It’s rivalry week, so we asked our
friends at our sister site sworn enemies over at Shakin’ The Southland some questions about their baseball team!
GABA: It’s only a couple of weeks into the season, but what are your expectations for this Clemson team?
STS: I still think this Clemson team should make a Regional and host, but I don't see them being a national seed. What I'm torn on is how much I expect them to advance beyond that. I think it can certainly happen, but there are too many unknowns to really expect it this year, especially on the pitching staff.
GABA: What is the biggest strength of Clemson’s team this year? The biggest weakness?
STS: The biggest strength has to be the offense, even if some of it is theoretical because of the lack of competition so far. Seth Beer is the name everyone knows, but Clemson has shown over the past week that they have a real ability to manufacture runs. The downside to that is that this team is definitely lacking power. Extra base hits are not extremely common on this team.
The big weakness is pitching. There is a lot of experience and talent here, but so far the execution has been inconsistent. That isn't a huge surprise for us, but for Clemson to really compete this year they are going to have to settle down and execute. Last year we got a bit lucky because the offense was so good it could bail out our pitching, that seems unlikely this year.
GABA: Which Clemson player do you think should worry Carolina fans the most this weekend?
STS: It is the easy and obvious answer, but Seth Beer. The sophomore is always a threat with his bat and even if he isn't hitting particularly well he usually finds a way to reach base. This past weekend ended a 60 game streak of reaching base at least once. He's a catalyst for this offense and he can hit for power, something the rest of the lineup has struggled with.
GABA: Do you like the (relatively new) current format of the Carolina-Clemson series with a game at each school and one at a neutral site? Do you think it helps the series live up to its billing as one of the best rivalries in college baseball?
STS: I like it, though it is interesting that the Greenville game appears to be the "best" from a fan atmosphere perspective. I never had a chance to get up there for a game when I was in school, but all of my friends enjoy it and I think having a game in Greenville helps both programs. The travel can be a bit inconvenient for the teams, but it is so early in the season I don't think it really matters that much.