Anybody who loves college baseball knows the weight of the Clemson-South Carolina series.
On Friday the 24th-ranked Tigers host No. 16 South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium before playing a neutral site game at Fluor Field on Saturday and the series finale at Founders Park in Columbia on Sunday.
Clemson’s roster is riddled with in-state talent and Irmo native Ty Olenchuck will take to the mound on Sunday in Columbia to face the team he used to pull for when he was growing up … the Gamecocks.
“Next weekend is a totally different thing facing my hometown rival now. I used to be a Carolina fan all my life. It will be a lot of fun facing them,” Olenchuk said after last Saturday’s win over Cincinnati.
Olenchuk looked impressive on his first start at Clemson as he pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowed just one hit, no walks and struck out two to earn the first win of his college career.
After Olenchuk committed to Clemson early in his time at Irmo High School, located right outside Columbia, his family had to get on board with the fact he one day was going to don the orange and white instead of the garnet and black.
The wardrobe change must have been difficult for his friends and family, but the freshman right hander said they have been nothing but supportive of his decision to play for the Tigers.
“Thankfully I haven’t gotten a lot of grief and I’ve transformed a lot of my family into Tiger fans,” he said. “When I got to the game (last Saturday), I gave a few of my leftover shirts to my family. They didn’t even have a Clemson shirt. Thank God it’s not a lot of grief and everybody is on my side and really helping me along the way.”
First pitch for Friday’s game in Clemson is set for 4 p.m.
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