Clemson softball begins ACC Tournament play on Thursday. (Clemson Athletics)

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Clemson softball looking for more history as it begins ACC Tournament play

CLEMSON — Even with spring football over, there is still plenty going on at Clemson. Senior writer Matt Connolly is ready to answer whatever questions you might have. You can submit your question for the “Question of the Day” here. Today’s question is about Clemson’s softball program.

It has already been a historic year for the Clemson softball program.

In its first full season of competition, the Tigers won the regular-season ACC championship, clinching the title this past weekend with a 19-2 victory Sunday at Syracuse.

Clemson finished the regular season 40-5 (29-5) and became the first program in school history to win a conference championship in its first opportunity, according to longtime Clemson SID Tim Bourret.

The school record was previously held by the Clemson football program, which won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association title in 1900.

“Just super happy for our players, our staff, everybody that’s been involved in building this program from day one,” Tigers softball coach John Rittman said. “Words can’t describe how we’re feeling right now to be ACC champs.”

Clemson is expected to earn one of the 16 regional host sites for the NCAA Tournament, but up first is the ACC Tournament.

The top-seeded Tigers will face No. 9 seed Georgia Tech (20-25, 11-19) on Thursday at 11 a.m. in a quarterfinal matchup. With a victory, Clemson will face the winner of No. 4 seed Virginia Tech and No. 5 seed Notre Dame in the semifinals.

Clemson enters the ACC Tournament with the Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in Valerie Cagle, as well as the Coach of the Year in John Rittman.

Cagle is the first player in ACC history to be named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year in the same season. She is 24-4 with a 1.15 ERA on the mound and is batting .420 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs at the plate. She is also one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

In total, Clemson earned nine selections on the All-ACC softball teams. After an outstanding regular season, the Tigers want to keep the momentum rolling at the ACC Tournament and into the NCAA tourney.

“It’s a new experience for everyone and we’re just looking forward to it,” Rittman said. “We’ve had obviously a very successful year and looking forward to continuing that success in the postseason.”

ACC softball tournament: Clemson info

Game: No. 1 seed Clemson vs. No. 9 seed Georgia Tech

Where: Ulmer Stadium, Louisville

When: 11 a.m. Thursday

How to watch: ACC Network, Watch ESPN

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