Walk down the steps into the basement of the Schmidt house in Acworth, Georgia and at the bottom, the stairs open to a large room with a ping-pong table. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of battles with Clate and Clarke holding the little wooden paddles at opposite ends.
The matchups are intense. The brothers, two years apart in age, will trade barbs almost as often as they volley a little orange ball back and forth. Clarke says the overall record is about even, which probably means Clate holds a slight edge.
They’re both competitors though, always wanting to win regardless of the competition. They’ll try to one-up each other, just like all brothers do, but when the battle is complete, they’ll slap hands and make nice until the next opportunity to face off.
When South Carolina and Clemson take the baseball field on Friday night, Clate Schmidt will put on his Tigers jersey for the 131st time in two-plus seasons. Clarke Schmidt will don his Gamecocks jersey for just the eighth time. It’s not the first time they’ve competed, albeit indirectly, but it’ll be outside of the confines of their basement. It’ll be in college baseball’s best rivalry.