By Johnny Falduto
No. 4 National Seed Clemson will host an NCAA Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium for the first time since 2018 beginning on Friday.
As the No. 1 seed and host of the Clemson Regional, the ACC Champion Tigers (43-17) open up play against 4th-seeded ASUN Champions Lipscomb (36-24) at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. Tennessee (38-19) is the No. 2 seed in the Clemson Regional, and they will play Conference USA Champion and No. 3-seeded Charlotte (34-26) Friday night at 6 p.m.
Full Clemson Regional Schedule + Broadcast Info
Game 1: Clemson vs Lipscomb, Friday, June 2, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Tennessee vs Charlotte, Friday, June 2, 6 p.m.
Game 3: (Game 1 loser) vs (Game 2 loser), Saturday, June 3, noon
Game 4: (Game 1 winner) vs (Game 2 winner), Saturday, June 3, 6 p.m.
Game 5: (Game 3 winner) vs (Game 4 loser), Sunday, June 4, noon
Game 6: (Game 4 winner) vs (Game 5 winner), Sunday, June 4, 6 p.m.
Game 7 (if nec.): Monday, June 5, TBD
Clemson-Lipscomb will air on ESPN+ and Tennessee-Charlotte will air on ESPNU. As always, each Clemson game throughout the postseason will also be live on the air on 97.5/105.5 in the Upstate, right here on theroarfm.com, or on The ROAR mobile app.
The Clemson Regional is paired up with the Auburn Regional, meaning the winners of each Regional will play against one another in the Super Regionals with a College World Series berth on the line. The Auburn Regional is made up of No. 1 Auburn, No. 2 Southern Miss, No. 3 Sanford, and No. 4 Penn.
Tennessee Scouting Report
Up to this point, the Vols are 38-19 overall. They finished SEC regular season play 16-14, winning their last two conference series by taking 2 of 3 from both Kentucky and South Carolina in Knoxville. They were knocked out of the SEC Tournament with a 3-0 loss to Texas A&M in the first round.
Coached by Tony Vitello, the Vols were the No. 1 National Seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. They are widely considered one of the stronger No. 2 regional seeds in the tournament field but their home/road/neutral record splits play towards Clemson’s favor: 33-5 at home, 1-2 at neutral sites, and 4-12 in true road games.
Tennessee’s biggest strength is its pitching staff, which boasts of a 3.69 team ERA- good for fourth-best in all of Division I baseball. They have given up 7.51 hits per nine innings and have a 4.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio, both of which rank within the top-5 nationally. They’ve held opponents to a .224 batting average, which ranked second in the SEC, and led the conference with 636 total strikeouts.
Drew Beam (7-4, 4.18 ERA) and Chase Dollander (6-6, 4.28 ERA) are their two true starting pitchers. Zander Sechrist (0-1, 2.08 ERA) has also started 12 of the 22 appearances he’s made this season, and Andrew Lindsey (2-2, 2.54 ERA) has started six of his eighteen.
Offensively, the Vols’ lineup features five .300+ hitters. Jared Dickey has been their most consistent threat at the plate, hitting .343 with 70 hits, both of which are team-highs, in addition to 46 RBI and 12 home runs. Griffin Merritt led the team with 17 of their 114 home runs.
Charlotte Scouting Report
Charlotte finished the regular season on a 5-game win streak, including an 11-9 win over South Carolina. Following a Conference USA Tournament-opening loss against Louisiana Tech, they rattled off another five straight wins to claim their first conference title in program history. As it sits prior to the beginning of NCAA Tournament play, the 49ers are 19-12 at home, 5-1 at neutral sites, and 10-13 in true road games.
Offensively, Charlotte lives by the long ball. As a team, their 97 home runs are tied for 26th in college baseball. In their most recent five-game win streak in the C-USA Tournament, the team hit 12 home runs, including four against Middle Tennessee. Leading the charge is Cam Fisher, whose 30 home runs are the most of any player in the country. Fisher also leads the team with a .352 batting average, 64 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.340. Austin Knight, Jack Dragum, and Jake Cunningham are also dangerous hitters with double-digit home runs in their own right.
On the mound, their usual starters are Wyatt Hudepohl (6-6, 4.44 ERA), Cameron Hansen (3-1, 4.54 ERA), and Collin Kramer (6-4, 4.55 ERA).
Lipscomb Scouting Report
Lipscomb earned its NCAA Tournament bid in a 12-6 ASUN Conference Championship win over Florida Gulf Coast behind a Championship Final record three home run performance from junior Alex Vergara. Like Clemson, Lipscomb struggled early in the season but finished a strong 29-11 over their final 40 games, punching their ticket to the ASUN Championship tournament and eventually the NCAA Tournament.
Lipscomb is another team that relies heavily on its offense, particularly the long ball. As a team, their 106 home runs rank 14th in the nation.
Trace Willhoite has been their most dangerous hitter all season, and he comes into Regional action hitting a team-best .311 with a 1.067 OPS, 17 home runs, and 65 RBIs. Austin Kelly and Alex Vergara are both top 25 in the nation in home runs at 21 a piece, and Caleb Ketchup has added 16 of his own.
On the mound, Michael Dunkelberger (3-6, 6.75 ERA), Braydon Tucker (7-0, 3.54 ERA), and Logan Van Treeck (8-4, 3.50 ERA) have taken most starting responsibilities, and Hayden Frank (3-2, 1.54) has made 24 appearances in relief.