CLEMSON — With the beginning of a new week comes a fresh Baseball America top 25 list, and this week Clemson's baseball team has taken a slight dip to No. 6 in the rankings.
Ranked No. 5 this time last week, coach Monte Lee and the Tigers were bumped down a slot to reflect their series loss to Florida State, Baseball America college writer Michael Lananna said, though he noted that last week's poll was released in the morning before the series concluded Monday night.
The Tigers (33-8, 15-5 ACC) bounced back with a midweek victory over Georgia, and took two of three from Wake Forest this past weekend at home.
Friday night starter Charlie Barnes struggled, allowing eight hits and five runs in five innings, but the offense bailed him out with 12 hits, eight runs and seven RBI.
Saturday, the Tigers exploded for 11 runs, while right-hander Alex Eubanks dominated with a complete game shutout featuring a career-high 12 strikeouts.
"I was particularly impressed at the way Eubanks shut down Wake Forest's potent offense," Lananna said. "(But) it's only going to get harder for Clemson this weekend with a series at No. 3 North Carolina coming."
As for South Carolina, coach Chad Holbrook's Gamecocks were left out of the poll for the second straight week. South Carolina beat Davidson on Tuesday, 3-2, but dropped a series at Florida, losing two of three. South Carolina lost 1-0 to the Gators on Thursday, won 4-2 on Friday but then lost 7-5 in the rubber match Saturday.
The Gamecocks (24-15, 9-9 SEC) do not have a midweek game this week, which should allow them ample time to prepare for Kentucky at home beginning Friday. Other than Clemson, no other team in the state cracked Baseball America's top 25. Oregon State, Louisville, North Carolina, Texas Christian and Auburn comprised the top five.
"South Carolina has hit a rough patch and needs to right the ship soon. The Gamecocks have been close to winning series their last few weekends, but have struggled to finish games," Lananna said. "This weekend at Florida, they had a series win in hand before giving up a grand slam late to JJ Schwarz (on Saturday in the eighth inning) — a Gator who's been struggling at the plate this year.
"South Carolina remains a talented team on paper, but it's head scratching that the team hasn't yet found a way to close out games."