just hitting their stride or that they may have peaked too soon.

"I think everybody here is in the same boat," Leggett said. "Miami's been traveling a lot. All the other teams have been traveling a lot to get down here. So it's probably a matter of who can fight through the fatigue and get the confidence going and are motivated to try to win this weekend. Everybody here is capable, there's no doubt about it."

The Tigers, which have altered their starting rotation the last few weeks, will go with Stephen Farris (6-3, 2.56 ERA), while Virginia will counter with Jeff Kamrath (8-4, 2.28 ERA).

Kamrath is third in the ACC in ERA and has held hitters to a .207 batting average. He took the win at Clemson back in April after allowing two runs and five hits in six innings.

"We're getting ready to play a very good Virginia team," Leggett said. "The reward for finishing second is that you face Virginia. I don't look at it as much of a reward because they're a very good team, they have excellent pitching and they know how to play that "small ball" game and they play excellent defense. So they're not going to be themselves, and Kamrath (8-4, 2.28 ERA) is one of the best pitchers in the conference if not the best pitcher. He had our number the last time when we played at home."

Regardless of what happens Wednesday, Josh Cribb will get the start in the second game, which will be Thursday if the Tigers lose and Friday if they win. The starters after that have yet to be determined.

"I think (Kris) Harvey looked pretty good (Monday) throwing to batters and (Robert) Rohrbaugh's been pitching real well for us at least keeping us in the ball game," Leggett said. "Then we've got Kopp in relief and then Hahn. So we'll use our pitchers the way we have been all year long."


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