South Carolina head baseball coach Mark Kingston had just turned 3. It might happen again this century. But allow for some vision. Both teams should be way better — Omaha contender better — next year.
Give it a season or so before giving up on Lee or Kingston, a pair of good coaches likely to make progress with the combination of young rosters and recruiting adjustments tilted toward the junior college ranks. Help on the way Kingston proved last year that he knows how to coach, guiding the Gamecocks to within one win of the College World Series in his first season in Columbia.
Clemson currently is No.
A few more might have helped. Both the Tigers and Gamecocks have suffered from pitching injuries.
Both have trouble getting starting pitchers deep into games. Clemson lost projected Friday night starter Spencer Strider to elbow surgery just before the season started. Sign up for our new opinion newsletter Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.
Email Sign Up! But this is that difficult transition year for Kingston; it gets better.
Lee has won an ACC championship and three regional host spots in his three years at Clemson. There has been gradual ACC improvement until this season, which is hardly a lost cause.
It came in a game Clemson trailed and gives the team something good to think about for a spring break that ends with a two-game weekend series against Gardner-Webb. Note that six of the losses during the nine-game streak were by two runs or less or in extra innings.
We had been trying too hard to fix our problems: overswinging, overthrowing. But Sunday, we just competed. But beware the regional host that gets a capable Clemson team with road rage.
The Gamecocks have won five of the last nine meetings, but Clemson is looking to win its fifth straight in the series when the two teams meet in Death Valley on Saturday night.
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