Hawaii Grown: Hinderleider enjoying his COVID year at Clemson

May 22—1/1

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"It has been everything I could ask for."

Jacob Hinderleider

Clemson infielder, who entered as a graduate transfer from Davidson

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During the fall, Jacob Hinderleider found himself eating a steak dinner at Halls Chophouse in Greenville, S.C.

For two fall games, the Clemson baseball team stayed in beach houses in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Life as a Tigers baseball player had been pretty good for the graduate transfer.

Without any guarantee he would be a starter, the 2019 'Iolani alumnus entered the portal after four years at Davidson College and was given an opportunity to play at Clemson, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation in the Top 25.

Hinderleider, a 6-foot-1 infielder, didn't start the opening game for the Tigers, who are 40-13 entering the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament on Thursday against Miami.

He started the next game at third base and has since taken over as the starting shortstop for the Tigers, hitting .315 in 52 games with 14 doubles, 13 homers and 54 RBIs.

Hinderleider had an extra year of eligibility due to the lost COVID-19 year, but it wasn't until last fall that he realized the opportunity to play for a national powerhouse in collegiate baseball in Clemson.

"It's definitely a new level of support," Hinderleider said. "There is no grad school at Davidson, so our coaches helped us get into the portal at the beginning of last fall. I ended up choosing Clemson and it has been awesome here. A lot bigger stage and it has been an awesome experience being a part of this community and enjoying the fans."

More than 5,000 people packed Doug Kingsmore Stadium for each of the the Tigers' first two home games.

Hinderleider, who played in 170 games in four seasons at Davidson, immediately realized he was a part of something special.

He had played in midweek games against powerhouse opponents but wasn't used to the everyday support of such a committed fan base.

"It's a huge deal to the community," Hinderleider said. "A full stadium opening weekend that is all in on Clemson baseball was cool to see even before the game started. Even when we go on the road, there has been a few road games where there is more Clemson fans than wherever we were."

Hinderleider's plans for grad school were academically related, with baseball being a secondary thought to maybe play one more year.

He played in the MLB Draft League last summer but was not selected in the draft.

The Tigers open the ACC Tournament with the Hurricanes on Thursday and Louisville on Friday, and have likely locked up at least an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens in the conference tournament.

Hinderleider helped Davidson win the Atlantic 10 regular season in 2022 but never played in an NCAA regional.

"I came in knowing I was going to have to earn everything. I knew I wasn't going to be handed anything and just tried to compete every day," Hinderleider said. "It has been everything I could ask for. I decided probably seventh grade, eighth grade, college baseball was something I was going to pursue from that time up until now. It's something I am going to have with me forever and remember."

The ACC Tournament features four three-team pools. The winner of each pool advances to a four-team, single-elimination tournament.

Louisville is seeded No. 7 behind No. 2 Clemson and Miami is the 11th seed.

The Tigers have been to the final 23 times in ACC Tournament history, more than any other school.

"We're pumped. We're ready to go," Hinderleider said. "We've had our eyes on, since the beginning of the season, to win an ACC championship, win a regional, win a super regional and compete for an NCAA championship. Now that it is here, take it one game at a time, one pitch at a time and enjoy it as we have all season long."

Name: Jacob Hinderleider

School: Clemson

Class: Senior

Height: 6-foot-1

Position: INF

High School: 'Iolani (2019)



2020 Davidson 16 47 7 7 4 1 0 8 .149

2021 Davidson 50 151 17 32 8 1 6 26 .212

2022 Davidson 56 211 55 71 16 3 12 56 .336

2023 Davidson 48 181 36 51 15 0 7 43 .282

2024 Clemson 52 203 36 64 14 1 12 54 .315

TOTAL 222 793 151 225 57 6 37 187 .284