The 126th edition of Clemson Baseball has many familiar faces returning and a plethora of talented newcomers, but the headline is the addition of first-year Head Coach Erik Bakich, who has returned to Clemson to lead the program 21 years after serving as the volunteer assistant coach in 2002. Most notably, Bakich led the Wolverines to the College World Series and championship series in 2019.
New to the program, which set a record for highest semester GPA (3.09) in the fall, are first-year assistant coaches Nick Schnabel, Jimmy Belanger and Griffin Mazur. Schnabel, the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, followed Bakich from Michigan, as both wear jersey #23 in honor of their former head coach, the late Keith LeClair, who also wore #23.
Belanger, the pitching coach, served in that same role at Florida State from 2020-22. Mazur is the volunteer assistant coach and played at UC Irvine and under Bakich at Michigan.
Tiger players who accounted for 59 percent of the starts in the 2022 season return in 2023. However, Clemson must replace 2022 ACC Player-of-the-Year Max Wagner, a second-round draft pick, at third base and two of its weekend starters, Mack Anglin (seventh-round draft pick) and Geoffrey Gilbert (13th-round draft pick).
The 2023 schedule features 34 home games and 30 games against 2022 NCAA Tournament teams. The Tigers play USC Upstate and South Carolina at Fluor Field in Greenville in the same week early in the season, and they face College of Charleston at Segra Park in Columbia on March 28. The season begins Feb. 17 with a three-game home series against Binghamton. The ACC Tournament returns to Durham, N.C. for the 13th time overall and first time since 2019.
Junior Cooper Ingle (Asheville, N.C.) returns as the leader and sole veteran of the catchers. The preseason third-team All-American by Perfect Game is a career .330 hitter with a .433 on-base percentage, eight homers and 47 RBIs in 64 games. In 2022, he hit .351 in 54 games and threw out 12 of 31 potential basestealers.
Freshmen Hogan Garner (Charleston, S.C.) and Jacob Jarrell (Florence, S.C.) will compete for playing time behind the plate. Garner was rated as the No. 2 catcher in the state by Perfect Game and was the AAAA player-of-the-year as a senior. Jarrell lettered four times at P27 Academy and was the No. 34 player in South Carolina by Perfect Game.
Sophomore Nick Couch (Greenville, S.C.) is another Palmetto State native and catcher who will compete for time at…