It is always something that kills Leggett's Tigers. This tournament just showcased how poorly our pitching staff has progressed this year. Coach Pepicelli should either show serious improvement next year, or be fired.
Kyle Parker did not have what I'd call a great tournament. Richie Shaffer did, and now needs to eat some more cheeseburgers to put some muscle on this offseason.
Clemson is now 38-21, and if we dont get to 40 wins the heat will come up on Jackson Leggett. A division crown is nice but means nothing. We'll have a pretty good shot at it in the Auburn Regional against former Clemson assistant John Pawlowski. Pawlowski was the pitching coach during the Benson/Koch days in Jack's early years as the head man in '94-98. He played here under Bill Wilhelm too. He hasn't had that kind of success at Auburn though.
Auburn Regional opponents
Auburn enters the NCAA Tournament with a 40-19 record. Auburn has 117 home runs and a .348 batting average. According to NCAA stats entering the conference tournament weekend, Auburn led the nation in home runs and was fourth in batting average. Hunter Morris leads the team with a .392 batting average along with 21 home runs and 70 RBIs.
Southern Mississippi has a 35-22 record, but the Eagles are coming off a Conference USA Tournament Championship. They took the title with a 7-4 win over Rice in Houston. Last year, Southern Mississippi reached the College World Series by winning regional tournaments at Georgia Tech and Florida. Southern Mississippi lost to Texas and North Carolina in the College World Series. The top pitcher for Southern Mississippi is Scott Copeland, a senior righthander from White Oak, TX who has an 11-0 record with 66 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched.
Jacksonville State enters the NCAA Tournament with a 32-24 record. It is fresh off winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament with a 10-8 win over Tennessee Tech in the championship game. They have five players with double-digit home runs, led by Sam Eberle, who has 16.
I think its an OK draw, and I hear that Coastal Carolina really lobbied against us being sent down there. It would've helped their gate immensely though. This regional is paired up with Georgia Tech, so if we win we could end up back there.
Now back to the ACCT...
Game 1 was probably a microcosm of our season. Casey battled hard and didn't have his best stuff, and Chris Epps showed that our defense is completely clueless. I have no idea why Jack decided to play Epps - he can't hit, and we knew beforehand that he can't play defense. I believe that most of you who have played CF in high school or American Legion would have looked less inept out there. We were charged with only 1 error, by Schaus, but Epps misplayed 2 balls totally and made the wrong throw in, missing the cutoff and letting another runner into scoring position. He also went 0-for-3.
Harman should not have been taken out in the 6th in my opinion, he was struggling with his command but he was mostly doing what pitchers call "nibbling". That means he was aiming his pitches for a spot on the outside corner, which makes you less aggressive and hitters either wait for you to come inside or adjust and go the other way with the pitch. He never really challenged anyone hard inside. He appeared to have little confidence in his fastball and that spells doom for a pitcher, but he made better pitches in the jams he got himself into. Still, with Frederick's run of success lately there was no reason to think he would give up 4 more runs in the inning.
Kevin Brady and Tomas Cruz gave up 5 more runs between them to make it 13-8 final to NC State, who started a horrible Alex Sogard that we thumped earlier this year. The top-five batters in the N.C. State lineup combined to go 13-for-25 (.520). 7 walks by Tiger pitching only made it worse.
The top of the Tiger lineup did really well (8-for-12), but Parker started his tournament poorly with a 1-for-5, and it continued.
Virginia Tech in Game 2 was a little better, but not for Scott Weismann who could never keep anything down in the strike zone. The Hokies took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, but the Tigers battled back to take a 6-5 lead with four runs in the fourth inning. The two teams traded runs before Clemson tied the score 8-8 in the top of the eighth inning. But Sean Ryan's clutch hit in the bottom of the eighth proved to be the difference, 9-8 Hokies.
Weismann came out after allowing his 6th run in the 3rd. Scott Firth did fairly well in 4 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs and walking none.
Addison Johnson started in CF and made some great plays and a botched one, but he proved why he should be playing to me. If both guys can't hit and one can play D, then play the one who knows how to play D.
Clemson swept the Hokies in a three-game series in Tigertown earlier in the season, but it fell to 8-14 in games decided by two runs or less in 2010. The Tigers also scored at least eight runs for the sixth game in a row.
Georgia Tech was encouraging only in that they whooped our pitching during the series we lost, and Will Lamb shut down the lefty-dominated lineup for 6.1 innings. Kevin Brady came in and showed off his fastball and breaking ball, striking out 4 batters in 2 hitless innings, to finish the game.9-3 Tigers.
Brady has 41 strikeouts against only seven walks in 33.0 innings pitched for the year.
Lamb (W, 4-4) earned the win against one of the nation's most-potent offenses. Lamb was making his first start on the mound since April 18 when he faced the same Yellow Jacket club, and allowed just six hits, two runs, and two walks with four strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched. It was also his first win since he defeated top-ranked Virginia on the road in the first game of a doubleheader on March 27.
Georgia Tech starter Jed Bradley (9-4) suffered the loss, as he gave up seven hits, five runs, and one walk with two strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
For the week Brad Miller led the Tigers by going 6-for-12 with a homer, triple, double, four RBIs, six runs, and two walks in the tournament. Richie Shaffer and Mike Freeman both went 5-for-12, while Shaffer added a homer, two doubles, five RBIs, and five runs. Jeff Schaus hit two long balls as well. As a team we hit .292, which isn't great but should've been good enough to win another game.
Your thoughts on the week and the NCAA tournament?