On more than one occasion Clemson head coach Monte Lee has called the in-state rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina the best in college baseball.
The two teams are set to renew one of the sport's most prominent rivalries this weekend, and the Tigers head coach said that he considers himself fortunate just to be a part of it.
"It's an absolute blessing for me to be a part of the rivalry," Lee said. "You know, to be here at Clemson, now in my sixth year, and being a part of it every year. I've coached at South Carolina as an assistant coach, grew up in the state of South Carolina, so it's just a blessing for me to be a part of the rivalry number one. To be a head coach in the rivalry, it's a lot of fun because it means a lot to the people from the state of South Carolina."
The Tigers got strong pitching performances over the weekend in the sweep of Cincinnati. However, freshman Caden Grice struggled in his first career start on Sunday and Lee said that the coaches could make some tweaks when it comes to the starting rotation.
"There could be some changes," Lee said. "I wouldn't think it's going to be just an overhaul or anything like that, but there could be some changes to the rotation. We're going to get through today, meet as a staff tomorrow and try to make that decision going into tomorrow."
Clemson heads into the weekend looking to win the season series over the Gamecocks for the fifth time in the past six seasons, but if they are going to do so they may have to do it without one key piece of the lineup in Kier Meredith.
"Kier is probably the biggest one on that list as far as he's probably the closest to being able to come back," Lee said. "(Keyshawn) Askew, (Adam) Hackenberg, (Sam) Hall, all of those guys are out for the weekend. I would say right now it's doubtful that he (Meredith) will be ready for the weekend. There's a chance that he could be, but I would say right now it's probably doubtful. We'll just have to see how he does over the next couple of days, but I am not planning on him being able to start this weekend."
The annual rivalry series is scheduled to start on Friday with game one in Clemson, game two at Fluor Field in Greeneville on Saturday, and game three at Founders Park in Columbia on Sunday.