CLEMSON — It was easy to see why No. 21 Clemson was eager to squeeze in this weekend’s series against Maryland.
With every win vital to the Tigers’ divisional race and their hopes of hosting an NCAA regional, the Tigers don’t want to squander this opportunity.
Clemson’s opponent held up its end of the bargain, as the Tigers continued their home dominance of the Terps with an 11-2 victory Saturday night.
Starting pitcher Trey Delk and reliever Ryan Hinson threw seven innings of scoreless, four-hit ball as the Tigers notched their 22nd straight home victory against Maryland, improving their overall series record at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to 52-1.
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The Tigers will have a chance to add two more wins today as the teams scheduled a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Games had been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Monday but were rescheduled because of the threat of inclement weather.
“It was nice not to have to use a lot of pitching,” coach Jack Leggett said.
“It took us a few innings to get started, and after that we started feeling our way through the ball game.”
Leggett had hoped his team would pick up where it left off before this past week’s exam break, winning four of five games.
Saturday’s rout might not have met that standard. Maryland (22-15, 6-19 ACC) lived up to its billing as the league’s worst offense, and the Terps also committed a handful of defensive gaffes — in addition to two errors — to inflate the score.
But the Tigers (31-15, 15-10) won and kept pace with No. 19 Florida State in the Atlantic Division standings.
However, time is running out on their pursuit. The Seminoles (16-7 ACC) must lose at least two of their four remaining conference games — they can sweep Virginia Tech today, then end their league schedule next weekend at No. 10 Georgia Tech — for Clemson to have a chance.
Virginia Tech’s loss Saturday at FSU guaranteed the Tigers a berth in the eight-team ACC tournament.
“We’re looking at this as a 10-game season left,” Hinson said. “We want to win all 10, but if we don’t, we’re hoping to win seven or eight and get our name in there for hosting a regional.”
Notes. Freshman pinch-hitter Richard Mounce (Blythewood) notched his first career homer in the eighth, a solo shot to deep center that made it 8-1. ... Senior third baseman Matt Sanders likely won’t play this series because of a lower back strain suffered a week ago, Leggett said.