Baseball season has arrived in Clemson as the Tigers gear up for the first pitch of the 2020 season on Friday.
A classic staple around Tigertown, baseball season is adored by Clemson fans far and wide. The Tigers are one of college baseball’s most prestigious programs, with 12 College World Series appearances, 44 NCAA tournament appearances and 24 conference championships. Clemson baseball rivals only football in terms of success and athletic appeal around the university.
2020 is a huge season for the Clemson baseball program. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Tigers’ last CWS appearance, the longest drought for the program since the 1980s. Clemson is coming off a 35-26 season last year, which ended in a regional loss in the NCAA tournament.
Head Coach Monte Lee enters his fifth year with the Tigers, who have already won an ACC tournament and hosted three Super Regionals under Lee. Lee has comprised a 168-83 record in his first four years at Clemson, which is the second-best record for a Tiger coach in his first four years. Lee has turned a struggling program into a competitor again, and despite a sluggish season last year, there is hope for Clemson in 2020 and beyond.
Clemson returns several key players from last years’ team, including junior infielder/outfielder Sam Hall, junior outfielders Bryce Teodosio and Bo Majkowski and junior pitcher Mat Clark. The team is relatively young this season, with 26 players listed as redshirt sophomores or younger. Despite the youth, the Tigers are extremely talented across the board.
That being said, Lee’s team has already taken a hit before the season begins. It was announced in late January that redshirt junior Michael Green had been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. Green led Clemson in batting average last season and was going to be a key part of the 2020 team. Sophomore Kier Meredith will most likely fill in for Green’s absence.
With 2020 being an important season for the Tigers, all eyes will be on the team this season as it looks to end its postseason woes. Clemson received a preseason ranking of 18th in the NCAA’s Preseason Top 25 Rankings, but failed to make the list for USA Today and D1Baseball.com. Although unfamiliar territory for the Tigers, there are plenty of opportunities for Lee and his team to make a run towards Omaha.
Clemson will host Liberty this weekend to open the season. Game times are set for 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.