Friday night, one of college baseball’s best rivalries comes back for another season. Clemson takes on instate nemesis South Carolina in the “Reedy River Rivalry”, which has become one of the most intense battles in all of college baseball.
Clemson leads the series all time over the Gamecocks all time with a 170-134-2 record, but recently, South Carolina has had the upper hand. For the past 5 seasons, South Carolina has won the regular season series, and have a four game winning streak after sweeping the Tigers last season. The Tigers took the regular season series 2-1 back in 2010, but then lost 2 in a row to South Carolina at the College World Series in Omaha. Clemson was 1 win away from the program’s first appearance in the College World Series finals, but could not find a way to win either game, allowing South Carolina to go on to win it’s first of back to back College World Series titles. The Tigers have not been to Omaha since that season.
The same thing happened back in the 2002 CWS, as the Tigers needed one win to advance to the finals, and could not beat the Gamecocks in 2 games. In 2012 and 2013, the Tigers played in the Columbia regional of the NCAA tournament. In 2012, Clemson lost twice to Carolina to be eliminated, and in 2013 the Tigers lost two games to Liberty, leaving Columbia without even getting a shot at their rivals.
While the rivalry has been a long lasting and important one, it’s current format has only been in existence since the 2010 season. The series used to be a four games in a season, with each team getting two home games. Typically, the teams would play an early season Saturday-Sunday series, with each team getting to host a game, and then each team would host the other for a midweek showdown later in the year. In 2010, it became the “Reedy River Rivalry”, named after the Reedy River in Greenville. The series was shortened to a one weekend, three game series. Each team hosts one game, and then the other game is played at a neutral sight. Usually, the neutral sight game is played at Greenville’s Flour Field, the home of the Boston Red Sox’s A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, however, in 2012, it was played at Joseph P. Riley Park in Charleston, home of the New York Yankees’ single A affiliate, the Charleston River Dogs.
This year, the rivalry will once again be at Flour field, which his a smaller replica of Fenway Park, complete with a “Green Monster” in left field. The Tigers host USC Friday at 6:30, which will be broadcasted online via ESPN 3. Saturday, the two teams square off in Greenville at 2:30. The series concludes Sunday at high noon in Columbia, which will be broadcast on the SEC Network.