This week’s announcement that South Carolina and Clemson will continue to play one game at Greenville’s Fluor Field in their annual for four more years didn’t come as a huge surprise.
But the Gamecocks also are in the exploration stages of playing another former ACC rival in a minor league stadium.
The State has learned that talks are ongoing to pair USC against North Carolina in a midweek game in the 2016 season at Charlotte’s BB&T Ballpark, the $54-million Triple-A facility that opened this spring.
Preliminary discussions are under way for a two-year deal at the home of the Charlotte Knights, a Chicago White Sox affiliate, between the two powerhouse collegiate programs in neighboring states. The ballpark, which was built in the uptown area, has a capacity of 10,200.
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USC and UNC have faced off 13 times in the NCAA tournament in the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2013 seasons. The Gamecocks eliminated the Tar Heels at Sarge Frye Field in the first three of those seasons, but UNC turned the tables in Chapel Hill in 2007 and last season.
USC coach Chad Holbrook played his college baseball at North Carolina from 1990-93 and served as an assistant coach for the Tar Heels for 15 seasons before joining Ray Tanner’s staff in 2009. Holbrook declined to comment on the possibility of playing UNC in Charlotte.
The longtime rivalry began in 1903, and the Tar Heels lead 57-36-1. The teams haven’t faced each other in the regular season since 2004, when the Gamecocks defeated the Tar Heels 9-4 in Fort Mill, S.C., at the former home of the Charlotte Knights.