Scott Weismann: "I don’t think we’ve had a signature series win yet this year. I think this could be it."
On Friday, Dominic Leone went out there and pitched a gem, holding GT's lineup to 2 hits over 8 IP with 2 walks and struck out 10 batters. Scott Weismann retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to record his third save and Clemson won 4-2 over Mark Pope, who came in with a 1.01 ERA.
The Tigers scored single runs in the first and second inning before the Yellow Jackets tied the score on Zane Evans' two-run homer in the fifth inning to follow an infield chopper. But Stolz's sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave the Tigers the lead for good and Stolz's squeeze bunt in the eighth inning gave Clemson a two-run cushion. Leone and Weismann combined to face the minimum 12 batters in the final four innings to close out the game.
Clemson could've done even better against Pope, who scattered 10 hits over his 6 innings, with 2 walks. We jumped on the first pitch in nearly every at bat and he never got into his groove. We just couldn't get the clutch hit with RISP. Pope was in the stretch most of the night and got out of every jam we gave him.
Brad Miller went 4-for-4 with a double and RBI and Jason Stolz plated 3 runs. Clemson made 4 errors, 2 by Miller, another by Stolz and Kieboom.
On Saturday we faced lefty Jed Bradley, who we beat up on in the ACC Tournament last year. He got his revenge this time around and finished his first CG, with 1 unearned run that only scored because of bad defensive play by the Tech 3B. Clemson kept the same strategy of jumping on pitches early in the count and Bradley made us pay for it. We went through several innings with barely a whimper as a result, some of them only required Bradley to throw 3 pitches.
Though Jed pitched masterfully, I question our ability to change a strategy during a game that clearly isn't working. Even when he was slightly struggling with location, we'd slap a bad pitch right at an infielder without working the count.
Jon Meyer is a control guy and finesse pitcher, and today had no control. He labored from the beginning, walking 3 and giving up 4 hits and 3 R in just 3 IP. Tech wasted little time taking the lead with three runs on only one hit in the first inning. Kyle Wren led off with a walk, Jacob Esch was hit-by-pitch, and Matt Skole walked on eight pitches to load the bases with no outs. Jake Davies hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field to score Wren and move both runners up a base. Two batters later, Dove hit a two-out single to center to score Esch and Skole. That was all it took and GT won 5-1.
Thankfully David Haselden pitched well in relief over the final 6 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs. We just couldn't get Bradley out of his groove. Meyer was the only starter of the weekend who didn't put in a quality start.
On Sunday afternoon Justin Sarratt went head-to-head with Buck Farmer and pitched 8 1/3 innings of outstanding baseball to win it 3-1. His command of the curveball was simply outstanding and Tech went just as quietly as on Friday night. He gave up just 3 hits and no earned runs while striking out 6.
Phil Pohl struck in the 1st inning to leadoff with a solo shot over the LF wall. After that Buck Farmer shut us down until the 4th inning, when Jeff Schaus' RBI double into the RF corner scored Miller, followed by an RBI single from Will Lamb. That was all Sarratt needed. Farmer settled down and completed the game, giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk total.
Clemson is off all week for Finals and will host Gardner-Webb next weekend.