Lee compares Clemson-South Carolina rivalry to Yankees-Red Sox
|Friday, March 2, 2018, 7:01 AM- -|
CLEMSON – The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are a part of the most heated rivalry in all of baseball, but Clemson head coach Monte Lee thinks Clemson and South Carolina are a close second.
The arch-rivals renew acquaintances this weekend with bragging rights on the line. Clemson has won each of the last three regular-season series against South Carolina with a 2-1 record. The teams start the series Friday night in Columbia, move to Greenville’s Fluor Field on Saturday and play the series finale Sunday at Clemson.
Clemson is the designated home team and will occupy the first-base dugout for Saturday’s game at Fluor Field.
The Tigers' 8-0 start is their best since starting 8-0 in 2010. The last time Clemson started 9-0 was 2002,
when it won its first 13 games. The Gamecocks are 6-3, but Lee knows the record don’t matter when it comes to the Tigers and the Gamecocks.
“It's special. I grew up in the state of South Carolina, and I am the head coach at Clemson,” Lee said. “Everybody knows I've been an assistant at USC so I've been on both sides of it. It's a special series to me because it means so much to the people of South Carolina.”
He then compared the rivalry to the one up north.
“We are the Yankees and the Red Sox for the people of South Carolina. There are no pro sports in South Carolina - we are the pro sports,” Lee said. “People eat, drink and sleep Clemson and South Carolina baseball, football and basketball and every sport they play. It means a lot to the people of South Carolina and it means a lot to be a part of it. You have to pinch yourself as a coach and as a player and say that I get to play in the greatest rivalry in all of college baseball.”
Clemson came back from an 8-4 deficit Tuesday to beat Winthrop in extra innings and Lee says he has a confident and relaxed group heading to Columbia.
“We are very confident. Our guys are very confident and you can just tell that by the demeanor in the during the game,” he said. “Even when we're down, our guys are cool and collected and smiling and laughing. They are a loose group, an even-keeled group. They are a pretty professional, tactical group. I like their demeanor. They are consistent. That is what I like about them.
“When you play in a rivalry weekend against a great South Carolina club, we know that energy and emotions are going to be very high. We have to find a way to relax and be loose and just play baseball and realize it's just baseball. Not try to do too much or do more than you can on the mound or on defense.”
• Who - Clemson (8-0) vs. South Carolina (6-3)
• Best Rankings - CU - No. 7 CB; USC - No. 23 CB
• When - Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 p.m.), Sunday (2
• Where - Columbia, S.C., (Founders Park) Friday; Greenville,
S.C., (Fluor Field) Saturday; Clemson, S.C., (Doug
Kingsmore Stadium) Sunday
• Watch - SEC Network+ (Friday), ACC Network Extra
• Video Announcers - Burch Antley & Kip Bouknight
(Friday); Fred Cunningham & Kyle Parker (Sunday)
• Listen - TigerCast, Clemson Tigers Network
• Live Stats - ClemsonTigers.com
• Social Media - ClemsonBaseball
• Tickets - ClemsonTigers.com, 1-800-CLEMSON
• Promotion - The first 3,000 fans receive a “Beat South
• Friday - LHP Jacob Hennessy (CU) vs. RHP Adam Hill
• Saturday - RHP Cody Morris (USC) vs. RHP Brooks
• Sunday - TBA (USC) vs. LHP Jake Higginbotham (CU)