Clemson’s road to ACC championship goes through Virginia, Duke

Clemson softball had somewhat of a disappointing season. They were a preseason top-10 team in the country and tied for the No. 2 in the ACC Coaches poll. But to be fair, the Tigers haven’t had a horrible season. They only lost two series, one to No. 5 Duke and the other to a surprisingly good Virginia team.

Unfortunately, to get to the ACC Championship game, Clemson will need to go through both. The first of which is Virginia.

The Cavaliers were voted to finish ninth in the conference but climbed to No. 4 in the ACC standings. They won every ACC series except at North Carolina. Virginia handed Clemson its first series loss and nearly swept Duke in Durham. Most of their losses come from the non-conference schedule, and six of those eight were to teams ranked in the top-35 of the RPI. Virginia is currently, and unjustly, unranked and shouldn’t be overlooked. But that will be difficult, given who’s most likely on deck.

If Clemson gets past Virginia, it will face the No. 1 seed Duke. The Blue Devils have been a Juggernaut in the ACC this season. They’ve only lost six games this season for a record of 44-6. In conference play, Duke has 20 wins and four losses, two of which came from Virginia. And what were the two non-conference losses to? A midweek game against Campbell by one run and a 3-0 loss to the Queen of all collegiate softball programs, Oklahoma.

There is hope for the Tigers, though. The ACC Tournament is single elimination. They don’t have to win a series, just one game. Revenge should play a role in Clemson’s motivations, but a better national seed is also at stake.

If somehow Clemson makes it past those two teams, the Tigers will probably play Florida State or Virginia Tech. FSU was a preseason top-5 team and voted to win the ACC, but has fallen to No. 16 and 2, respectively. Tech is right up there with FSU. And despite having worse overall and conference records, the Hokies are ranked above FSU in the national polls. It would be Clemson’s first meeting with either team this season.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire