No. 2 Clemson Baseball vs USC Upstate Preview

What a nice way to go into the Easter weekend, with a series win, on the road against the Miami Hurricanes. A Hurricanes program that had not lost a home series in a number of years. But this Clemson baseball team, after losing in heartbreaking, walk-off fashion in Game 1 of the series rallied to take the next two games in convincing fashion.

The Tigers travel all week for their slate of games, first Tuesday night against USC-Upstate at Fluor Field in Greenville. The same USC Upstate team that Clemson beat back in late February thanks to 5 home runs, including 3 by Will Taylor in his coming out party for the season.  

Clemson Briefly:

Clemson is now 24-3, 7-2 in the ACC with Upstate on Tuesday and a weekend set in South Bend, Indiana on the docket for the week.

Cam Canarella continues to play a steady (and sometimes unbelievable) centerfield with the injured shoulder. And he continues to shine at the plate. His huge three-run double in Game 3 against the Hurricanes broke the game wide open and helped in the shutout effort.  

Aidan Knaak…what else needs to be said. The current anchor of the staff, as a true Freshman, traveling back to his home state of Florida and absolutely stifling the Canes with a mix of pitches. A career high for strikeouts (10) and innings pitched (7.0) and was downright masterful for the Tigers.  

Alden Mathes added a homerun on Thursday night to up his total to 6, tied for 2nd on the team behind Blake Wright.

Austin Gordon was not in the weekend rotation but came into the closer role on Friday night and shut down the Cane’s comeback effort and looked like his dominant self.

Tiger’s Bullpen was tremendous. Save one pitch that Rob Hughes would like back, the Tigers bullpen shut down the loaded Miami attack all weekend. For a team that was averaging over 8 runs a game to only score 5 all weekend, it speaks for itself how good the staff was over the weekend.

Here is your preview of the USC-Upstate Spartans:

USC-Upstate Spartans

Head Coach – Mike McGuire (5th Year)

Record – 18-11 (7-2 Big South Conference)

Wins against: Western Carolina, Quinnipiac, Canisius, St. Joseph’s, Penn x2, Rider x3, Tennessee Tech x2, Gardner-Webb x3 Radfordm UNC-Asheville x3

Losses against: Kentucky x3, CLEMSON, Penn, Coastal Carolina x2, South Carolina, Radford x2, Elon

Pitching Match Up:

Tuesday 6PM: RHP Billy Barlow (Clemson) vs. RHP Cooper Ellingworth (USC-Upstate)

Billy Barlow will once again take the ball in the mid-week. He has not pitched due to the Coastal Carolina game getting cancelled last week. He takes his 3-1 record and 3.45 ERA against a hot hitting Spartans squad.  Opposing hitters are hitting .280 against the Redshirt Sophomore.  

Upstate will counter with Freshman righty Cooper Ellingworth. He’s appeared in 10 games this season but it will be his first start against Clemson in Greenville.   

Here is the projected starters for the USC-Upstate Spartans positionally, with their season stats as well:

Position Players: 

Daniel Gernon (6)RS SeniorCenterfield.358; 5 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 23 RBI; 13-13 SB
Troy Hamilton (2)RS SeniorShortstop.330; 8 2B, 3B, 11 HR, 26 RBI; 8-8 SB
Grant Sherod (14)RS Senior1st Base.347; 8 2B, 9 HR, 45 RBI; 3-4 SB
Noah Sullivan (18)RS SophomoreDH.345; 2 2B, 8 HR, 30 RBI; 3-3 SB
Koby Kropf (34)RS JuniorRight Field.340; 8 2B, 8 HR, 30 RBI; 2-3 SB
Jace Rinehart (20)JuniorLeft Field.398; 10 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 33 RBI; 7-8 SB
David Pereira (5)RS SeniorCatcher.304; 6 2B, 5 HR, 19 RBI; 4-5 SB
Easton Cullison (0)Senior2nd Base.265; 2 2B, 5 RBI; 13-16 SB
Jake Armsey (3)RS Sophomore3rd Base.222; 2 2B, 3B, HR, 7 RBI

Offensively, the Spartans are hitting .314 as a team (28th nationally), with 55 doubles, 7 triples, 58 home runs and have knocked in 242 runs. Upstate averages exactly 2 home runs a game through 29 games. Jace Rinehart leads the offense from a batting average perspective, tied for 55th nationally in that category with a .398 average.  He adds 10 home runs and 33 RBIs as well.  

On the basepaths, this team will run. Heck, even the catcher has 4 stolen bases. 29th in the country with 55 stolen bases as a team and only have been caught 9 times. So not only will they run, they are rarely gunned down. Troy Gernon and  Easton Cullison both have 13 apiece to lead the team and tied for 52nd in the nation.  


NAME (Jersey #)Year/Hand‘24 Statistics
Cooper Ellingworth (31)Freshman/RHP4-1; 6.45 ERA; 22.1 IP; 18 K, 10 BB; OppBA: .273

Upstate will throw a true Freshman from Orlando’s Boone High School in the mid-week, Cooper Ellingworth. Ellingworth has appeared 10 times for the Spartans, but as stated previous, he will be making his starting debut on Tuesday evening.  

As a pitching staff, Upstate has a 6.08 ERA 162nd in the country through 29 games, while opponents are hitting .272 against the Spartans. They’ve surrendered 44 2Bs, 7 3B, and 49 HRs as a staff.  


Upstate can flat-out hit. The 13-6 score back in February was a lot closer than the result.  They will hit and they will run to put extreme stress on a defense. 7 of the 9 regulars all are hitting above .300. They will get on base but the Tigers will have to limit the opportunities by throwing strikes and making plays in the field. Seems obvious to most.  

Should be a fun one at Fluor Field in Greenville.  

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