CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson softball gears up to begin its fourth season on the diamond on February 9 in Miami, Florida at the FIU Tournament facing Florida International, Georgia State and Kansas City. Prior to the 2023 Tigers hitting the field, check out these five things to know about this season:
Clemson returns a slew of talent to the lineup from last season. After finishing with five All-ACC selections at the conclusion of 2022, the Tigers look to carry that momentum into the new year with three players being selected to the All-ACC Preseason Team. Valerie Cagle (P/UTL), McKenzie Clark (OF) and Alia Logoleo (INF) all earned the honor for their respective positions. Cagle and Clark make their third and second appearance, respectively, on the preseason team, while Logoleo makes her first.
The Clemson Tigers have made a mark for themselves in the ACC in the first three seasons. The Tigers clinched the regular season title in 2021 and have made back-to-back appearances in the ACC Championship game in both 2021 and 2022. With momentum continuing to build, Clemson approaches the 2023 season with the same expectations. Heading into the year, the ACC head coaches voted for Clemson to finish third amongst league teams after receiving a total of 120 points with one first-place vote. The two teams predicted to finish ahead of the Tigers are Florida State (2022 ACC Champions) and Virginia Tech (2022 ACC Regular Season Champions).
The Tigers are entering the 2023 season notching another program first: being ranked in the top 10 by every major poll. The highest preseason ranking comes from D1Softball, who has Clemson slated at No. 9 amongst Division I programs. The remaining three polls (USA Today/NFCA, ESPN/USA Softball and Softball America) have the Tigers clocking in at No. 10.
The preseason honors have continued to roll in throughout the month of January and early February for individual Tigers. Leading the charge has been two-time All-American Valerie Cagle. Not only was she a Preseason All-ACC selection, she also garnered Softball America Preseason All-America honors and ranked in the top 20 in six different rankings list, including being Extra Inning Softball’s Best Two-Way Player.
Joining Cagle in multiple preseason rankings is left-handed pitcher Millie Thompson. Thompson was an All-ACC Third Team selection in 2022 and is firing into the new season with five top 100 rankings. Her highest ranking comes from both D1Softball and Extra Inning Softball ranking Thompson as the No. 19 pitcher entering the year.
The final Tiger receiving multiple preseason honors is junior McKenzie Clark. Clark has been Clemson’s starting centerfielder since she stepped on campus in 2021. Along with being a two-time Preseason All-ACC selection, Clark cracked the top 60 list on four different lists. Her honors are highlighted by being selected as D1Softball’s No. 12 outfielder.
The Tigers are scheduled to play 52 games during the regular season, including eight three-game series against ACC foes. The home slate is highlighted by Clemson hosting the 2023 ACC/Big 10 Challenge welcoming Northwestern and Ohio State. The Tigers will play two games against both opponents over a three-day span. Clemson will also look for a rematch against the 2022 ACC Tournament Champions, Florida State, the first weekend of April. The Tigers will also welcome into McWhorter Stadium two opponents from the SEC: Georgia (Feb. 21) and South Carolina (March 28). In total, Clemson will play 28 home games.
Clemson will hit the road for 24 games, including opening the season with a six-game road stretch. The Tigers have games scheduled against eight new opponents that Clemson has yet to face in the program’s short infancy. Other items that highlight the 2023 schedule includes Clemson facing 10 opponents over 18 games that finished in the NCAA RPI Top 50, and 17 opponents over 36 games that finished in the NCAA RPI Top 100.
During the offseason, Clemson expanded the grass berm seating area along the outfield fence allowing more fans into the stadium to watch Clemson softball live. Single-game tickets for the berm went on sale on January 19 to the general public and can be purchased here. New in 2023, the Clemson Athletic Ticket Office will hold a limited number of seats on the berm for walk-up sales on the day of each game. While tickets may not appear available online, fans are encouraged to visit the ticket table located outside the main gate of McWhorter to purchase their tickets on the day of each game. Fans looking to purchase tickets on the day of the game should arrive early, as those tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.
Additional information about purchasing tickets and how to download them to your mobile wallet prior to arriving at the venue can be found here. For an A-Z guide of McWhorter Stadium, click here.