As a whole, I'm somewhat less-than-thrilled with this opening series. We should look better than we did against this competition. Teams that make serious runs to Omaha shouldn't have many series where we look as inconsistent as we did against EMU. Some of it can of course be attributed to opening season jitters or being too amped up, or it could improve as the weather warms as the hitting usually picks up, but there is plenty we need to work on.
Friday - EMU 6-5 in 10 innings.
Clemson built up a 4-1 lead while Gossett was on the mound, but Kevin Pohle and Schnell came in relief in the 6th and blew the lead. Mike Dunster's HR tied it in the 9th inning, but Schmidt couldn't hold it together in the 10th and Clemson fell 6-5.
Chris Okey's Clemson career started out with a 2-out, 2 RBI single to CF in the 1st inning to give us a 2-0 lead. EMU scratched out a single run on Goose in the 3rd. Goose finished with 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, with 1 walk and 4 Ks. A pretty good first outing.
Pohle started the 6th inning and got beat up pretty good. The first two guys singled and the next reached on a FC. With 2 men on, a double went over Slaton's head to make it 4-3. Schnell came in immediately, but could do little better. A steal of 3rd base, a RBI groundout, and another double gave EMU the lead. Clay Bates came in and finished the inning.
Clemson's major problem, as usual, was getting men to home plate after getting them on base. 10 Tigers were stranded in the game, with 2 LOB in the 8th, 3 in the 9th, including the tying run in the 10th.
Saturday - Clemson 5-3
Matthew Crownover (1-0) looked good but erratic in his first start of the season, showing what looked like 2-4mph more on the fastball than last season. I don't know if it was just that he was amped to show us more speed or that he was just excited for his first start of a new season. Crownover threw a lot more fastballs than I remember seeing last season, and had more issues with his command of the strike zone in the early innings, but he showed enough to be excited for him this season. If anything I thought he tried to overpower more than he should've, instead of letting them hit grounders, and it ended up with him hitting 100 pitches in the 5th. Crownover ended up with 5IP, 4H, 2 R, only one earned but the error was on him, no walks, and a career high 9 Ks.
Erwin similarly was a bit shaky to start out in the 6th, but settled down and closed out the game with a 4 inning save.
We did have some awful looking at-bats in this one, and really didn't look like a complete team at the plate. We started out worse than we finished thankfully. The damage was done by the 2-4 spots in the order, with both Krieger and Duggar going 3-for-4.
Sunday - Clemson 9-7
Clemson jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 2 innings, but Jake Long gave it all back in the 3rd before being pulled. He might get one or two more shots as a weekend starter but there is enough talent behind him that Sunday starts like this will get you moved to the bullpen.
Clemson made it 6-4 after the 6th, but Clate Schmidt was shaky again from the pen, allowing EMU to tie it in the 7th, and an error by Krieger allowed EMU to take the lead after Campbell had come in. Campbell finished off the game to get his first win of the season.
Clemson plated 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th to win it. Overall we hit well in this one, but again mostly the top/middle of the order. I'm glad we showed the mental toughness to come back in late innings in a back & forth game, but barely winning the game and losing another against a directional Michigan school doesn't give me much confidence for SC.
Clemson hitters totaled 10 steals and 14 walks in the 3 games. The pitching totaled 27 Ks and 4 walks.
Redshirt Freshman Andrew Cox went 4-for-9 with a .615 OBP in his first series. Duggar went 5-for-12 with 4 SBs.
The Tigers face Maine next weekend.