College of Charleston ace Taylor Clarke ready for NCAA baseball regionals

Photographer: Al Samuels

Heading into this weekend’s NCAA baseball double-elimination regionals, College of Charleston’s Monte Lee went his strength — ace Taylor Clarke, one of the nation’s premier pitchers, took the mound for Friday’s Game 1  in the Tallahassee Regional against No. 3 seed Auburn.

While CofC is the No. 2 seed, they were very close to being the top seed. Clarke (13-1, 1.34 ERA) faced  some tough Tigers led by Anfernee Grief (.335) and Melvin Grey (.309). Clarke allowed six earned runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts in a no-decision as Charleston beat Auburn, 7-6, in 11 innings.

Clarke, the CAA Pitcher of the Year and one of 21 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award as the top player in collegiate baseball, ranks in the top 10 nationally in strikeouts (third with 126), WHIP (fourth with 0.80), ERA (eighth with 1.46) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (ninth with 9.00).

In the same regional, Mercer lost to top seed Florida State, 5-4 in 10 innings.

Other ASN-affiliated schools competing in regional openers on Friday:

On the other side of the bracket:

See the full NCAA Tournament bracket.