After a weekend series that saw the Tigers drop two out of three to Notre Dame, Clemson (14-5, 4-2) will turn its attention to the College of Charleston. The two teams will meet twice this week, with the first game in Clemson on Tuesday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore and first pitch scheduled for 4 pm. The second game will be played Wednesday night at 7 pm at Segra Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies. Tuesday’s game was originally slated for a 6 pm start, but has been moved up to 4 pm due to the basketball team’s opening round NIT game tipping off at 7 pm across the street in Littlejohn.
After having swept UNC to start ACC play, then following that up with a big midweek win over Coastal Carolina, the Tigers couldn’t maintain that momentum. In a series most thought Clemson should win last weekend, Monte Lee's team dropped two out of three to the Irish.
Sloppy play in the field played the biggest role in the two losses, an area the team had been performing well in up to that point. Three of the Irish’s first four runs in Friday’s loss were unearned, and two of the four in Sunday’s loss were also unearned. With the youth this team has in its pitching rotation, sloppy play in the field is not a recipe for success. Those young arms need to know they can rely on the defense to make plays for them. Hopefully it was just one of those weekends, and not a sign of things to come as the schedule starts to get tougher in the coming weeks.
No starting pitchers have been officially announced by either team as of this writing, but it sounds like it is possible we’ll see the return of Brooks Crawford Tuesday. The senior right handed pitcher left his last start against SC after only two innings with back issues, and hasn’t pitched since. If Crawford is in fact healthy and ready to go, it would be a big boost for the young staff. Whether he is a part of the rotation or coming out of the pen, his senior leadership would be a valuable asset on a staff that consists of mostly freshman and sophomores.
On Wednesday we could see sophomore lefty Sam Weatherly get the start. Jackson Lindley could be a possibility as well, although he did throw two thirds of an inning on Saturday. Justin Wrobleski would be another possibility if it turns out that Crawford doesn’t start on Tuesday.
The Cougars, led by second year head coach Chad Holbrook, come in fresh off of a three game sweep of Furman that improved their record to 13-6. They have been good at home but are just 1-3 on the road thus far in the young season. As a team they have an ERA of 3.75 and will likely send junior RHP Steven Cook to the mound on Tuesday. He comes in at 3-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
Junior left hander Trent Joiner has started the Cougars previous two midweek games, so it is a possibility the Tigers see him on Wednesday. He is 0-1 with an ERA of 6.14, having surrendered 5 earned runs in just 7.1 innings, while walking 4 and striking out 2.
CofC comes in hitting .277 as a team, and are led at the plate by 1B Logan McRae. The fifth year senior is hitting .364 with 2 HR and 14 RBI, along with 11 doubles. He has shown some pop in his bat in the past, hitting 17 HRs in 2017, before falling off somewhat in 2018, hitting just 7 HR’s. Senior 2B Dupree Hart is another guy to look out for, hitting .314 with 17 RBI. He is a speedster, having stolen 14 bases in 16 attempts.
After making a huge jump up the RPI rankings last week, Clemson took just as big a tumble after the series loss to ND, falling from #8 all the way down to #33. The Cougars currently sit at #88, up seven spots after their weekend sweep.
Tuesday’s game will be available via the WatchESPN app, but it doesn’t appear the Wednesday night game will be streamed. Both games can be heard on 105.5, WCCP The Roar, the TuneIn Radio app, and online at ClemsonTigers.com