Clemson vs Indiana Friday (4 p.m.), Saturday (3 p.m.), Sunday (1 p.m.)
After a stressful football season that ended well and a basketball season that is, ummm, well, happening, it’s finally time to sit back and relax with Clemson baseball. Well, maybe not relax. After missing the NCAA Tourney last year, a COVID-cancelled 2020 postseason, and failing to advance from the Regionals for the previous 9 tries, things are getting just a bit testy in Tiger Town. Monte Lee has done a fantastic job as head coach, but for a program like Clemson, the lack of success in the postseason is a big black eye. So, how do things look this year?
Well, the big news is hot hitting, second-team All-American Caden Grice is back. Caden was a force at the plate last year, and worked well from the mound. However, this year due to injury issues, he won’t be pulling the double duty, and will focus on hitting. Not to worry because Clemson returns some studs from the pitching staff, like Mac Anglin and Geoff Gilbert.
But the guy everyone is most excited to see? Well, that’s a guy Tiger fans know all too well, but not for baseball, slot receiver/outfielder Will Taylor. The two sport athlete suffered a torn ACL during football season, but could be competing for a spot in the outfield once he makes the return.
So what of the Hoosiers? Well, IU was a pretty scrappy club in 2021. They went 26-18 overall in an All Big Ten schedule, but did not find themselves in the postseason. Like the Tigers, the Hoosiers last made the postseason in 2019. They have one all-time College World Series trip, and that was in 2013 when Kyle Schwarber hit .366 with 18 HR for them.
Head Coach Jeff Mercer is in his fourth season with Indiana and looks to be excited for a normal-ish baseball season. Indiana starts off on a seven game road trip, with the three game series in Clemson, a mid-week stop at Miami of Ohio, and then Round Rock, Texas where they will face Arkansas, UL Lafayette, and Stanford.
You might want to pack a jacket this weekend, Tiger fans, as it looks like highs in the 60’s, but lows in the 30’s all weekend. Fortunately there’s no rain in the forecast until Monday. Wherever you are watching from, it’s definitely exciting to start what, is hopefully, the Road to Omaha.