Sometimes, a win is more than just a win.
At least that’s what Clemson coach Monte Lee is hoping.
His Tigers ended a three-game losing skid with an 11-8 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night.
After No. 14 Clemson (38-15, 16-11 ACC) blew a 7-1 lead to the defending national champions, star hitter Seth Beer crushed an eighth-inning grand slam to rally past the Chanticleers.
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It represented the release of a frustrating month for a team that was once ranked in the top 5 nationally and eyeing a national seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
“We needed a win. That’s the bottom line,” Lee said. “We’ve obviously been struggling.”
Clemson enters the final ACC series of the season at N.C. State (31-21, 14-13) on Thursday losers of its last six conference games.
The Tigers started ACC play 13-2, but they're 1-8 against Florida State, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 2 Louisville.
“What’s happened in the past doesn’t matter,” Lee said. “The only thing that matters is what happens today. We all know we went through a tough stretch, but we keep talking about that tough stretch that we went through, it’s still on our minds. We need to let that go.”
The Tigers, who own a top-10 RPI ranking, aren’t completely out of the hunt for a national seed, although it appears unlikely. They also haven’t exactly locked up hosting a regional either.
Getting at least two of three games on the road against an N.C. State team that’s won 11 of its last 12 games and is battling for its postseason would put Clemson is a much better position to be at home for the first weekend of the NCAAs.
The Tigers also have to defend their ACC tournament championship next week, but this season has shown that as the competition has risen, Clemson’s issues have been magnified.
The Tigers were 5-for-35 with runners in scoring position in Louisville’s sweep this past weekend. The bullpen has blown a couple of games in recent weeks, and there have been injuries to relievers Brooks Crawford and Ryan Miller and catcher Chris Williams that have contributed to the struggles.
However, the Tigers did go 14-0 in midweek games, and Lee hopes that win over Coastal Carolina cleared his team’s negative thoughts and will serve as a catalyst for the postseason.
He compared it to earlier this year when the Tigers got a 2-out home run in the ninth inning by Beer at South Carolina to push the game into extra innings, which Clemson eventually won 5-3 to claim the series.
Lee’s squad reeled off 22 wins in its next 24 games after that.
“Maybe things are starting to fall our way now,” Clemson center fielder Chase Pinder said. “Hopefully it can happen more often.”