The Clemson Super Regional is set for this weekend with nationally-seeded Clemson playing host to Florida. It sets up one of the more intriguing matchups of the Super Regionals with 16 teams fighting for a trip to Omaha.

The Tigers, in the 2nd season under head coach Erik Bakich, took down Coastal Carolina in the regional finals to advance to their first Super Regionals since 2010. Meanwhile, Florida — a controversial at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament — won the Stillwater Regional over Oklahoma State.

While Clemson has been unaccustomed to the Super Regionals over the past decade plus, the Gators are in their second straight Super Regionals and 9th overall since the start of the 2010 season. Florida was also the national runner-up a season ago after losing to LSU in the College World Series Finals.

Clemson enters the best-of-3 series as the favorite at home with FanDuel listing the Tigers at -210 to reach Omaha. Meanwhile, the Gators are +162 underdogs on the road. Below is the full schedule for the weekend along with key things to know for the matchup:

Clemson Super Regional Schedule

  • Game 1: Friday, June 8 — 2 pm ET, ESPN
  • Game 2: Saturday, June 9 — 2:30 pm, ESPN
  • Game 3 (if necessary): Sunday, June 10 — TBD, TBD

How they got here

Clemson’s path to hosting a Super Regional was straightforward. After a pair of 1-run wins over High Point and Coastal Carolina to reach the regional final, the Tigers put the drama to bed with a 6-run 8th inning in a 12-5 win to avoid a Game 7.

The path for the Gators was not as easy. After losing to Oklahoma State in the winner’s bracket, Florida rattled off 3 straight wins in Stillwater to get out of the regional.

A 17-run outburst against Nebraska advanced the Gators to the regional finals and a matchup with OSU. After struggling for much of the season, Florida’s pitching staff stepped up and limited the Cowboys to 4 total runs in a pair of win-or-go-home matchups to advance.

3 keys to watch

Will Clemson pitch to Jac Caglianone?

There’s no easy answer to facing the prodigious power of Jac Caglianone, an ultra-rare star with multiple 30+ home run seasons. The easiest answer for many teams is to walk him, which he has done 48 times this season with just 23 strikeouts.

In the regional round, Caglianone did not get many chances to hit, though he did deliver 2 home runs. However, the walks played a big role as he was walked 7 times and scored 8 runs in Stillwater.

The key to the strategy of passing on Caglianone requires that opponents keep Cade Kurland off the bases in front of him and limit the damage behind him in the lineup. However, that’s easier said than done.

Can Clemson’s pitching limit the damage?

Clemson’s 4.45 team ERA is a quality one, and the Tigers have a 1-2 punch that can hang with anyone. Star freshman Aidan Knaak is the staff ace, and he’s been devastating late the season.

During the regular-season finale against Boston College, Knaak went 6 innings with 11 strikeouts, and he opened the regional round with 6 innings of 2-run ball with 6 strikeouts. He can be downright devastating with 103 strikeouts to just 26 walks on the season.

Behind Knaak is Ethan Darden who has struggled at times this season but still managed a 4.96 ERA across 18 appearances (11 starts).

If Clemson’s pitchers can quiet the bats of the Gators early on, it will be a major swing in favor of the Tigers.

Ashton Wilson looms as major X factor for Florida

Looking for an X factor on either side of the Clemson Super Regional? It’s Florida’s Ashton Wilson, and it’s not particularly close.

Wilson had just 6 hits in the regular season and did not find the starting lineup until late in the year. But in Stillwater, he was a completely different player and a game-changer.

In the regional opener against Nebraska, Wilson went 4-for-5 with 3 doubles and the first home run of his Gator career. He drove in 3 of Florida’s 5 runs in the opening win.

He went 0-for-4 against Oklahoma State the first time around after being bumped from hitting 6th to 3rd in the lineup, but those struggles did not deter Kevin O’Sullivan. The head coach of the Gators kept Wilson behind Caglianone in the order, and it paid off.

Wilson would score 2 runs in the big win over Nebraska and went 4-for-8 in the final 2 games against Oklahoma State. In the decisive Game 7, Wilson opened the scoring with a clutch 2-run single to right field.

For his efforts, Wilson was named the Stillwater Regional MVP, and his role in the next round will be critical.