College Sports

The ACC baseball tournament is on the move. Could it be headed to Greenville?

The South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Clemson Tigers 4-1 in a NCAA baseball game at Fluor Field in Greenville Saturday, February 28, 2015.
The South Carolina Gamecocks beat the Clemson Tigers 4-1 in a NCAA baseball game at Fluor Field in Greenville Saturday, February 28, 2015. GWINN DAVIS / SPECIAL FOR THE STATE FOR THE STATE

The ACC baseball tournament has not been held in South Carolina in nearly 20 years. That streak could come to an end soon.

Greenville has placed a bid to host the tournament from 2020-2024, Greenville Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko told The State. The tournament would be held at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville if the ACC chooses Greenville to host the tournament.

Possible sites for the ACC baseball tournament are set to be discussed during the ACC spring meetings this week in Florida. The schools will decide where the tournament ends up.

“We put together what we thought was a really strong proposal, and we definitely have interest in hosting the tournament,” Jarinko told The State. “This is a highly-sought after community, and it makes travel easy for the teams in North Carolina, even Florida State, Miami, teams like that that are going to travel very well. I think downtown Greenville gives so many options for fans to do something outside of just go to the baseball games when their team’s not playing.”

This year’s ACC tournament will be held in Durham, North Carolina, where the Durham Bulls play, and Durham placed a bid to host the tourney in the future as well.

But news broke last week that Durham will not be able to host the tournament for the foreseeable future because the International League is no longer allowing its teams to block out dates from their schedules.

Louisville and Charlotte also reportedly placed bids but would also be kept from hosting the event due to the International League’s new rule.

Greenville is a member of the South Atlantic League, and the league has no rules that would prohibit the Drive from hosting.

“I think we have the benefit of our league president Eric Krupa knows and understands that for our teams to be successful we have to host more than just the South Atlantic League schedule,” Jarinko said. “So he’s been committed in the past and is going to continue to be going forward of when an opportunity to host a tournament like that or any tournament for that matter comes up, we will do our best to make sure that we’re not home as long as we have advanced notice.”

The ACC tournament was last held in South Carolina in 2000 and 2001 when it was played at the Charlotte Knights Stadium in Fort Mill.

It was also held in Greenville from 1987-1995 at the Greenville Braves Stadium.

Myrtle Beach was set to host the ACC tournament from 2011-13, but it was pulled from the state because of disputes concerning the Confederate flag being displayed on state capitol grounds.

“We had a successful track record prior to the Drive coming to Greenville when it used to be played out at the old G-Braves Stadium on Mauldin Road,” Jarinko said. “Obviously our ballpark is not as big as Durham or Charlotte or even the old G-Braves Stadium, but when you look at the attendance of the tournament there’s less than a handful of games over the last couple of years that would even get to our capacity or beyond.”

Myrtle Beach would be interested in hosting the tournament in the future, according to Jonathan Paris of Visit Myrtle Beach, but it did not submit a bid last fall, Paris said. Paris spoke with The State on behalf of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Greenville currently hosts several college baseball games throughout the season, including the Southern Conference baseball tournament and the neutral site Clemson-South Carolina rivalry game.

Jarinko believes bringing the ACC tournament to Greenville would be great for the state of South Carolina and the Upstate.

“You have to look at what the rivalry game has done for downtown Greenville in terms of the restaurant and hotel business just on one day,”Jarinko said. “I think when you look at the footprint of the ACC, what downtown Greenville has to offer, I think you can almost take that rivalry game and extrapolate over an entire week. From a conference perspective I don’t think they could go wrong with anybody. At the end of the day we selfishly would love to have it in Greenville ... I think it’s an unbelievable partnership.”