The excitement, energy and anticipation are tangible among the players at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. It feels like opening week.
And for all intents and purposes, it is.
“The postseason is a new season,” said Reed Rohlman, echoing one of the most common phrases of the week. “Everyone’s record is 0-0, and that’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been coming in hot or if you’ve been struggling as of late. We’re excited to start this new season.”
For head coach Monte Lee and the Tigers, the motto surrounding this weekend’s regional is that it is, as Rohlman noted, a new season…a new season that starts at home.
“That’s why we come to Clemson,” said Charlie Barnes of the opportunity to start the postseason at home and ultimately advance from there. “That’s why I committed here. That’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since I got here…go to Omaha. But to do that, you have to win this weekend. And we want to leave that as part of our legacy at Clemson.”
Though the end of the regular season and the ACC Tournament may not have gone quite as the team had wanted, Clemson’s hot start to the 2017 campaign allowed for Doug Kingsmore Stadium to be awarded its second consecutive regional, and that is something the Tigers are not taking for granted.
“We went from 295 to 64 teams, and four of those teams are here, and we’re hosting a regional,” stated Lee. “We’ve advanced into an elite group of teams. We’re a good team, and we’ve done some great things this year. Bottom line is that everything starts over on Friday.”
Lee discussed that while the regional format is double-elimination, he is bringing a single-game elimination mentality to the weekend, and players that took part in Clemson’s regional last season are drawing from that experience and utilizing the same mindset as Lee.
“We’re not overlooking anyone,” said Seth Beer. “We’re not overstepping anyone. Every game is crucial. We all know why we’re here, and we know what we want to do. We’re going to go out and compete to the best of our abilities, play hard and hope things fall our way.”
With all of that in mind, perhaps Alex Eubanks summed it up best.
“Everything that’s happened up to now is over with,” the righthander said. “It’s a brand-new season. No matter if we won every game in the regular season or lost every game, we’re here. We’re in the postseason and we’re playing at home. We’re extremely excited to start our new season on Friday.”
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