Sakerlina (50-16) vs. Clemson Tigers (45-23)
Must win one game to play for the National Championship.
Friday, 9pm ESPN2
Saturday, 7pm ESPN if necessary.
Last Game: Clemson defeated #1 Arizona State 6-3 on the arms of Casey Harman and Alex Frederick Monday morning, then defeated Oklahoma 6-4. While the Tigers looked exceptional in Game 1, the 2nd half of Game 2 was pretty lethargic and Clemson pitchers Will Lamb and Dominic Leone were erratic with their command all afternoon.
In the NCAA Tournament, Clemson defeated Southern Miss 10-1, Auburn 5-2, lost to Auburn 11-10, and wrapped up the Regional 13-7. Clemson hosted the Super Regional against Alabama and won 2 of 3. The Tigers lost game 1 because of the defense 5-4, and won the last two 19-5 and 8-6.
South Carolina lost to Oklahoma in Game 1 4-3, leaving the bases juiced in the 8th and 9th innings against Duke. The Cluckers pounded Arizona State in an elimination game 11-4, then OU again 3-2 in 12 innings against Duke. Other than the innings against Oklahoma's closer, the Chickens looked weak at the plate against the Sooners.
In the NCAA Tournament, SC beat Bucknell 9-5, Citadel 9-4, and then Virginia Tech 10-2 in a Regional they hosted in Cola. They then went to Coastal Carolina and swept the Super Regional in two nailbiters, 4-3 and 10-9.
Earlier this Season: Clemson took 2 of 3 from Sakerlina, winning at Clemson 4-3 in the first game. Casey Harman went 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 3 earned runs, while walking 2 and striking out only 1. Haselden no-hit them to seal the deal over the last 4 innings.
At Fluor Field in Greenville, SC won 7-5 when Clemson's bullpen (Cruz & Meyer) collapsed in the 8th inning. The Tigers grabbed a 4-0 lead after two innings on Sam Dyson, but the Gamecocks chipped away and eventually tied the score in the seventh inning. Then three two-out, run-scoring hits in the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game. Will Lamb started and went 5.1 IP, 3H, 2ER, 4 walks, and 1 K.
Then in Game 3 in Columbia, Chris Epps continued his lightning-hot hitting in the series with a grand slam and we thumped them 19-6. Scott Weismann was solid over 6, giving up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks and struck out 5 to get the W. Dominic Leone and Alex Frederick were a little shaky again in relief but Kevin Kyle put the Cluckers away in the 9th to end the massacre. Carolina starter Tyler Webb lasted just 1.1 innings and took the L as Clemson tore through the gamecock pitching staff. Also pitching for USC were Steven Neff (two innings, one hit, four runs), Jay Brown (2.2 innings, two hits, three runs), John Taylor (0.1 inning, one hit, one run), Alex Burrell (0.2 innings, no hits, no runs), Patrick Sullivan (one inning, three hits, two runs), Colby Holmes (0.1 inning, three hits, five runs) and Jose Mata (0.2 innings, no hits or runs).
Chris Epps went 7-for-14 in the series with 7 runs scored and 6 RBI. Also leading the offense this weekend were Mike Freeman (6-for-14, 3 R, 2 RBI) and Jeff Schaus (4 RBI). The middle of the order wasn't so dominant otherwise. Kyle Parker went 1-for-9, Wilson Boyd went 3-for-14, and Shaffer 3-for-11.
Since its unknown who will start we'll just list the ones that make the most sense. Will Lamb having faced the Gamecocks obviously brings him into play, but I just don't see him starting.
Dominic Leone has been named the starter for Friday night's contest.
With Cooper having gone out in the last Oklahoma game, and Dyson going deep against Arizona State, I don't know who Tanner will throw up there Friday. As of late after the game, he doesn't either. I would not be surprised if Dyson goes back out on short rest Saturday. Brown, Neff, Roth, and Carter were mentioned by Tanner in the postgame but he said it wouldnt be Belcher. Carter gave up a HR to OU. Price has thrown too many pitches of late. Roth hasn't made a start all season, Neff has made just one. Tyler Webb pitched in the OU finale.
"I'm pretty sure (Matt) Price is out," Tanner said about Friday's game. "(Tyler) Webb is a -- not Webb, (Steven) Neff is probably a candidate. Maybe Michael Roth. I don't know. We'll go back and regroup and try to see who our freshest guys are. And (Ethan) Carter faced batters. We've got some options. Jay Brown. We'll go back and make a decision."
If there is a Saturday game, I can almost guarantee you Tanner sends Dyson out.
Carolina hasn't had trouble getting runners on here in Omaha, they can't get them in. I believe the number LOB is approaching 30. Jackie Bradley is really the hitter to worry about, he is 6-for-13 in the CWS and has been their best hitter all season. His only hit in the 1-for-6 effort against OU was the clutch hit to score a tying run and preserved his 19 game hit streak.
Most of their lineup had success against ASU, it was OU that stifled them the most. Christian Walker was the one who did consistently get hits against the Sooners in both games, but Brady Thomas had a big hit for the game winner in the 2nd game, and 2-for-4 in the 1st.
Carolina's lineup is good at the top, but not very patient overall. They put the ball in play. Power is evenly spread out.
|CF||Jackie Bradley Jr.||L||.374||85||11||13||58||39|
As for Clemson, we're all on fire at the plate lately except Kyle. Kyle Parker's last home run was on June 7th, but his power numbers have dropped off substantially over the last month. Possibly due to the blisters on his left hand. Two very hard hits against OU were encouraging, and we need him to get hot. Still he's hitting only in the .260-270 range for the Tournament.
Chris Epps is back in the lineup and is actually getting hits again, and I expect him to stay in against Carolina given that he is making contact now and he lit up SC pitching earlier this year. I can't say that I wouldn't put Lamb in at DH over him though, and Lamb is our best base-stealer.
John Hinson is still hitting the cover off the ball, around .500 for the NCAA Tournament totally. Brad Miller is still as hot at the plate as he is cold in the field. Shaffer has been hot, and Freeman continues to prove he's the best 2B Clemson has had in at least a very long time, if not ever.
Of all of them, Kieboom probably impresses the most. His bat lags a bit but nothing gets past him.
Matt Price is the closer, with a 3-1 record and 10 saves with a 2.31 ERA. He pitched extensively against OU last night so I find it doubtful he'll pitch Friday. Jose Mata is another go-to situational sidearmer, posting a 7-1 record and a 2.51 ERA in 43 IP. Situational southpaw Mike Roth has a 1.37 ERA and sidearmer and former closer John Taylor has a 3.62 ERA, both having pitched a good number of innings.
The back of the pen is not so hot, like Clemson's. Even though they have taxed their bullpen a little, it is stronger than ours.
SC fielding is much much better than Clemson. I need not mention who's fault that is.
Prediction: Don't be a fag and yell "ACC ACC ACC" when we beat them.