Tennessee Baseball (38-19, 16-14 SEC), the two-seed in the Clemson Regional, will take on three-seed Charlotte this Friday night at 6 p.m. ET.
Clemson, an ultra-hot team from the ACC, will be hosting the Regional after closing down the season on a 16-game win streak. The Tigers finished the season with an overall record of 43-17 (20-10 ACC). The three-seed and Tennessee’s first opponent of the weekend, the Charlotte 49ers, are an underdog team that reached the tournament thanks to a five-game win streak that led to the Conference USA tournament championship this past week. The 49ers ended the season with a record of 34-26 (17-12 CUSA).
The final team in the bracket is four-seed Lipscomb. Tennessee matched up with Lipscomb during a midweek game earlier this season that saw the Vols win by a score of 10-0. Lipscomb can be a dangerous team, though, proving that with a gritty 8-6 win over Arkansas at the beginning of May. The Bison finished the season with a record of 36-24 (23-7 ASUN).
Here’s a look at how the Rocky Top Insider staff is predicting the series with two days until the first game. Additionally, below are more projections from around the baseball world including 247 Sports’ Brad Crawford, The Athletic’s Mitch Light, and Greenville News’ Scott Keepfer and Christina Long.
Rocky Top Insider
Ric Butler: Clemson advances
- Had this been a different regional with a different host team, I think that Tennessee could have had a really nice shot despite being on the road. Outfielder Jared Dickey spoke on Tuesday about the welcomed relaxed mindset that the team has following a long break after the SEC Tournament. Maybe they still could. Unfortunately, though, Tennessee drew arguably the hottest team in college baseball. Combine Clemson’s impressive win streak with Tennessee’s struggles on the road and you find yourself with a tough recipe for success. This looks to be the Tigers’ round after Tennessee took one on the football field in December. I’ll hedge and say it goes to Monday, though.
Ryan Schumpert: Clemson advances
- Schumpert: The NCAA Baseball Tournament is as unpredictable as about any postseason in any American sport. That’s what makes these next few weeks so fun and exhilarating. The good news for Tennessee— they have plenty of talent to win the Clemson Regional and from a pure talent standpoint Clemson is the only team that compares to the Vols. The bad news for Tennessee— Clemson is really good and playing as well as any team in the country. The Tigers are battle tested and will be a very tough out. Combine Clemson’s success this season with Tennessee’s inconsistencies, especially offensively, away from home and I give the Tigers the slight edge.
Jack Foster: Clemson advances
- Foster: Unfortunately for Tennessee, Clemson is one of the hottest teams in the country. While anything can happen in a regional/super regional (take Notre Dame beating Tennessee last year for example), the Vols haven’t shown they can put it all together on the road. The Vols season comes to an end this weekend as Clemson advances.
More from RTI: See Complete Clemson Regional Schedule
Read more from each analyst by clicking the links below.
Brad Crawford: Clemson advances
- Crawford: “Oddsmakers haven’t yet released College World Series champion numbers just yet, but the Tigers will be on the shortlist to take home their first in program history. They’ve won 21 of their last 22 games. Tennessee, the No. 1 overall seed last season, is on the road as the No. 2 seed here.”
Mitch Light: Clemson advances
- Light: “The Tigers were 2-8 in the ACC after losing the first game of an early-April series at Florida State but went on to win 18 of their last 20 league games. … Tennessee won only five of its 19 games away from Lindsey Nelson Stadium.”
Scott Keepfer, Clemson insider: Clemson advances
- Keepfer: “It would be difficult to pick against Clemson considering the way the Tigers have been playing of late.”
Christina Long, Clemson beat writer: Tennessee advances
- Long: “It is hard to pick against Clemson — but streaks end eventually.”