Clemson hosts Virginia Tech in Weekend Series

Tomas Cruz has struggled mightily this year and needs to turn it around to shore up Clemson's pen.

Virginia Tech Hokies (13-5, 2-1) vs. Clemson Tigers (14-2, 3-0)

Similar story to last weekend, its still early and VT hasn't played much good competition yet, but their offense is very good. Their pitching is a bit suspect but not as bad as NC State's. Again like NC state, their best opponent was #8 Coastal Carolina, to whom they lost 13-5 in their first weekend of play at Coastal in a weekend tournament. They also fell to Kentucky (now ranked #22 in BA) in that early season tournament.

The first 2 Games this weekend are on TigerCast.

The Tigers own a 31-21-2 advantage over the Hokies in the all-time series, which dates back to 1902. Since joining the ACC, Clemson owns 12-3 advantage, though the Hokies took two of three from the Tigers last April at English Field. Jack Leggett is 15-3 against VT as Clemson's head coach.

Virginia Tech AD series preview in PDF form. -- CUAD Preview

Last Week: Clemson swept the ACC's best offensive team at home, and split the midweek games. We lost to Charlotte 11-10 Tuesday and crushed Georgia Southern's batting practice pitchers 22-6.  In the last seven games, Clemson is hitting .346 with 95 runs, 17 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs, a .665 slugging percentage, 62 walks, a .479 on-base percentage, and 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts.

Virginia Tech took 2 of 3 against ACC bottom-dweller Maryland last weekend at home, and played 3 midweek games. They beat Columbia Tuesday 22-10. Shortstop Tim Smalling went 5-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBIs  vs. Columbia and became the first Hokie to hit for the cycle since 2002. He singled in the first and eighth innings, while homering in the second, tripling in the fourth and doubling in the sixth. Buddy Sosnoskie and Austin Wates were each a triple shy of the cycle in that same game.

They then split two games with Rider - an 11-8 win and a 10-6 defeat.

Weekend Starters:

Friday 6:30pm: Southpaw Casey Harman (3-0, 2.49ERA, 21.2IP, 18H, 6ER, 8BB, 17K) vs Lefty Justin Wright (2-2, 6.52 ERA, 19.1IP, 27H, 18R, 14ER, 4BB, 15K)

Saturday 6:30pm: Will Lamb (1-0, 2.87ERA, 15.2IP, 11H, 5ER, 8BB, 6K) vs. RHP Jesse Hahn (4-0, 0.64 ERA, 28.1IP 17H 5R 2ER 5BB 27K). Hahn is VT's staff ace, with a ACC-leading ERA, and pitched a career-high 7.1 innings on March 13 vs. Maryland, tying a career high with 9Ks to pick up his fourth consecutive win. He allowed three unearned runs and only two hits, both of which were singles and were the only balls that left the infield in his time on the mound. Hahn is expected to be a 1st round pick.

Sunday 1pm: Scott Weismann (2-0, 3.38 ERA, 21.1IP, 20H, 15R, 8ER, 6BB, 20K) vs. unannounced, but likely Soph. Righty Matthew Price (2-1, 5.50ERA,  18.0IP 20H 11ER 7BB 16K) who was shelled against CCU but has bounced back with two strong starts against Long Island and 8 innings against Maryland, or Freshman Joe Mantiply (2-0 3.18 ERA, 17.0IP 18H 6ER 5BB 19K) who tossed four relief innings in game one with Maryland, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk, while striking out five.

Hitting

VT's stats are similarly impressive to NC State's, with the 4th-best batting average in the ACC. Virginia Tech is averaging 9.2 runs per game and hitting .354 with a .545 slugging percentage and .435 on-base percentage. They are 2nd in total hits, 4th in doubles and 2nd in RBI. After the way we've hit in the last week, I'm not at all intimidated by getting into a slugfest with them.

Team Batting Statistical Comparison
Clemson .318 BA 557 AB 177 H 163 R 39 2B 2 3Bs 31 HR 149 RBI 99 BBs 17 HBP 28-37  SB-ATT
VT .354 666 236 165 46 6 23 152 76 26 19-28

VT's lineup is potent, and boasts the ACC's 2nd best hitter for average, Austin Wates along with the league leader in hits (Smalling). Its not a power-laden lineup, but they do hit well, and a good number of doubles.

 

Virginia Tech Lineup
Player BA R H 2B HR RBI BB
C/LF Steve Domecus .352 25 25 6 6 19 9
CF Sean Ryan .319 12 22 2 0 11 7
1B Austin Wates .468 19 29 6 1 15 9
SS Tim Smalling .436 23 34 7 3 23 5
C/DH Anthony Sosnoskie .348 20 24 5 3 17 9
3B Ronnie Shaban .364 13 24 5 2 15 10
2B Michael Seaborn .329 14 23 5 2 20 8
RF Mike Kaminski .238 9 15 4 2 9 7
LF Andrew Rash .250 5 4 0 1 4 2
OF Buddy Sosnoskie .487 14 19 4 2 7 3

Buddy Sosnoskie and Rash seem to be platooning in the outfield in various lineups last weekend. VT also switches the top of the order around, sometimes batting Wates leadoff and Smalling #2.

Clemson's Chris Epps has built his average out of the Mendoza-line slump to .245 with a respectable OBP of .429. Freeman's average has been up and down but is also good at .290, while the middle of our order is lighting up pitchers. Brad Miller's .364 is keeping him in the lineup despite 9 errors at SS, which is driving me nuts. Freshman 1B Richie Shaffer is the real-deal, hitting .347 early on -- I think we've got a really good player here. Schaus' 6 RBI night against Ga. Southern pushed him to 29 on the season.

Team pitching shows that VT doesnt have NC State's problem with walks, but that they stay around the plate and do rack up quite a few strikeouts. Most of the Hokie pitching aside from Hahn have huge ERAs, particularly anyone who has racked up double-digits in IP. Their closer Ben Rowen is better than our by-committee approach currently though. He's given up only 1 run in 14 innings pitched with 22 strikeouts.

Team Pitching Staff Comparison
ERA W-L SHO/CBO Saves IP H R ER BB Ks
#3 ACC- Clemson 3.62 14-2 1/1 2 144 133 81 58 55 111
#8 ACC - VT 4.44 13-5 2/2 2 160.0 163 97 79 55 148
Like last weekend, I think the Clemson pen lets us down a little in some spots, but the lack of power in this lineup means its less likely for them to come from behind if we jump ahead big. Only Hahn scares me out of this staff, and I do think he'll be able to keep Game 2 for the Turkeys. I think Clemson wins the series 2-1 but would not be surprised if Clemson comes back against the VT bullpen if/when Hahn comes out to sweep it.
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