This one was really disappointing.
I thought Friday's game would be tough, and it was against UNC ace starter Matt Harvey, himself a future high draft pick, but we've handled some staff aces pretty well this year. We didnt this time though. and Harvey (5-2) struck out 15 Tigers Friday night, throwing 156 pitches in the 5-3 UNC win.
He won't be a high draft pick if he keeps going out there for that many pitches though. His career will be over and Mike Fox should be ashamed of himself (a la Ray Tanner) for letting his guy throw that many pitches.
But nonetheless, we couldnt handle Harvey even when he got tired. Casey Harman gave up 5 runs, only 3 earned thanks to our great defensive infield, to take his first loss of the year (5-1). Again, Clemson's defense costs us a victory. Hinson tried to make up for his error with a 2-for-4 performance and a HR in the 9th, but Wilson Boyd struck out looking to end the game.
Why anyone would take anything borderline in the bottom of the 9th inning is beyond me, but between watching Clemson strike out and the damn Braves too, I'm about ready to have a stroke.
Pretty much the entire lineup did nothing Friday, Kyle Parker went 2-for-4 with Hinson, and thats about it. Epps of course struck out 3 times in 4 AB, because you know he's going to pad his strikeout total by refusing to move the damn bat off his shoulder....ever. You wonder why Epps walks so much? Its because he just takes....and takes....and takes....
Saturday's game was moved up to 11am because of the threat of rain, and rain did stop the game in the 5th with Clemson ahead 7-5, after we put up 6 in the 4th inning. Kyle Parker smacked a 2-run HR to cap off the inning and put us ahead, after digging ourselves out of the 5-1 hole that Weismann put us into. He just didn't have it at all against UNC's lineup. In the 6th inning after play resumed today, Hinson doubled and scored Parker and later scored on a balk to make it 9-5.
In the eighth inning, Hinson walked with one out, stole second, and scored on Miller's single up the middle. 10-6 final. Frederick got the win (1-1) and after Haselden couldnt finish it off (again pitching over 2 innings), Lamb was brought in to finish it for the save. I guess Jack doesnt see Haselden is only really solid for an inning or 2, and then falters.
Parker led Clemson's 13-hit attack with three hits and two RBIs, while Miller and Lamb had two hits apiece. Every Tiger starter had at least one hit as well. Addison Johnson took the leadoff spot for the game instead of Epps, and ended up also striking out 3 times.
45 minutes later, Game 3 started and after a shaky first few innings, really turned into a pitching duel between Patrick Johnson and Dominic Leone. Both of them gave up 3 runs early, and then shut the lineups down to follow. Leone really impressed with his command of his slider and went 8 innings, giving up 3 runs, while walking 1 and striking out 3.
Johnson lasted into the 9th to benefit from a two-out double in the top of the ninth inning off Will Lamb to get the win, and also threw 129 pitches.
Clemson managed to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth. Boyd led off with a single to left field on a 3-2 pitch and went to second on Lamb's sacrifice bunt. After Nester walked, Shaffer reached on a perfectly placed infield single on the left side to load the bases with one out. The SS really could do nothing with the ball and it was a wonder he got to it. UNC's reliever then faced Epps, who I expected to strike out given his track record, and I was not disappointed. The count went to 3-0 and on the 4th pitch, which appeared to be Ball 4, the Umpire took his sweetass time calling strike 1. Epps had started down to 1st too. Unfortuntately, Shaffer thought it was ball 4 and started halfway to 2nd, and the Catcher threw him out getting back to 1st by a mile. 2 outs.
The Ump pissed me off, as well as everyone in orange, but really this mistake is by Shaffer. You must be certain here in the 9th inning that that pitch was ball 4.
Epps then followed his pattern, and struck out swinging to end the game, his 3rd strikeout of the game to again go 0-for-4. .4-3 UNC.
Boyd had a team-high two hits for the Tigers, who had eight hits in the game. Clemson suffered its first home series loss since 2008 and fell to 0-11 in its last 11 games decided by two runs or less, seven of which have been one-run defeats.
Parker went 1-for-3 with an RBI, and 6-for-11 in the series with 1HR, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored.
Epps went 0-for-8 with 6 Ks. After going 2-for-9 with 5 Ks last weekend at GT. SOmeone tell me why he's playing? Why doesnt Lamb DH with Boyd, Parker, and Schaus in the OF? Anything is better than just going up there and taking so many pitches that you strike out.
It would be nice if Addison Johnson knew how to hit a baseball, he'd take Epps right out of this lineup.
The Tigers will be off five days for final exams before they return to action for a four-game series at home against Florida Gulf Coast starting Saturday at 6:30 PM. If we dont turn this around, we might take ourselves right out of the Tournament, and right now I don't think they deserve a spot in it.