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By Sam Walters

This past weekend, Clemson Athletics made headlines across multiple sports, with Baseball and Men’s Basketball receiving national attention for their huge performances. Things are only ramping up from here, so let’s glimpse the “March Madness” that transpired this weekend. 

Clemson Basketball dances through the NCAA Tournament

After an unfortunate loss against Boston College in the ACC Tournament, the Clemson Tigers (23-11, 11-9 ACC) were selected for the NCAA Tournament, seeded at #6 and poised to face the New Mexico Lobos (26-10, 10-8 CONF) in Memphis, Tennessee, this past Friday.

Doubts were circulating, as the issue of turnovers and fouls have affected many games for the Tigers this year, and many predicted the upset for the Lobos. Clemson came into the game hot and responded with dominance, earning a 14-point lead through the first period and winning 77-56. Chase Hunter began his 2024 tournament performance with a dominating game, leading the team with 21 and six assists and exploding for the Tigers in the second period.

With their win against New Mexico, the Tigers advanced to the Round of 32 and faced off against the #3 Baylor Bears (24-11, 11-7 CONF). The Bears, a high-scoring team with a top-ranked offensive efficiency rating, were held to 38% from the field while only making a quarter of their three-pointers. The Tigers were the opposite, scoring relentlessly through the first period and gaining a double-digit lead.

Baylor managed to ramp up their scoring in the second period, and the Tigers began to struggle as fouls threatened multiple starters, including Jack Clark, Chase Hunter, and PJ Hall. Baylor’s RayJ Dennis scored 21 in the second period, putting the Bears within two points late. Chase Hunter performed magnificently once again, scoring 20 points or more in back-to-back games and making clutch drives and plays. RJ Godfrey solidified the win for Clemson, making four straight free throws to extend the lead with seconds left. 

A dominant defense and clutch effort led to a 72-64 win against Baylor to advance the Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2018. On Thursday, Mar 28, the Tigers face the #2 Arizona Wildcats in Los Angeles, CA. The Tigers’ defense will be forced to step up again against a high-scoring squad in Arizona, which will prove one of the hardest tests yet.

Make sure to tune in to pregame coverage starting at 6:40 p.m. on The ROAR.

 

Tigers Baseball earns third series sweep against Florida State

Coming off four straight wins, the Tigers (22-2, 5-1 ACC) faced off against their ACC rivals, the Florida State Seminoles (19-3, 3-3 ACC), in their fourth full home series of the season. 

In their first meeting on March 23, the Tigers ended things early, winning 15-5 in the 7th inning. Fielders Cam Cannarella and Alden Mathes led the way in Game 1, earning three runs and three hits a piece. The Seminoles took a 4-1 lead in the first inning, as left fielder Jaime Ferrer hit a grand slam for Florida State, but ran out of gas thereafter with fantastic defense. 

Game 2 started much as the first, with Florida State taking an early lead. Clemson could not rebound for much of the game, earning only one run in the first eight innings. Entering the bottom of the 9th, the Tigers found themselves down 8-1. Clemson proved that miracles are real, as infielder Jacob Hinderleider earned a three-run homer with only one out on the board, giving some hope for a comeback. 

The Tigers miraculously evened the score with a grand slam to deep right center from outfielder Blake Wright, evening the score. With catcher Jimmy Obertop and fielder Will Taylor on base, Hinderleider nailed a single to no man’s land to right center, running in Obertop for the eighth score on the inning and the walk-off win.

With an impossible comeback from the Tigers, Florida State stayed determined to earn a win against Clemson. In Game 3, the Seminoles reached yet another early lead, scoring five runs in the 2nd inning. The Tigers answered with a couple of their own, but their opponent continued to run up the score, taking an 11-2 lead going into the bottom of the 6th. With 7 hits, the Tigers scored five runs, reducing the Florida State lead to only four. One inning later, Wright hit his second grand slam of the series to left field, adding to a total of six runs in the 7th inning. With no Seminole answer besides a single score, the Tigers wrapped up the series with a 14-12 win.

The Clemson Tigers sit atop the ACC with only two total losses across 24 games and are being played in the top 3 of many professional polls. They will look to add to their incredible record with their next match at Doug Kingsmore Stadium against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, followed by a three-game series in Florida against the University of Miami.

Be sure to tune in to pregame coverage of the Coastal Carolina matchup at 5:30 p.m. on The ROAR.

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