BC Series Recap

Clemson waited til all the students were gone for spring break before they decided to play something resembling baseball. I'm not going to come close to calling us world beaters after sweeping BC at home, but from what I've seen this year, sweeps aren't going to come often, so I'll take three wins where I can get them. It wasn't anything overly impressive, with wins by 2, 3, and 4, but if Clemson has any pipe dream of making a regional, series against teams like BC absolutely MUST result in sweeps for the Tigers.

Clemson managed to make that happen this weekend, winning games by scores of 6-3, 6-4, and 5-1, pulling off their first sweep of the year in the process.

Read on after the jump for individual game recaps and a summary of the weekend...

Friday: Clemson 6 , BC 3

Clemson finally did enough to get Kevin Brady a win. Brady hadn't been lights out, but has pitched well enough to win in all of his starts this year. Brady threw 6.2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, all earned, while striking out 9 and walking 5. It wasn't his best outing, with the 5 walks, but it was enough to keep Clemson in the game, which is what you ask your starter to do.

We had a bullpen sighting on Friday, with Joseph Moorefield and Matt Campbell combining to throw the final 2.1 innings, giving up 1 run on a home run in the 8th. They also walked 1 and struck out 3. Moorefield and Campbell, to their credit, came on and threw strikes like relievers are supposed to. Get in, get outs, finish the game.

So the pitching, both starting and relief, did their jobs on Friday. On the offensive side, eight batters in Clemson's lineup had hits, with no one in the order having two. While putting up 6 runs was enough to get the win, there were more runs to be had that our lineup could not punch in. Clemson stranded 7 runners, including 4 that were left in scoring position. Normally I don't look at the total number left on base or even the number left in scoring position. I usually look at how many runners we left in scoring position when we had them there with less than 2 outs. 2 out base hits were hard to come by before; add new bats that play like wood and wanting multiple guys to come through with 2 out hits is asking a lot. Yes, 2 out hits happen, and in some cases teams need them DESPERATELY, but for the most part, teams (particularly Clemson) are going to have to work on executing on getting a guy in from second when there's nobody out, or from third with one out.

With that said, on Friday Clemson didn't do well in that department either. Over the course of the game, there were 5 situations where Clemson had a runner on second with nobody out, or a runner on third with one out. Clemson managed to score those runners only twice. That is UNACCEPTABLE. My high school and legion teams used those scenarios as rules of the game: if our guy got in one of those positions, we got him in. No exceptions. Those are gimme runs, and when you hear coaches talking about the little things, that's usually what they're talking about. Teams don't always need a base hit, just get a guy in that position, and push him across the plate. Being able to score him turns mediocre teams into good teams, and good teams into great ones.

Box Score for Friday

Saturday: Clemson 6 , BC 4

Dominic Leone looked dominant in 5.2 innings, only allowing one hit while walking 4 and striking out 1 to improve to 3-1 on the year. The bullpen came to play again, with Jonathan Meyer throwing the final 3.1 innings, giving up 1 run on three hits and striking out 5.

Clemson's top 4 hitters had 7 of their 11 hits, and the Tigers put up a 4 spot early in the 2nd inning which was enough to win the game. Clemson still struggled to consistently drive in runs however, stranding 9, including 5 in scoring position, while also driving in only 3 out of 8 runners that got into those "special" scenarios I mentioned earlier. One of those scenarios included a popped up bunt Dominic Attanasio, which can NEVER happen and makes me sick to my stomach. You're a Division 1 baseball player at a major program, get the damn bunt down.

So while Clemson jumped ahead by a score of 5-2 after two innings, this game could have been blown open much more than it was. I will commend Jonathan Meyer for putting together a good effort and the top of the lineup for doing well in this game. This is the kind of effort that these guys will have to put forward in the future if they want to pull out more W's.

Box Score for Saturday

Sunday: Clemson 5 , BC 1

Kevin Pohle gave up 1 run in 6.2 innings, and the bullpen gave 2.1 innings of scoreless effort as Clemson pulled off their first sweep of the season. Pohle improved to 3-0 on the year, giving up 7 hits while walking none and striking out 5. Joseph Moorefield and Scott Firth gave up 4 hits while striking out 2 and walking 2.

Every starter but Jason Stolz had a hit on Sunday, with Steve Wilkerson collecting 2 to go along with a run scored. After putting up a 5 spot today in the 3rd inning, Clemson still managed to strand 9 more runners, 5 of which were in scoring position. Clemson did however score 4 out of 4 runners that got into those special situations, so the runners that were stranded got there with two outs and Clemson could not get the two out hits to score them. Clemson scoring those 4 runners ended up being the difference in the game; anything less would have resulted in Clemson being in more of a dogfight than they bargained for. While 9 runners is a lot to strand, they pushed across the runs they had to to secure the sweep.

Box Score for Sunday

Recap

So Clemson pulls off the sweep, and while some of the questions were answered for now, there's still a lot left to be desired. Clemson only made 1 error the whole series after playing atrocious defense up to this point. Defense is something that is going to HAVE to be there for the Tigers if they're going to be caught up in as many close games as they have been.

The bullpen decided that they wanted to aid Clemson instead of our opponent this weekend. Our relievers combined to give up 2 runs in 8 innings of work this weekend, while pounding the zone (3 walks). I was glad to see them come out and throw strikes like they're supposed to. This sweep shows what a difference it makes when they do that. Throwing strikes = Wins for Clemson.

Unless our starters and relievers are going to be lights out for the rest of the season (not likely), we can't continue to strand 25 runners each series. We scored 7 of the 17 runners that got into special situations, and that simply won't cut it. Going forward, we have to do better in that capacity. As inconsistent as Clemson's relief pitching has been, we're going to need to score these guys and get as many insurance runs as we can. Close games WILL NOT be kind to us this season if we can't push them across.

This Week

Clemson gets Elon in a two game set on Tuesday and Wednesday; one game in Clemson, the other in Greenville. Clemson has some momentum, but they better not come in sleeping on Elon. Elon is better than their 12-8 record indicates, as 5 of those losses have come at the hands of teams ranked 19th in the country or better, namely South Carolina, North Carolina, and North Carolina State. They also took two from the College of Charleston, who I've seen ranked as high as #30 in the country, so we better come to play. Otherwise, it'll be Western Carolina all over again.

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