No love lost in Columbia

CLEMSON - Garrett Boulware took an optimistic approach when asked about last week's 0-3 performance in Durham.

Clemson fans will probably nod in approval.

"Hopefully, look at it this way -- we were saving up for this weekend," Boulware told reporters on Monday. "We can take it out on Carolina when we get down there."

The sophomore catcher, who leads the team in homers [eight] and RBI [44], didn't hold back when discussing his second NCAA Tournament trip to Columbia in as many years.

"Honestly, I'm from South Carolina. I've been to Columbia plenty of times," Boulware said.

Daniel Gossett wouldn't have been opposed to going on a road trip a little bit further from Clemson.

"It would have been nice to go somewhere that we've never been before," he said. "But I'm excited about the opportunity to play there, because I know the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and it's going to be fun baseball."

Hostile is another adjective that fits.

"Even when we play Liberty, I assume it's going to be sold out with all of the South Carolina fans yelling at us," Boulware said. "That's what we expect when we go down there. It's a fun atmosphere. We know how to play [in] it. We know how to handle it."

Gossett added, "It's expected, because we just love them and they love us so much. We know it's going to be a good atmosphere. We're going to hear it from the fans.

"I'm excited about it, because that means it matters."

As freshmen, they visited Columbia for postseason play, where they played South Carolina twice. The Gamecocks won both postseason games by a combined total of two runs.

"That was last year. This is this year. We're a better team this year. We'll show it this weekend," Boulware said. "Hopefully, we'll get through there and head to North Carolina next week."

Before they play any directional Carolina school, Clemson has to get by Big South champion Liberty. The Tigers and Flames play on Friday at 1 p.m.

Jack Leggett said that is the "first concern" for the weekend in Columbia.

"They've been down there for a three-game series. They took one of the games from South Carolina early in the year," he said. "I've heard good things about their team. They've got some athletic kids. I'm sure that'll be a challenge for us. We'll have to be on our A-game to make that work."

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