Clemson went to Raleigh this weekend and took a big road series from a Top 10 squad behind the strong performances of Garrett Boulware and the Tiger pitching staff.
While Clemson played fairly well in the field, NC State did not. They baubled numerous balls that should've been outs or went for extra bases that should not have. Not all of them ended up being called as errors either.
Friday - Clemson 10-5
Daniel Gossett vs. future 1st round pick Carlos Rodon. I expected this one to be a pitching duel from start to finish, and since we never hit LHPs worth a damn, theres no way I would've expected us to win it. It ended up not being a pitching duel at all, and Rodon was off his game the second time through the lineup.
Gossett didn't have his greatest stuff under control for the first few innings of the game but it improved after the 4th. His curve didn't seem to have quite the same snap as last Friday, and his fastballs seemed to drift from the corners back over the plate. High fastballs were just a little too high. He was pulled with 114 pitches in the 7th with 2 outs for submariner Kyle Schnell. His line for the day was 6.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 of them unearned, 4 walks and 9 Ks.
NC State came out and scored first, and it didn't look very good for us. In the 2nd, Terran Senay reached on a throw past McGibbon's glove by 3B Jay Baum. Baum missed the tweener hop, dropped it, and it bounced in front of McGibbon then to the backstop. Will Nance then took a fastball that was belt high middle/outer half and socked it over the left-center field wall.
In the 3rd we were sloppy as hell. All-American Trae Turner led off by socking another middle/in fastball over the LF wall to make it 3-0. Gossett was trying to hit the inner corner and it floated right back over the middle and too high. Turner knocked the shit out of it too. Brett Williams grounded to SS Tyler Krieger, and the ball bounced up and hit him in the throat, allowing the runner to reach. He probably advanced too hard to field it. If he'd have let it come to him the hop would've been negated. Gossett tried to pick off Williams and threw it to the backstop behind McGibbon, allowing Williams to advance to 2nd. Two batters later, a fastball squirted between Boulware's legs and allowed Williams to get to 3rd. It looked like he wasn't expecting that pitch and the signals were crossed. Senay popped a high fastball up all of 5 feet down the 1st base line, and Boulware was in position to make the catch, and McGibbon called him off but didn't make the catch. The ball dropped between 4 orange jerseys. Technically this should be the 1st baseman's ball coming in from 1st, but either he or the Pitcher is supposed to call it. After Nance struck out, Senay tried to steal 2nd base and was caught in the rundown, but not before Williams scored to make it 4-0 NC State.
Carlos Rodon was killing us the first time through the lineup. His stuff is just downright nasty but he didn't have great control of it - he couldnt get the ball down to the opposite side of the plate. We managed only 1 hit through 3, but we had worked him for 48 pitches by the start of the 4th inning. With 1 out in the 4th, after Rodon's 7th K, Shane Kennedy worked a walk and Steven Duggar was HBP. Rodon, who is pretty slow to the plate, tried a pickoff move at 2nd base and threw it into CF, allowing the runners to move up to 2nd/3rd. He was far too worried about the runners on base instead of the batter in this AB. Garrett Boulware then got a pitch to lob just over the infielders to plate the first run, McGibbon got one through the right side for another to make it 4-2. With them at 1st/2nd, Tyler Krieger put one just inside the RF line to reach 1st but no run was scored. With the bases now loaded, Gibson grounded to 2nd and the throw to the base took out Krieger, but scored Boulware to make it 4-3. Brittle fouled out to end the inning.
None of those balls were hit hard off Rodon, we just managed to get them to empty spaces.
In the 5th, Jay Baum led off with a single through the box and stole 2nd while Wilkerson was striking out (again). Rodon walked Kennedy and Duggar singled over the SS's head. The LF botched the throw and allowed him to get to 2nd and the run scored to tie it at 4-4. Then Boulware came up and took a fat fastball middle/in over the LF wall to make it 7-4 Clemson. After McGibbon singled, Rodon was over 100 pitches and was yanked for Orwig. Gibson later would double and advanced on another throwing error from the OF, but Clemson ended up plating another run to make it 8-4 Clemson. Gossett (W, 2-1) tightened up after that and was pretty strong until being pulled.
