The month of March has not been kind to the Clemson baseball team. After losing the series to South Carolina, the Tigers once again fell to Notre Dame this past weekend and were taken to the woodshed by USC Upstate on Tuesday evening.
Sitting at 5-5 and lacking offensive production as of late, the road does not get any better for the Tigers as they travel to Chapel Hill to face the North Carolina Tar Heels, a place not historically great for Clemson. Both teams come into this series on a bit of a losing skid, but UNC was ranked 18th in the latest Baseball America rankings.
The Tar Heels (7-4, 3-3 ACC) enter this weekend’s contest coming off a loss to Liberty on Tuesday night and have lost four out of their last five games. The Tigers have a similar story, losing on Tuesday night to USC Upstate and losing five of their last seven contests. Needless to say, this weekend is a huge series for both squads.
UNC is led offensively so far by sophomore outfielder Justice Thompson, who leads the team in batting average (.405), runs scored (12), hits (17), and is tied for the team lead in home runs (4). Thompson has been the heart and soul of the UNC offense, playing in all 11 games and leading the team in plate appearences with 42.
On the mound for the Heels, sophomore pitcher Austin Love and freshman pitcher Max Carlson have led the way. Both pitchers have already picked up two wins on the season and are tied atop the team with 17 strikeouts each. Love brings a 2.60 ERA into this weekend’s series while Carlson enters with a 3.18 ERA.
A series win is a must for the Tigers. Clemson enters into a stretch where 10 of its next 15 games are away from Doug Kingsmore, and the Tigers will need some big wins on the road before it comes back home. Monte Lee’s team has shown signs of life this year, but this is a young team still. Look for a big series win to get the Tigers back on track.
Game times: Friday (6pm), Saturday (2pm), and Sunday (1pm)
Network: ACC Network Extra
Starting rotation: Friday - Sharpe (CU) vs. Love (UNC); Saturday - Olenchuk (CU) vs. Carlson (UNC); Sunday - TBD (CU) vs. Alba (UNC)