Friday - Clemson 2-0
Neither team had much at the plate in this one. Clemson barely got anyone into scoring position for 7 innings of play until Wilkerson reached with a bunt single, then JUCO transfer Shane Kennedy hit a 2 run homer in the 8th to win the pitching duel for the Tigers.
"To do it opening day was awesome; the fact it was my first Clemson game was even better," Kennedy said afterward. "I struggled my first three at-bats, and I was really just trying to make contact with the ball. I got lucky enough, and it went."
Goose Gossett pitched 6 strong innings before running into a little trouble in the 7th and being pulled with runners on for JoMo, who got out of the inning. Out of Gossett's 76 pitches, 60 went for strikes. Clay Bates pitched the next inning and registered the win when Kennedy hit the HR off Brett Koehler, who pitched a CG in the loss. Matt Campbell came in the 9th to register his first save of the season by getting the last two outs. True freshman RF Steven Duggar went 3-for-3 in the game.
I found Jack's lineup particularly interesting in this one. He had Brittle lead off, Slaton 2nd, Wilkerson batting 3rd, but Kennedy 4th. Aside from Wilkerson and Kennedy, only Duggar and Boulware got a hit in the lineup, which was concerning even if it was the other team's #1 guy.
Saturday - W&M 11-2
My fears about Patrick Andrews came true in this one, his flat fastball and weak off-speed stuff wasn't doing him any favors. The top half of their lineup murdered Clemson pitching until the 7th when freshman Clate Schmidt came in and shut them down. Schmidt is a player to watch going forwards.
W&M plated a run in the 1st following a walk and a double, and 3 more in the 3rd to knock out Andrews, then shelled freshman Matt Crownover, beat Mike Kent around and plated 3 more against Koerner. Meanwhile, Clemson hitters managed to get on base and never got the clutch hit to plate the runners, leaving 8 on base for the game.
The top 4 of the W&M lineup went 12-for-17 with 8 runs scored. Usually no one hits that well when its as cold as it was. Maybe they heated up the bats?
Kennedy went 2-for-3 and Jay Baum went 2-for-4. Duggar was moved from the bottom of the lineup to batting 2nd here and went 1-for-3. Freshman Maleeke Gibson showed some talent too after replacing Slaton later in the game. I think he'll end up taking that spot from Slaton in a few weeks.
Sunday - Clemson 12-2
A complete flip-flop from Saturday's game. Scott Firth returned to the rotation and went 7 innings, allowing just 2 hits, 1 run, and 1 walk with 5 Ks. Jonathan Meyer finished it with 2 scoreless innings of relief.
W&M scored first in the 4th, but we strung together 4 straight base hits in the 6th off Jason Inghram to plate 3 runs. Garrett Boulware doubled and reached 3rd on a bunt single by Brittle. Duggar singled to plate Boulware, Wilkerson singled to score Brittle, and Shane Kennedy plated Duggar on a fielder's choice. They went to their bullpen and it exploded; Clemson plated 6 runs in the 7th and 3 more in the 8th to complete the rout.
Wilkerson finished with 4 RBI and Boulware went 2-for-3 with the double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. We'll need more of that from him. Everyone in the lineup who batted more than once, other than Kennedy, got a hit. I think we'll see Jack stick with the Sunday lineup for next week.
Overall we got what we hoped for from Goose and Firth. I'd like to see Firth stay in the rotation for the time being. I do still have questions on the pen. The hitting was streaky but we did show some signs on Sunday of improvement. Its just too early to call it one way or another. We swung at too many first-pitches.
Clemson hosts Wright State next weekend. There are no midweek games.