After dropping their first series of the season last weekend against Miami, Clemson looks to regain momentum as Pittsburgh comes to Doug Kingsmore Stadium this weekend. First pitch for Friday's game will be at 6:30pm followed by 4:00 pm on Saturday. Sunday's game will start at 1:00 pm. All three games can be heard or streamed live on Clemson's sports website.
The #17 ranked Tigers got back on track this week, snapping a 3 game losing streak, with mid-week wins against Furman and West Carolina respectively (7-0 in mid-week games this season) to improve their record to 19-6 (5-4 ACC). The offense continued to roll, even without their best hitter Seth Beer, scoring 19 runs in two games thus far this week. However, the pitching staff is still searching for consistency after giving up 7 runs on 13 hits against Furman and 8 run on 8 hits against Western Carolina. Pittsburgh comes to town on a 3 game winning streak after taking 2 out of 3 from Boston College last weekend and winning a mid-week game against Kent State to improve their record to 12-9 (4-5 ACC) on the season.
The Clemson offense has been carrying the load thus far averaging 7.1 runs per game with a team average of .283. The long ball has been a huge part of the offense this season as they already have 31 home runs, the Tigers hit just 35 home runs all of last season. Seth Beer will be back in the lineup this weekend after missing the mid weeks game due to the death of his grandfather. Beer is leading the team with a .423 average, 11 home runs, and 30 RBI's. Chris Okey's is another player who has been really hot at the plate as of late, bringing his average all the way up to .330 over the last two weeks. He has also 5 home runs and 25 RBI's on the season. Chase Pinder has continued to provide a spark out of the leadoff spot with a .344 average and .466 on base percentage. Reed Rohlman also seems to be getting hot at the right time after having two good mid-week games against Furman and Western Carolina. Look for the Tiger's offense to have another big weekend with the Panthers coming to town.
As for the pitching staff, expect the Tigers to go with Clate Schmidt on the mound Friday night. Schmidt is still undefeated at 4-0 with a 3.56 ERA on the season. The Tigers desperately need a quality start out of Schmidt to give the bullpen a much needed rest heading into the rest of the weekend. The bullpen pitched 8.2 innings during the two mid-week games this week. Charlie Barnes will get the Saturday start with a 2-2 record and 4.01 ERA. Pat Krall and Alex Bostic continue to be the go to pitchers out of the bullpen combining for a total of 44 innings pitched. As a team, the pitching staff has an ERA of 3.14 and only allowing opponents hit .236. The Tigers pitching staff will need to be careful this weekend as the Panthers have the ability to hit the long ball.
The Panthers come into the series hitting .292 and 29 home runs as a team. The offense is led by Charles LeBlanc who is batting .395 with 20 RBI's on the season. Catcher Alex Kowalczyk leads the team with 7 home runs and 26 RBI's to go with a .351 batting average. A few other notable hitters are Nick Yarnall and Frank Maldonado both batting over .300 on the season. Pittsburgh has a team ERA of 4.65 and fielding percentage of .950. Expect for the Panthers to go with Aaron Sandefur, Josh Falk, and TJ Zeuch as the weekend starters. Aaron Sandefur is coming off an impressive complete game against Boston College last weekend.
Starting pitching match ups:
Friday- Clate Schmidt 4-0 3.56 ERA (CU) vs. Josh Falk 2-2 3.16 ERA (Pitt)
Saturday- Charlie Barnes 2-2 4.01 ERA (CU) vs. TJ Zeuch 1-0 0.69 (Pitt)
Sunday- TBA (CU) vs. Aaron Sandefur 2-2 2.75 ERA (Pitt)