COLUMBIA - In a tough blow for baseball fans in the Lowcountry, South Carolina and Clemson announced Wednesday they will continue playing their annual neutral-site game at Fluor Field in Greenville through the 2018 season.
Dave Echols, executive vice president and general manager of the Charleston RiverDogs, told The Post and Courier last month he'd like to see the neutral-site game return to Riley Park. The game was played at Riley Park in 2012, drawing almost 6,000 fans.
Instead, the neutral-site game won't be back in Charleston for at least the next four seasons.
"We are disappointed for the alumni in the Lowcountry as we thought we put our best foot forward to bring back The Clash on the Coast," Echols said. "We respect both university programs and wish them nothing but success as one of the best college baseball rivalries continues to thrive.
"Flour Field in Greenville is a great choice and has a proven track record of supporting the neutral game. Charleston is an ideal destination city for the neutral game and The Joe is a great venue that has been and would continue to be an outstanding locale for alumni to gather while both programs showcase the state of collegiate baseball in South Carolina, so we hope there will be another opportunity to bring the game back to Charleston."
Fluor Field, which hosts the Greenville Drive, is a familiar ballpark for both teams.
The Tigers have played at least one game at Fluor Field in each of the past nine seasons, while the Gamecocks have played there in each of the past seven seasons. Four of the previous five neutral-site games between USC and Clemson have been played at Fluor Field.
"We're excited about the annual neutral-site game returning to Greenville," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "Our players enjoy playing games at Fluor Field and the ballpark has a great environment in the stands for this game with fans from both schools. The staff of the Greenville Drive has been great to work with over the years and we look forward to continuing that relationship."
Clemson has a 16-4 record at Fluor Field since playing its first game there in 2007. South Carolina is 9-3 at Fluor Field since playing its first game there in 2006. The Gamecocks beat the Tigers 10-2 at Fluor Field in February.
"We are delighted for the opportunity to play the South Carolina-Clemson neutral-site game four more years in Greenville at Fluor Field," South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said. "It is a tremendous atmosphere for the best college baseball rivalry in the country and we are grateful to the Drive for the commitment and pride they take in hosting the game. The players, coaches and fans enjoy the event and we look forward to a great series."