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Preview: The Palmetto Series

By Sinderella

I consider the Palmetto Series the best rivalry in all of college baseball. You have two programs, South Carolina and Clemson, that many consider blue bloods of the sport, battling it out. It's not only for state pride and bragging rights, these two programs have met up in the NCAA tournament, even in Omaha, multiple times.

College baseball is known for crazy moments, and the Palmetto Series is filled with those type of moments and games. Clemson owns the overall record between the two programs, with a 186-145-2 record. South Carolina won the series last year, taking two our of three.

Here at College Baseball Central, we have South Carolina ranked #11 and Clemson at #15, which sets up another top 15 matchup in this rivalry. Let's take a look at what the 2024 version will bring us.

This year, we have two teams known to have high-powered offenses centered around two All-Americans, and projected 2025 top 10 MLB draft picks, outfielders Cam Cannarella (Clemson) and Ethan Petry (South Carolina).

The offense doesn't stop there. South Carolina has another All-American in catcher Cole Messina, who hit a huge two-run home run in last year's game two, a come-from-behind win for South Carolina. Cannarella's running mate is left fielder Will Taylor, who decided to step away from football and solely focus on baseball for the Tigers.

Even though both teams have high-powered offenses, they do it in different ways. Clemson is known to hit for a high average and use their speed to glide around the base paths. South Carolina is a very patient offense (#1 in the country in walks) and uses timely extra-base hits at critical times to bring in multiple runs at a time. This will be a very interesting battle to see which philosophy can be more successful in the series.

The pitching staffs are both very talented, young, and sort of unproven. Clemson is replacing a few big pieces but returns a great bullpen. South Carolina replaces the entire starting rotation and a few big-time bullpen pieces, as their top five pitchers were taken in last year's Major League draft.

Many had high hopes for the Clemson pitching staff, led by Billy Barlow, coming into the season. Even though they are off to a slow start as a staff, they are still extremely talented and can compete with anyone.

South Carolina's revamped pitching staff was more of a question mark, led by Eli Jones, who ended up in the Friday role last season due to a slew of pitching injuries. The Gamecocks brought in five transfers and multiple freshmen pitchers to blend with a few returning players and turn over the bullpen. Even though there are multiple new faces to the South Carolina pitching staff, they have looked dominant in their first nine early-season games, with a team ERA of 2.40 compared to Clemson's team ERA of 4.62

Overall, we can throw everything we think out the door when the first pitch is thrown. This is one of those series where anything can happen, and I will not be surprised to see some wild things happen. My Palmetto Series prediction is:

Game 1: South Carolina wins

Game 2: Clemson wins

Game 3: South Carolina wins

South Carolina wins the series 2-1

(All pictures courtesy of @GamecockBll & @ClemsonBaseball)


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