Clemson won’t take Liberty for granted, even with host USC on the horizon


CLEMSON — Liberty is hoping it isn’t just a formality.

Clemson won’t take its first opponent for granted, even with a rivalry renewed with South Carolina perhaps just a day away.

A mindset trickling down from head coach Jack Leggett, the NCAA Columbia Regional’s No. 2-seeded Tigers (39-20) insist they’re focusing on the nine innings they have to play today and no others.

No. 3 seed Liberty (34-27), along with Saint Louis (South Carolina’s day one opponent), are hoping to derail the presumed tantalizing Clemson-USC showdown. The Flames earned their way to the NCAA bracket automatically by upending Campbell on Saturday for the Big South championship. Liberty triumphed in all five of its win-or-go-home dates in the league tournament on its home field.

“Any team can play with any team in the country,” Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware said. “We know those are one of those teams that can beat us if we don’t play as hard as we can. We’ve got to play them as hard as we’d play South Carolina.”

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