Listen Live: Road Rage
TEXTS & CALLS
864 654-7627

By John Falduto

Clemson (4-4) and No. 23 South Carolina (9-0) are set to write the latest chapter of Palmetto Series history when they meet on the diamond for a three-game series this weekend, beginning on Friday night at Clemson’s Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The teams will then make the trip to Fluor Field in Greenville on Saturday for game two and wrap up with the series finale at Founders Park in Columbia on Sunday. Below is a closer look at the weekend’s schedule.

 

Game 1

Date and Time: Friday, March 3, 2023 6:00 p.m.

Location: Doug Kingsmore Stadium - Clemson, SC

TV: ACCNX

Radio: Clemson Athletic Network

 

Game 2

Date and Time: Saturday, March 4, 2023 1:00 p.m.

Location: Fluor Field - Greenville SC

TV: SECN+

Radio: Clemson Athletic Network

 

Game 3

Date and Time: Sunday, March 5, 2023 1:30 p.m.

Location: Founders Park - Columbia, SC

TV: SECN+

Radio: Clemson Athletic Network

 

South Carolina has owned the in-state rivalry across the major sports in recent months, most notably with a 31-30 win at Memorial Stadium to snap Clemson football’s 40-game home win streak and put the final nail in the coffin of the Tigers’ hopes to return to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2020. South Carolina men’s basketball handed Clemson a 60-58 loss on a Chico Carter Jr. turn-around jumper with 0.9 seconds remaining, an early-season loss that has carried a lot of weight as Clemson continues to be evaluated as a team “on the bubble” of the NCAA Tournament field ahead of Selection Sunday on March 12th. To top it off, Ashlyn Watkins recorded the first dunk in program history as the Gamecocks’ women’s basketball team was on their way to an 85-31 thumping of the Lady Tigers on their own floor in November.

Talking again about baseball, the Tigers are coming off a 6-3 loss to USC Upstate on Tuesday, their fourth loss in as many games after starting the season 4-0. On the other hand, South Carolina is coming off a nine-win homestand to begin the season and has outperformed the Tigers (and nearly every other team in the country) in several facets of the game, both offensively and on the mound.

South Carolina Ranks Among D1 Schools (through March 1)

Historically, Clemson leads the series 185-143-2 (.564), including 102-46 at home, with last season’s sweep of South Carolina being the first by either team since 1996. In Columbia, the Gamecocks hold an 85-70-2 advantage over the Tigers, and the teams have fared evenly at neutral sites, with Clemson holding a slight 13-12 advantage.

Blake Wright has speared the attack offensively for the Tigers so far this season, leading the team in BA (.433), home runs (2), RBIs (9), total bases (22), and SLG% (.733). On the other side, Ethan Petry, Will McGillis, and Gavin Casas have each homered five times for the Gamecocks, and Braylen Wimmer leads the team in BA (.484) while also adding four home runs of his own.

Friday’s contest at Doug Kingsmore Stadium will feature several familiar faces for Clemson fans, beginning with South Carolina associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Monte Lee. Lee served as the head coach for the Tigers from 2016-2022, leading the team to a 242-136 record over his seven seasons at the helm before being let go at the end of last May. OF Dylan Brewer, P Ricky Williams, and C Jonathan French also made the move from Clemson to Columbia following the end of last season.

On Wednesday, Lee noted that this isn’t a situation he hasn’t been in before: Prior to taking the Clemson job in 2016, he served in the same role at the College of Charleston from 2009-2015. Clemson would go on to face the College of Charleston twice in the 2016 season.

“It’s a little bit weird before the game starts. You see the kids, and you just remember recruiting them, coaching them, and being there with them through the good times and the bad times, and all those special moments that you spent together. It’s really about the people more than the opponent- you’re playing against a group of kids that you love and coaching against a program that you loved being a part of.”

With that being said, both Lee and first-year Clemson head coach Erik Bakich, who experienced the rivalry as an assistant coach for the Tigers in 2002, ensured that the spirit of the rivalry is alive and well.

“The opportunity for both programs and both coaching staffs to be a part of the greatest rivalry in college baseball, it’s special,” said Lee. “Every pitch of this rivalry weekend is special to the coaches and to the players, and it means a lot to the state of South Carolina.”

“It’s Clemson-South Carolina. Two programs, two teams, and two fan bases who don’t like each other, and that’s a good thing. It’s a good rivalry for our state, it’s a good rivalry for college baseball,” said Bakich. “It’s good when both programs are good and competing to be there in the end. That’s what I remember about it 21 years ago: two top programs going at it all the time. That’s been a staple of this rivalry.”

Follow the action all weekend on the Clemson Athletic Network - 105.5/97.5, theroarfm.com/listen or The ROAR App.