Saturday, 7pm ESPN
Likely pitching matchup
What you saw last night was a typical Jack Leggett Omaha performance. How they can regress to the mean so quickly is hard to fathom, but they did. The only pitcher on the Oklahoma staff that gave them trouble was junk-throwing lefty J.R. Robinson, and thats exactly what Michael Roth threw us last night. His slider did not have particularly great bite and his sinker was not unhittable, either by speed or movement. He kept them down and most of his sliders werent strikes. His arm angle was particularly hard on LH bats, as most sidearmers are on same-side. Clemson just wasn't prepared for it and had no approach at the plate, they all got behind in the count and had to swing at garbage pitches.
They tightened up and tried to pull everything. We didnt work the count much and let him off with one-pitch ABs. Thats not the way you get rid of a guy you don't like facing. If you have a solid approach at the plate, you foul pitches off intentionally, you take him the other way (which we did do some), or you wait for him to throw you a fastball over in a hitters count.
Not weakly slap at sinkers away and try to pull pitches, that leads to weak grounders to 2nd or Short.
SC got the runner on to start most innings at the beginning of the game. You do realize that Clemson could've as well, if they'd just leaned into a pitch? In college ball you don't have to make an effort to get out of the way of a pitch, in the pro's you do. A 78mph slider or low 80s sinker is not the pitch of death, it hurts but its not a 95mph fastball. Grittier teams (like TCU this year) will lean into them, and several of those ASU teams of the past jumped right in front of our pitchers. If you can't knock a guy out and you need baserunners badly, with Roth living in your kitchen on every pitch, you take the HBP.
Maybe its the night game factor (Clemson is 16-15 at night) or purely the LHP (17-14 against LH starters). Whatever it is, it better get fixed Riginos.
But if Jack wasn't the head coach with his history of doing this exact epic-fail in Omaha, I'd feel much better. Some days are just not your day in baseball, that is true. And, on paper Clemson should win tonight. They have proven they can beat SC. They have proven they can beat Dyson. We're 28-10 against RH starters.
The key is scoring first. Clemson is 10-9 when the opponent scores in the 1st and only 16-13 when their opponent scores first overall. We're also going well so far in elimination games, defeating Auburn and Alabama.
I have no faith in Jack though, not seeing this again on the same stage. When you expect this team to do well, they choke. When you expect them to get their ass beat, they dominate. Whatever looseness they had in the first two games disappeared last night.
I expect SC to put one big inning on them early, and then the Tigers will pull a Bowden and lay down and die.
Prove me wrong Jack.