After losing game 1 in 10 innings, Clemson sent Scott Weismann to the mound Saturday to right the ship. The game was televised so I'm sure most people watched it, and the ones that never watch or follow Clemson baseball were flipping out after the game.
If a team only scores 3 runs in college baseball, you don't blame your pitching staff for a loss. Most good teams average over 8 or 9 runs a game and Tech over 11, so why would you even consider it? You want to blame the pro team staff, sure, but not with aluminum bats in play.
Weismann went out Saturday and he was lights out for the first 3 innings, and then in the 4th his sinker stopped sinking. When that happens to a 2-seam fastball, it becomes a fat batting practice pitch. Only the velocity he has made it tough to hit. Weismann kept going up and away from the Tech hitters with that fastball, and they hit two LONG outs before a HR put Tech on the board, then did it again in the 5th.
Jack Leggett had every reason to send Scott out there in the 7th inning. If you've followed my writing on the baseball team you know that I frequently complain that he takes guys out too early. There was no sign, other than his sinker being up in the zone, which it had been in the 4th-6th, that he would give up 2 more runs with 2 outs in the 7th. We covered the problems with the Clemson pen, and how inconsistent they've been. Haselden lost the game Friday, and he has been one of the best all year out there. I would not have thrown Meyer out there since his ERA ballooned from 2.2-5.00+. God help us if Cruz went out there and Frederick hasn't been awe-inspriing either lately. Going with your starter is a better bet when he's only given up 2 solo shots in 6 innings against this powerful Tech lineup.
Hell our defense was even good Saturday, even with the wind messing up some pop-ups and fly balls. GT made the errors and we didnt take advantage, leaving 8 on base and 7 RISP. 4 by John Nester.
Saturday's loss falls squarely on the hitting, just like Friday. Parker made up for his collar Friday night with a 2-for-4 day and a homer, but no one else decided to come to the plate against a GT starter with a 5.85 ERA. Chris Epps completely wet the bed at the plate, striking out 4 times, including the 9th when he stared at a few Andrew Robinson pitches without moving the bat. John Hinson's hitting streak was ended with an 0-for-4 performance too.
But if I'm going to blame someone, it'd be Riginos or Leggett for the way we've tightened up at the plate lately, not for leaving Weismann in a 7th inning. You have to hit the damn ball when runners get on base.
After the game I thought that Epps should be taken out of the leadoff spot, and Brad Miller moved back to leadoff, and Leggett did so. He took a collar and struck out 3 times. We still couldnt get a big hit on Jed Bradley (7IP 8H 3R 0BB 8Ks) and Will Lamb was crushed by Tech hitters in the 11-3 loss. Clemson is now 10-8 in ACC play.
And of course wasn't helped along by Miller in the field, who made yet another error.
KP hit the first pitch of the top of the second inning over the fence in right-center for a solo homer, his 14th long ball of the season and 40th of his career. He became the 10th Tiger in history to reach 40 career long balls. It was also the first home run allowed by Bradley in 2010. Two batters later, Nester bounced a one-out single through the left side to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, but the Tigers were unable to take the lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, Thomas Nichols walked with one out, Jacob Esch singled to left field, and Brandon Thomas loaded the bases with a walk. Rowland then lined an 0-2 pitch down the right-field line to clear the bases. Two batters later, Plagman grounded an 0-2 pitch through the right side for a two-out single to score Rowland. After that it was pretty much overwith.
Georgia Tech outhit the Tigers 17-8 and walked six times. Leadoff hitter Jeff Rowland went 4-for-5 with a triple, three RBIs, and three runs, Tony Plagman went 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, and two runs, and Esch went 4-for-5 with a homer and two runs. It was the first time since 1997 that three opponent batters totaled four hits in one game against Clemson. Esch also entered the series 6-for-59 (.102) in ACC games, but he went 7-for-12 (.583) in the series.
Schaus, Hinson, Miller all went hitless, and Richie Shaffer returned to the lineup at 1B to do the same.
I wonder now if Clemson's hitters will loosen up at the plate, you can always get hot and I've seen bad teams in college catch fire and become unbeatable, but Jack's teams don't have quite that M.O., ever.
Clemson has all home games upcoming and a schedule that does invite that possibility. We have USC-Upstate next and UNC this weekend, which doesnt exactly bode well for our hitters, though I don't believe UNC is that great otherwise. We'll have Florida Gulf Coast following that in a 4-game set, then ACC weaklings Maryland and Wake Forest before we finish with FSU.