Where Clemson baseball ranks in new Field of 64 projections

How good a season is Erik Bakich’s Clemson Tigers having?

Good enough that the Tigers (30-6 overall) figure to host one of the top eight national seeds in D1Baseball’s latest Field of 64 projections for the 2024 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.

Clemson is the No. 3 national seed in those projections, trailing only Texas A&M and Arkansas for the top seed. The Aggies and Razorbacks are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in this week’s USA TODAY Sports baseball coaches poll. The Tigers are ranked No. 6 after having spent the previous two weeks at No. 2 in the coaches poll.

Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon State, Duke and Florida State are the other projected top eight national seeds in D1Baseball’s projections.

Securing a top eight national seed would ensure Doug Kingsmore Stadium of hosting a Super Regional, provided the Tigers advance past the four-team, double-elimination Clemson regional to begin the tournament.

D1Baseball projects that Clemson would welcome Sacred Heart, Kennesaw State, and Mississippi State to the upstate for the Tigers’ on-campus regional. Clemson faced Kennesaw State in its second weekend series of the season back in February, winning two of three.

To put it simply, Bakich’s club finds itself in a very enviable position past the midway point of the regular season.

Still, Clemson is not infallible and has a lot of work ahead of them. Five weekend series remain in the regular season before the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, and no team is ever without imperfection. The Tigers reminded everyone of that when they dropped three in a row last week to USC Upstate and NC State.

Clemson has been down one of its best arms in left-hander Tristan Smith, who has missed the past month with an ankle injury. Bakich said after Sunday’s win over NC State that Smith would start one of the Tigers’ upcoming games against Pitt this weekend.

If the weekend rotation of Smith, left-hander Ethan Darden, and freshman right-hander Aidan Knaak holds, Clemson figures to have one of the most formidable trio of starters in the nation.

At the plate and in the field, one of the Tigers’ best hitters and infielders was recently lost for the season in shortstop Andrew Ciufo. Bakich recently confirmed that Ciufo had torn his ACL in the series against Notre Dame back on April 6. Ciufo’s injury opens a hole on the left side of the infield — and in the batting order — that Clemson will have to plug.

The Tigers welcome Pitt to town beginning Friday for a three-game weekend series in ACC play. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT and can be seen on ACC Network Extra (ACCNX).

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire