CLEMSON, S.C. — The early part of Clemson's Tuesday practice included plenty of laughs as coach Monte Lee incorporated a lot of lighthearted chatter and silly moments in between the actual fundamental drills.
The workout took place just after Lee and his players took some time to meet with the media. If the Tigers are dealing with any stress over a late-season slump, limping to the finish as a controversial NCAA Regional host, there weren't any signs of such anxiety.
"Everybody is now 0-0 and that's the beauty of it," outfielder Reed Rohlman said of the national tournament. "It doesn't matter if you're coming in hot or you've been struggling as of late like us. We're just excited to start this new season."
Clemson, which hosts fourth-seeded UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m. Friday, finished the season 5-11, including going 0-2 at the ACC tournament. The Tigers lost 10 of their last 11 ACC games and dropped their last three conference series, getting swept by North Carolina and Louisville and losing two of three against North Carolina State. All three teams are among the NCAA's 64-team field, with No. 2 UNC and No. 7 Louisville among the top-eight national seeds.
Outfielder Seth Beer said there was not even a hint of anxiety and he's looking for the Tigers to start the postseason much like they began the regular season when they rocketed to as high as fifth in the polls at 30-5.
"Sometimes the ball just doesn't fall your way and it just hasn't fallen our way for too many games in a row, and that's just how baseball is," Beer said. "So I think everyone still has confidence in each other because I know I have confidence with all our players, and that's the same kind of stuff you have to go through. It's a new season, clean slate, and we're going in carrying nothing on our back, refreshed and ready to go."
Lee also dismissed any notion his team collapsed down the stretch, nearly blowing home-field advantage last weekend, even while acknowledging the Tigers are seeking to regain their early-season mojo.
"Obviously they're like anybody else, trying to search for answers and trying to figure things out," Lee said. "But they also are resilient and that's one of the things as coaches we constantly try to push to our guys. The bottom line is you're going to have ups and downs, things are going to turn out great from time to time and then you're going to get punched in the mouth."
Lee continued, "When you get punched, what do you do then? We can feel sorry for ourselves and that doesn't help. We're really high after we win a bunch of games in a row, that's probably not the best thing to do either. You've got to stay even-keeled, as cliché as that sounds. The postseason is new, completely different than the regular season. A different schedule, it's a different atmosphere, just completely different."
This article is written by Eric Boynton from Spartanburg Herald-Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.