College baseball’s best rivalry renews this weekend when the South Carolina Gamecocks take on the Clemson Tigers in their annual, location-shifting series for braggin’ rights. As usual, each team gets a home game sandwiched around a neutral-site Game 2, which this year is in the famously neutral territory of Columbia’s Segra Park, home to the minor league Fireflies. Look, I’m certainly not questioning it, and neither should you.
The Gamecocks (6-2) are coming off a narrow 6-5 midweek win over the North Florida Ospreys, which was hopefully a confidence booster after USC dropped two games in extras the previous weekend and lost a series to Northwestern.
For their part, the Tigers (7-1) have largely taken care of business, but they do have an embarrassing midweek loss to their name, and it’s fresh: The Tigers fell 5-3 to East Tennessee State on Tuesday. Otherwise, they notched series sweeps over Liberty and Stony Brook, as well as a midweek win against Furman.
Neither team enters the weekend ranked — at least not in either of the biggest, most commonly accepted polls in Baseball America and D1 Baseball — but this is still an important series and one the college baseball world will be watching. The Gamecocks took two from the Tigers last year, but that ended a three-year losing streak to CU. Hopefully South Carolina can start a streak of its own.
The Gamecocks will send usual Friday starter sophomore right-handed Carmen Mlodzinski (1-0, 0.64 ERA, 14.0 IP, 9 SO) to the mound tonight, where he will be opposed by junior lefty Sam Weatherly (1-0, 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 20 SO). USC will give the ball to sophomore righty Thomas Farr (1-0, 3.86 ERA, 4.2 IP, 5 SO) on Saturday, while Clemson will counter with fellow sophomore right-hander Davis Sharpe (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 11.0 IP, 12 SO). Finally, junior right-hander Brannon Jordan (1-0, 1.64 ERA, 11.0 IP, 18 SO) gets the start for South Carolina in the finale, while sophomore righty Spencer Strider (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.2 IP, 9 SO) starts for the Tigers.
Game 1: 7 p.m., Founders Park
Game 2:. 3 p.m., Segra Park
Game 3: 2 p.m., Doug Kingsmore Stadium
Friday's game is available on SEC Network, while ACC Network Extra is airing Games 2 and 3. All three games can be heard on 107.5 The Game FM.