Clemson Tigers, ACC/BIG 10 Challenge Preview

Clemson, SC- The Clemson Tigers softball team will play host to Northwestern, Ohio State, and fellow ACC member Notre Dame as they participate in the ACC BIG 10 Challenge starting Friday, February 17, 2023. The Tigers and the Irish play both Northwestern and Ohio State two times as part of this conference showdown. 

Clemson takes on Northwestern first, then the Wildcats Friday at 3 pm and Saturday at 3 pm as well. The Tigers will play two games on Saturday, taking on Ohio State at 5:30 pm after the conclusion of the 3 pm matchup versus Northwestern. 

The Wildcats of Northwestern took part in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Classic this past weekend and emerged with a record of two wins and two losses. Northwestern has played two ranked opponents on the year, upsetting sixth-ranked Texas and falling to thirteenth-ranked Tennessee.  

Left-handed outfielder, Kelsey Nader, leads the Wildcats in her first year on the team. Nader led the Wildcats with a .455 batting average (5-for-11) and .600 on-base percentage on the weekend. She tallied five hits, four walks, and only one strikeout while starting all four games in right field for the ‘Cats last weekend.  Clemson should have revenge on the brain as Northwestern triumphed over the Tigers 7-0 last season.

Ohio State traveled down to the University of Central Florida last weekend to play in the Black and Gold Classic. The Buckeyes exited the weekend with two wins and two losses on the season thus far. Ohio State has also played two ranked teams on the season, losing both games to eighth-ranked Georgia and the nineteenth-ranked UCF Knights.  Junior pitcher Allison Smith pitched a 10-strikeout complete game shutout, scattering only four hits in the win against the University of Massachusetts. 

The NFCA listed Clemson pitcher Valerie Cagle and JoJo Hyatt as two of the Top Performances over the weekend with great starts to the season. Valerie Cagle has dominated from the pitching circle tallying 23 strikeouts in four appearances with a 0.00 earned run average. Cagle also hits for a .600 average on the year with five doubles, three home runs and nine RBI. JoJo Hyatt has been a pleasant surprise for Tiger fans this year, showing significant improvement at the plate, with Hyatt hitting an outstanding .750 average with 9 total hits, two doubles and 9 RBI. 

This weekend’s slate of games will be a great test for the Tigers as the level of competition has stepped up from the teams played last weekend.  Clemson Softball will need to keep the bats going strong and clean up the few errors in the field if they are to remain unscathed after this weekend. 

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