Jacob Olson

South Carolina Jacob Olson says, “Last year was last year. We walked them off here and they walked it off at their place. It’s the best rivalry in college; that’s my opinion. All I can say is we’ll be ready to go.”

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina hasn’t beaten Clemson is a series since 2014, but heading into this weekend’s rivalry, that’s not weighing on the Gamecocks’ minds.

Kingston said he and the rest of the team aren’t feeling any sort of pressure to win this weekend against the No. 23 Tigers.

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“Pressure is how you define it. Pressure is having to feed your family. Pressure is dealing with health issues. Pressure is bigger things in this world. We’re playing baseball,” Kingston said. “It’s a great series, it’s a tremendous opportunity and we’re going to try and win it. that’s it; no more, no less. We’re going to try and win it as much as we can. To put it in the same vein and make these kids feel like there’s a lot of pressure? Pressure is the things I just mentioned. This is great. This is a tremendous opportunity and that’s how we’re going to attack it.”

After an opening day loss, the Gamecocks (7-1) are taking a seven-game winning streak into this weekend’s Reedy River Rivalry.

They’ll face a Tiger team with the same overall record in what Kingston said is a matchup of two fairly even teams this weekend.

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Coming in on a hefty win streak, Kingston said he’s not trying to do anything different with the team’s biggest opponent of the season so far up next. He wants the team’s daily operations to stay the same to keep things normal for his young team.

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“I’m a believer if you have to change something this week to improve your chances of winning this series then you’re not doing something right on a general basis,” he said. “I think we try to operate on the highest level 365 days a year. To think we have to create something new would be an injustice to how we go about our business everyday. Do we want to win? Absolutely we want to win, and we’re going to be very prepared. But we’re like that every week.”

This will be Kingston’s second time through the annual in-state rivalry series, one that he calls the best in college baseball.

And heading into it his team seems to be adopting his same sort of mindset.

“No pressure,” Jacob Olson said when asked about the losing streak. “No fear.”

Last year the teams split the first two games of the series with the Gamecocks walking off in the bottom of the ninth at Founders Park and then losing the Saturday game.

On Sunday, the Tigers jumped out to a big lead early before the Gamecocks came back to force extras and ultimately lose on a walk-off triple.

This year, the Gamecocks have a better team batting average and staff ERA but Clemson’s scored one more overall run this year with a higher on-base percentage. The Tigers also have 22 stolen bases.

“I really haven’t watched them too much to be honest with you,” Olson said. “Last year was last year. We walked them off here and they walked it off at their place. It’s the best rivalry in college; that’s my opinion. All I can say is we’ll be ready to go.”

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Collyn Taylor reports for GamecockCentral.com, the Rivals.com affiliate devoted to USC athletics.


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