Tigers have something to prove

CLEMSON — As 20th-ranked Clemson enters Friday's game against No. 5 Miami, the Tigers see not only the obstacle that lay in front of them in the Hurricanes, they also see the opportunity that could come by beating them.

Currently Clemson (21-11, 9-6 ACC) sits in first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division by two games in the win column. If the Tigers can somehow find a way to win the weekend series against Miami, then they could quite possibly separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the ACC.

"As a player we don't look at it that in depth," Friday starter Casey Harman said Thursday. "We just have to go out there and win these games against a good Miami team that swept us last year and is a team we really need to beat and a team really want a win against."

It would also give the Tigers another win against a top 10 team something they have not done much of in the last season and a half. Last year, Clemson was swept by North Carolina, Florida State and Miami in the season series at the time when all three clubs were ranked inside the top 10.

The Tigers have fared a little bit better this year, but they have just one win in five tries against top 10 teams.

"If you check our schedule, the losses we have had in the last two years, 14 or 15 of those losses were to teams that were ranked No. 1 in the country at that time," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "Our schedule was No. 1 in the country last year and it is probably harder this year.

"It is harder, that is all it is to it. It's beyond what most people would do."

Leggett says this weekend is a good opportunity to see how much his team has grown and where they are at as they start heading down the home stretch in the ACC Championship race.

"I think it is a good barometer to see where we are," he said. "It was a good one last week against Georgia and showed that we can play with anybody. We have not been over matched physically by anybody yet and you just have to sure up every little thing."

In three of those four losses versus top 10 teams Clemson has lost by one run.

"I think we are a good team," Harman said. "We are at the phase that when we are losing, we're losing by just a little bit. Once we can overcome that hill we are going to be a very tough team to beat.

"It is tough losing by one run and it is never a good thing to be losing games in the ninth, but we do know we are right there and we are close. All we have to do is find someone to fill that spot in the ninth and just get everything going and make our gaps bigger when we are winning."

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