CU would plate another run in the 8th off numerous NC State screwups and Boulware homered again in the 9th.
NC State lost all-star Trae Turner on the last play of the game running out a ground ball at first. He sprained his ankle and was unavailable thereafter, he is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Clemson's 5-6-7 hitters did the work in this game. Duggar went 1-for-4 with 2 runs scored, Boulware finished 4-for-5 with 5 RBIs, and McGibbon woke up at the plate with a 3-for-5 day. Maleeke Gibson also went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. The 3-4-5 hitters went 1-for-12.
Clemson finished with 3 errors and NC State 4 in the sloppily fielded game.
Saturday - Clemson 7-4
Clemson's first two pitchers weren't fooling anyone here, and I'm shocked we won it considering we gave up 16 hits and had only 6 ourselves, but they couldn't get anything to blow it open.
Clate Schmidt did not have his best command from the start. In the first, NC State plated their first run. The first batter reached when a ball went to deep short but the throw couldn't be made. The second batter singled to put them at the corners, and then stole 2nd base. With 2 outs, a weakly hit ball to Wilkerson was botched and the first run scored, unearned. He charged hard and tried to scoop it up and missed it. Schmidt was shaky but didn't allow another run until the 4th when he was pulled after a string of singles for Meyer, who stunk it up as well. Matt Campbell finished it for his 4th save.
Ethan Ogburn started for the wolfies and wasn't fooling anyone either, nor was he able to throw strikes. Baum nearly had a HR in the 1st and Wilkerson flied out deep to CF. In the 2nd, Duggar reached when a flip from the 1st baseman back to the pitcher at the bag was too late after the 1B baubled it. A WP moved Duggar to 2nd immediately, and another got him to 3rd. Boulware worked the walk to have runners at the corners. McGibbon hit an RBI single and Ogburn promptly walked Krieger before Avent pulled him for Tzamtzis. After Maleeke Gibson flied out to RF, Thomas Brittle hit a grand slam to make it 5-1 Clemson. That was all we needed.
Sunday - NC State 4-1
On Sunday It was us who couldnt plate any baserunners, with ample opportunities to do so. Of 14 runners on base, only 1 scored and 9 were left in scoring position despite 4 NC State errors. OF Jake Fincher went 4-for-4 and threw out a Tiger at the plate, basically beating us himself.
Scott Firth (L, 2-2) pitched well enough, despite having runners on base most of the time. He went 6.2, with 8 hits allowed, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk and 3 Ks.
Jake Fincher singled in the 2nd and another error by the outfield (Gibson) let him advance to 2nd. A sacrifice moved him to 3rd, and he later scored on a DP grounder to make it 1-0 State.
In the 3rd, Clemson got on the board to tie it. Gibson hit a bunt single, then Brittle followed with another single to right. Gibson would later score off a Wilkerson single.
Clemson had a shot to score again in the 6th, but the runner was thrown out at the plate by Fincher from LF. He tripled in the next inning and scored later to make it 2-1.
Krieger singled to lead off the next inning, and Gibson laid down a bunt that died immediately in front of the plate. The catcher picked it up and threw to 2nd a little wide to the SS side, but the runner was called out. This looked to be a bad call to me. Brittle was hit by a pitch, and Baum singled to Left, but Fincher threw out Gibson at the plate. It looked to me like he had his left hand on the plate before the tag.
In the next inning Clay Bates ran into trouble in relief in the 8th, and was relieved by JoMo, who did his usual worst and allowed 2 runs to make it 4-1.
Clemson will face Charleston Southern on Wednesday at home and will host Virginia next weekend. I think we have an excellent shot to win that series this time.