The Clemson Tigers have done well to host regionals in their first three seasons under Head Coach Monte Lee, but this year they’re hoping to survive for the first time beyond the opening weekend.
The Tigers flamed out in the regional final against Oklahoma State in the regional final in Lee’s first campaign of 2016, and pushed Vanderbilt to the brink last season only to be shut out in the final game of the 2017 regional.
This year, Lee believes he has a looser, more mature group that can handle the moment, after achieving 45 wins entering the tournament, setting the high mark for teams in his brief Clemson tenure.
Clemson plans to start RHP Brooks Crawford (8-2, 3.35 ERA) in Friday night’s opener against Morehead State, with LHPs Jake Higginbotham and Jacob Hennessy along with RHP Spencer Strider waiting in the wings for the weekend.
The winner of Friday night’s contest will play the winner of St. John’s and Vanderbilt, who are scheduled to play at noon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
To hear the full press conferences with Monte Lee and Clemson players, click below:
Clemson Head Coach Monte Lee
Clemson OF Logan Davidson & LHP Jake Higginbotham
Morehead State Head Coach Mike McGuire said he will throw LHP Dalton Stambush (7-3, 6.17 ERA) against the Tigers, but that his team is still feeling the brunt of pushing its bullpen during the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
McGuire is no stranger to the Palmetto State, as he played for the Gamecocks from 1992-93, as well as having previously coached as an assistant at Winthrop and as a Head Coach at Lander.
He says he knows full well Clemson will be a tough customer come Friday night:
Morehead State Head Coach Mike McGuire
Clemson and Morehead State play Friday night at 6 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.