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September 25, 2023

‘The Clemson standard is Omaha’: Grice optimistic on Tigers’ season outlook

Max Knipstein // Clemson Athletics

Clemson first baseman/outfielder Caden Grice and the Tigers will open their 2023 season on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, when they take on Binghamton at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 

With opening day set for Friday, Clemson baseball’s first baseman/outfielder Caden Grice is confident in the Tigers’ odds to win it all in 2023.

But first, Grice and the Tigers will need to sharpen a few key areas, one being the at-bat tactics. 

At the plate, Grice says the team is going to take on a new method in order to “mess with the defense’s mind a little bit.” To Grice and the Tigers, it’s back to the basics: focusing less on home runs and more on getting on base.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to be gritty in the box,” Grice said earlier this week. “We’re going to get on base. We don’t need to rely on the long ball at all.”

Crediting his fellow hitters, he explained it takes effort to get on base and work from there rather than focusing on home runs to rack up points. 

Grice also notes new head coach Erik Bakich’s spirit will help the program be victorious.

“He’s not just a baseball coach. He’s honestly a life coach to us, and he teaches you how to be a better man and be a better teammate,” Grice said. “It’s just nice — he helps you be a better baseball player, as well. Just bringing the aspect of all that together really helps amplify the team as a whole and helps us out. That’s going to help us win games for sure.”

The junior noted that Bakich’s encouragement to Grice and other batters in the cage throughout preseason has “been a confidence boost” as well. 

Grice is also a contender on the mound this season as a valuable left-handed pitcher. Although he threw for just six innings in 2022, Grice’s role on the diamond could be expanded with new pitching coach Jimmy Belanger on the scene. 

At the plate last season, Grice held a .244 batting average, a .360 on-base percentage and hit 12 homers. He started in all of the Tigers’ 58 games last season, including two as a designated hitter.

Fans can see Grice and the rest of the baseball team in action at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at 4 p.m. EST on Friday when they take on Binghamton in what the team hopes will be the start of a special season.

“The Clemson standard is Omaha,” Grice added. “We all know that, and we all have bought into it. It’s not if we go to Omaha; it’s when.”

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