Will Jack ever step down?
With Clemson's 5-1 loss to Georgia Tech today we await the NCAA committee's choice about where to send us in the first round of the Tournament. Clemson finished 1-2 in the ACC Tournament, losing a game to UVA badly and to Tech today due to Pohle's horrid start. Clemson (33-26) finished off #1 FSU 9-7 with a walkoff HR yesterday.
Most of the current projections have us as a #2 seed. SEBaseball has Clemson headed to National seed Oregon with Southern Illinois and New Mexico. Older ones have us in Fayetteville Arkansas. Perfect Game projects Clemson to Rice (Houston). Its possible, but unlikely, that we get something a little closer to home.
Clemson had this game, and botched it at the end. We led 2-1 in the 8th inning when Mike Kent (L, 1-2) imploded. Kent loaded the bases with 2 outs on a single, a HBP and a walk. Kent hit the next guy with a pitch to bring in the tying score. Scott Firth came in and promptly forgot that its his job to throw strikes, and walked in the go-ahead run.
"He hits that ball to right field, and the next thing I know the inning implodes on us with a couple of hit batters, a couple of walks or whatever," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. "We had our chances, and we have to do a better job of finishing off games."
The late game implosion ruined a good start by Daniel Gossett. Gossett allowed one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings, and in his last four appearances he is 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. He threw ~120 pitches, which is shocking given how Jack loves to pull his starters before building stamina or handling adversity. It looks like he would be a fine choice as a starter in the Regionals, with Pohle's struggles today and Meyer's persistent struggles.
Overall the game was not pretty. There were tons of walks and runners left on base, errors and passed balls occured to affect the scoring as well.
Virginia improved to 11-1 in ACC Tournament play dating back to winning the conference championship in 2009. The Cavaliers have won their last five tournament games against Clemson. Clemson fell to 6-8 in 1-run games, and have lost 26 of the last 35 one-run contests. That tells you all you need to know about our clutch hitting and bullpen over the last several seasons.
Clemson has hit a combined .195 against UVA this season in 4 games.
Game 2: Clemson 9, FSU 7
FSU jumped out to a lead and kept extending it, but the Tigers fought and clawed their way back the entire game. We never caught them until the 9th, when Jon McGibbon hit a 3-run walkoff shot off future MLB Dratt pick Robert Benincasa, the most dominant closer in college baseball this season.
The Seminoles took early control with four runs in the third, then led 5-2 after another run in the fifth. Clemson responded with two in the bottom of the 5th to get within a run. FSU again extended its lead to three runs with two more in the eighth. Again, Clemson clawed back in the 8th against Benincasa.
He entered the game with the bases juiced and 2 outs to face Spencer Kieboom. Kieboom knocked in 2 runs with a single before Benincasa's slider got him out of further damage with a strikeout.
In the 9th, Shaffer struck out to start, then Phil Pohl took an 0-2 pitch and singled up the middle to start the inning off and PH Joe Costigan reached on an infield single that was poorly played at 1st base. Seminoles 1B Jayce Boyd declined an opportunity to throw to second for the force on sluggish Pohl, and instead flipped the ball behind his back in the direction of first base. No one was covering. Why he thought the pitcher would get there so quickly confuses me. Costigan was credited with a single on the play, and the tying runs were on base. McGibbon took an elevated 0-1 slider over the wall in right-center.
Kevin Brady made his second appearance since returning from a hamstring injury he suffered April 27 at Georgia Tech. He pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings, but struggled with his control.
Game 3: GT 5 Clemson 1
The short story is that Kevin Pohle struggled for the 2nd weekend in a row, and GT hurler Jake Davies was unhittable for most of the game. Clemson could not get the leadoff batter on base until the end of the game and mounted no serious threat against Tech. The win put GT at 3-0 in-bracket and they will play for the ACC Tournament Title.
Steve Wilkerson started off the game with his first college HR, but Davies shut down the rest of the lineup without much trouble, allowing just 2 hits in 6 innings of work. Alex Cruz came on in relief and the anemic Tiger offense could little better, allowing 3 hits over the last 3 innings. This came after our lineup destroyed the GT staff in Atlanta earlier this season.
Pohle (L, 6-4) was whipped badly by Wake Forest's anemic lineup last weekend, and was equally bashed by Tech. In just 2 innings, he allowed 6 hits and 4 runs, with a single strikeout. Scott Firth was asked to come in and hold Tech there, and he did his job admirably, allowing 1 unearned run over 6 1/3 innings. Unfortunately we couldn't get anything going.
In the 9th, Attanasio became the 2nd leadoff hitter to reach a base and McGibbon reached on a FC that retired Dominic. With 1 on and 1 out, Stolz forgot to move the bat off his shoulders on a 3-2 breaking ball he wasn't expecting. Typical Clemson hitter. Brad Felder struck out swinging to end the game.
Overall, you can't be surprised at the lack of offense we brought in the Tourney. Jack's teams generally look pitiful up there because he puts little importance on the Tournament title. Hopefully he will actually give the team a day off, because we have heard they've been overworked and very tired coming in and that Jack has made them practice daily since the end of Finals. Once again I only hear negatives about him from team members.
I am just hoping for a quick death at this point, even though we still own the Seminoles this team is one of the worst we've fielded in my memory and definitely the worst in several years.