CLEMSON – Reed Rohlman is on a roll.
And that’s a good place for a Clemson University baseball player to be as the most-anticipated series of the season unfolds this weekend.
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to play in this,” Rohlman said.
The wait is over. Clemson and University of South Carolina kick off their annual three-game series at 6:30 p.m. today at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The second game of the set — dubbed the Reedy River Rivalry — is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at downtown Greenville’s Fluor Field, with Game 3 on tap for noon Sunday at Carolina Stadium in Columbia.
“Last year. I was redshirted and got to experience being there, but this year it’s going to be fun,” Rohlman said. “I’ve got a good feeling about this weekend.”
He should. Rohlman’s recent success has coincided with Clemson’s current four-game winning streak; the left fielder is 8-for-16 (.500) in his past four games with five runs scored and five RBIs.
Rohlman is batting.455 — the second-best average on the team behind Tyler Krieger’s .462 — and is coming off a 4-for-4 game in an 11-5 win against previously unbeaten Wofford College on Wednesday.
One of those hits was his first career home run.
“It always feels good to hit one of those,” Rohlman said.
But it would feel even better to get the best of the 10th-ranked Gamecocks (6-1), who have won 13 of their past 16 games against the Tigers (5-2) and have won the series for four consecutive years, including a three-game sweep last season.
“It has meant a lot for this team to stick together and be confident,” said Rohlman, a former standout at Byrnes High School. “The whole is feeling good. We’re really excited because it seems like everything is starting to jell together.”
After dropping two of three games in a season-opening series against West Virginia, Clemson has won four straight games, including a sweep of Maine this past weekend in a three-game series that was moved to Augusta, Georgia, due to inclement weather.
The forecast is for kinder, gentler temperatures this weekend, which should result in sold-out crowds at each locale.
Whatever the case, expect the competitive juices to be flowing strong and steady for the three games, which will be the 307th, 308th and 309th in the rivalry that dates back to 1899.
Tonight’s game could turn into a pitchers’ duel — junior left-hander Matthew Crownover will start for Clemson opposite the Gamecocks’ Wil Crowe, a sophomore right-hander.
Crownover hasn’t allowed a run or a walk in 13 innings this season and is 1-0 with 15 strikeouts. Crowe is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 17 strikeouts against just three walks.
“They’ve had a great run, but this year is this year,” Crownover said. “We’ve got three games to go out there and prove what we’re made of.”
Saturday’s game will match up a couple of junior left-handers — Zack Erwin for the Tigers and Jack Wynkoop for the Gamecocks. South Carolina hasn’t announced a starter for Sunday’s series finale, but junior right-hander Brody Koerner will start for Clemson.
REEDY RIVER RIVALRY
South Carolina at Clemson, 6:30 p.m.
South Carolina vs. Clemson at Fluor Field, 2:30 p.m.
Clemson at South Carolina, noon