Its that time again, time to see if Jack can get the team to play at a high level against a high level opponent that they really must defeat, one way or another, to set up a special season. To be clear, this series matters more to the fanbase than any series we'll play until the NCAA Tournament. Jack hasn't been able to topple Tanner, and hasn't shown that he can handle Holbrook either. He needs it for himself, and we need it to turn the rivalry back to where its supposed to be.
Obviously neither team has played anyone good, so its hard to judge just where we both are sitting. The chickens have started off hot, outscoring opponents 57-6, and their pitching has not allowed a run in the last 51 innings. Clemson started off a bit shaky and the lineup came around more last weekend, but I'm still not thrilled with where they are at and I think it'll show this weekend. Hopefully they surprise us.
• Overall Record - Clemson leads 170-131-2 (1899-2013)
• Record at South Carolina - South Carolina leads 80-66-2 (1900-2013)
• Record at Neutral - Tied 8-8 (1899-2013)
• Record at Clemson - Clemson leads 96-43 (1907-2013)
SC has won 20 of the last 28.
SC swept Eastern Kentucky and beat PC, and did not allow a run in all 4.
Clemson swept Maine and defeated PC this week.
Friday, 7pm, Columbia on FoxSS:
Saturday, 2pm, Fluor Field, Ch 40 in Upstate and other regional channels, also ESPN3:
Sunday, 4pm, Tiger Field, TigerCast:
I'm just presenting stats for the sake of stats, we all know its pretty meaningless considering the competition, but McGibbon still sucks at the plate as I expected, and no one has taken his spot from him. Okey and Boulware have swapped back and forth between DH and C, and Okey has shown that the pressure from batting in the middle doesn't really bother him, which is great. Duggar has been good but I think he can do even better. If Wilkerson keeps up his standard production I don't see any severe weakness in our lineup (other than 1st base), I just see a lack of punch.
Only Wynkoop and Vogel have given up scores this season, so theres not much else to say about their staff.
Clemson's staff should have everyone available this weekend, and I'd expect nearly all of them to pitch. Erwin has been solid out of the pen and Schmidt was solid this week, so both will come right in on long relief, along with the possibility of Pohle who Pepsicola said is struggling to regain his confidence. I still believe we have more depth here than SC does, and if Long starts off well I don't see high scoring games. I think this series will probably come down to one or two innings in each game, and who can scratch some runs.
We know this one is going to come down to two things, clutch hitting with men on base, and defense. I think our defense will be fine. I'm worried as always about our approach at the plate with men on base, and whether we can get the bunt down or execute the Hit & Run. Have we done it well over the last few seasons? No. Therefore I'm waiting for Clemson to prove to me that they can do it. I expect SC to win the series 2-1.