College baseball fans in the Palmetto State have been itching for Friday’s season opening games for months, and some already are looking ahead to the postseason. Baseball America in its latest issue projects two-time defending national champion South Carolina, No. 3 in BA’s preseason poll, to host an NCAA Tournament Regional also including its arch-rival.
Clemson, No. 16 in the preseason poll, is the pick as the No. 2 seed in the Columbia Regional with Coastal Carolina No. 3 and Charlotte No. 4.
Unlikely, however. Carolina Stadium doesn’t need Clemson to help sell tickets and the Tigers with their good-traveling fan base are a better bet to end up in Gainesville, Fla., or Nashville.
Of course, Clemson hopes to host its own regional, as the Tigers did last year. Alas, a pair of losses to Connecticut prevented a 2011 postseason trip to Columbia and a potentially mega-Super Regional pitting Clemson against South Carolina.
South Carolina opens the season Friday at home against VMI at 3 p.m.
Clemson opens Friday at home against Alabama-Birmingham at 4 p.m.