Coach Montr Lee begins his 5th season as the head coach of the Tigers in just a few weeks. Preseason practice began with some big hits as it was learned earlier this week that Jacob Hennessy would be lost for the season to injury.

Today Coach Lee announced that Michael Green had been dismissed from the team for violating team rules and Ryne Huggins, another left-handed pitcher would be lost for the season due to injury as well.

The question at this point is how much will these losses affect the team and their success. Green led the team in batting average last season. Huggins had a 3.60 ERA last season.

As for Jacob Hennessy, his role for this season was yet to be determined. He can now assist the Tigers young pitching from the sidelines as a “student coach.”

The Tigers have a lot of youth this season, but also bring in a great deal of talent. Many fans are ready to see if Monte can take that next step, then get this team back to Omaha, where his predecessors spent many days in the month of June.

Will the youth show more than the talent or will these young men along with the returning players be able to shine and get this team to the level that Monte feels they can be?

The Tigers appear to finally have the depth that they have been trying to get in the pitching staff. They have guys returning like sophomore LHP Keyshawn Askew, junior RHP Holt Jones, sophomore RHP Davis Sharpe, sophomore RHP Spencer Strider, redshirt freshman RHP Carter Raffield, junior LHP Sam Weatherly, and senior RHP Carson Spiers.

Then add in freshmen like RHP Mack Anglin, LHP Geoffrey Gilbert, and RHP Nick Hoffman, all of which could have substantial roles. It’s as deep of a staff as Monte Lee has had while at Clemson.

The Tigers have also several position players coming back like sophomore OF Kier Meredith, junior INF/OF Sam Hall, junior OF Bryce Teodosio, junior OF Bo Majkowski, sophomore 1B/OF Chad Fairey, and sophomore C Adam Hackenberg. Add to that list the incoming freshmen like INF Mac Starbuck, OF Matthew Lumsden, LHP/OF J.D. Brock, OF/1B Dylan Brewer, INF Pierce Gallo, and INF/OF Regan Reid it looks to be a team filled with good leadership, youth, and talent.

How far can this team go seems to be up to them on paper and only time will tell. Monte is hoping that the leadership, youth, and talent are exactly the right combination to get this team out of the regional round for the first time since 2010.

One thing that certain, and that is that February 14th can’t get here soon enough. Not only is that Valentine’s Day but it also is the day that baseball fans love so much… Opening day at the Doug!!!

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