CLEMSON - No College GameDay this time. No championship hopes on the line, no revenge-driven storyline, no nationally televised showdown.
Jameis Winston's return to Clemson won't be nearly as ballyhooed as it would have been if, say, it took place in the fall of 2015 (if he stays at Florida State that long).
Winston instead stomps onto Clemson's campus for a second time in the spring of 2014. Not as the Heisman Trophy-wielding quarterback, but as the All-America candidate as the Seminoles' closer.
About a half-mile from Death Valley, where FSU launched its eventual national championship run with last October's 51-14 football romp, the second-ranked Seminoles' baseball team takes on No. 13 Clemson for a three-game weekend tussle at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
One thing doesn't change: the driver's seat in the ACC Atlantic Division is up for grabs. FSU (17-2 overall) and Clemson (12-6) are each 5-1 in league play, a two-game lead over N.C. State and Wake Forest.
Winston, of course, is the most famous constant. He's been a lights-out closer for the Seminoles: just one run allowed in 10 2/3 innings of work (0.84 ERA) with three saves in seven appearances, walking one man versus 13 strikeouts.
"He's going to be our closer until he proves he can't be," FSU head coach Mike Martin recently told Baseball America. "He's very, very much under control."
Martin recalled a story of FSU's road game at South Florida earlier this season, when "there were probably 100 guys yelling, trying to rattle him." Martin thought about FSU's BCS National Championship victory over Auburn.
"All I could do," Martin said, "was sit over there, cross my legs and go, 'You know, I wonder if this is anything like that 80-yard drive he took us on back in January, when there were 80,000 yelling at him.'"
At the plate, it's been a different story: Winston is batting .188 (3-for-16) with a double, one RBI, a couple of runs scored and three strikeouts.
Left fielder D.J. Stewart takes care of FSU's business there, batting a team-high .378 with 23 runs, nine doubles, three homers and 19 RBIs.
Luke Weaver (4-1, 2.08) and Brandon Leibrandt (3-1, 2.37) anchor a commanding FSU staff. Weaver has allowed just two extra-base hits in five starts, averaging six innings per outing.
On Friday night, Weaver will oppose Clemson's Daniel Gossett (1-0, 2.83), stuck searching for his second win despite the Tigers' best ERA for a starter. Lefty Matthew Crownover (4-1, 3.42) goes against Leibrandt Saturday, and FSU's Mike Compton (2-0, 2.70) hurls against Clemson's Jake Long (2-0, 4.88) in Sunday's afternoon finale.
Lifting the Tigers' offense the past two weekends has been left fielder Jay Baum, hitting .500 (12-24) with five doubles, five RBIs, seven runs and four stolen bases in six ACC games against Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Florida State has owned or tied for the best league record in the ACC Atlantic Division final standings each of the past six years.
The Friday and Saturday games start at 6:30 p.m., available on ESPN3.com. Sunday's first pitch, in order to accommodate Clemson's NIT basketball game, has been pushed back one hour to 2 p.m., televised by CSS.
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