CLEMSON - Unless his team is dogpiling on a baseball field in eastern Nebraska in late June, Jack Leggett's not totally happy.
"I always have high expectations," Leggett said, "so there's probably no season that ever meets the expectations I have going in unless you win it all."
By any measure, this has been a down year for Leggett's expectations. Needing a serious surge to claim its fifth 40-win spring in six years, and possibly staring at watching the NCAA tournament from home for just the second time since 1986, the Clemson baseball team (34-22, 15-14 ACC) enters as the fifth seed in this week's ACC Tournament a tad sideways.
That's the not the direction, or adjective, Leggett chose to use on Monday's teleconference with reporters.
"I think we're probably the team that I don't know if anybody would want to play us in the regional," Leggett said. "I feel confident about what our team's capable of doing. I still believe in them, and I feel good about where we are right now."
Pointing out his team has won nine of its last 12 (not mentioning his team lost 11 of its last 17 ACC games) and trots out two of the league's better starting pitchers in the lefty-righty combo of Matthew Crownover and Daniel Gossett, Leggett's bullish on his team's chances to take home an ACC crown, something it's done just once in 20 years.
"Very strong conference; I think it's all up for grabs," Leggett said. "I don't think there's any clear-cut favorite, although a few teams have been playing more consistently than others throughout the course of the season. But I think it's going to be a very competitive tournament."
As it applies to Clemson's NCAA outlook, Leggett continuously promoted the strength of his own team's schedule and the ACC's parity this spring.
"I think our resume and how we've played lately, finished second in our division and fifth in the conference, has got us in a pretty good spot," Leggett said. "But we obviously want to go into the conference tournament and do some damage."
Crownover (7-5, 2.25 ERA) will start Wednesday against Duke, and Gossett (7-1, 1.74) gets the ball Thursday against Miami. As has been the plan during weekend series, Clemson will wait and see what to do for Friday's round-robin finale, against either Georgia Tech or Wake Forest.
"We still," Leggett said, "have most all of our goals in tact."
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