In case you somehow missed the memo, special guest recruits and a spring football game aren’t the only things of importance going on in Clemson this weekend. Across the street from Death Valley, over in Doug Kingsmore Stadium, it just so happens there is a fairly important baseball series taking place this weekend as well.
In his 13th year on the job, head coach Dan McDonnell will bring his Louisville Cardinals to town for a crucial ACC series. Winners of six straight, including a 3 game sweep of Wake Forest qlast weekend and a midweek win over rival Kentucky, the 23-6 (9-3) Cards come in tied with Clemson for 2nd place in the Atlantic, both one game behind NC State.
The polls are kind of mixed on Louisville currently as they are ranked as high as 8th by the NCBWA (Baseball Writers) and as low as 17th by Baseball America. A better gauge may be the RPI, where they are sitting at #17.
Clemson (22-7, 9-3) will look to get back on the winning side of things after a midweek home loss to Georgia. It seems the polls are a little perplexed by the Tigers as well. They come in ranked as high as 13th by Collegiate Baseball, as low as 23rd by D1 Baseball, and sit at 24th in RPI.
Friday 6pm- LHP Reid Detmers (5-1, 0.92 ERA, 0.66 WHIP) vs RHP Davis Sharpe (4-1, 1.59 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
*Opponents are hitting just .143 against Detmers and he has 76 K’s in 48.2 IP
Saturday 5pm- LHP Nick Bennett (4-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) vs LHP Mat Clark (6-0, 2.14 ERA, 0.87 WHIP)
Sunday 12pm- RHP Bobby Miller (1-0, 4.10 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs LHP Keyshawn Askew (2-1, 3.09 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
*Miller will be making just his 3rd start and has 36 K’s in 26.1 IP
Louisville is hitting .258 as a team and do not hit for a lot of power, as evidenced by their 19 total homeruns. One thing they do possess is speed, however. They have already stolen 56 bases, having only been caught stealing 8 times all season.
A couple of guys to look out for are Lucas Dunn and Tyler Fitzgerald. Dunn is hitting .340, with a SLG% of .489, and an OBP of .456. Fitzgerald is hitting .293, with a SLG% of .431, and an OBP of .375. He has also stolen 10 bases in his 12 attempts.
This weekend starts the “make or break” portion of the Tigers schedule. After the Cards, they have two midweek games at home before hitting the road again to make an appearance on the “Mike Martin Farewell Tour” down in Tallahassee. Then there is a stop in Athens for the final game of the two game set with the Dawgs, against what we already know is a very good baseball team.
By the time the Tigers play another weekend series at home in 2 weeks, we will know a lot more about this team. Can the youthful rotation can hold up to the rigors of an ACC schedule? Can the lineup get better at getting the timely hits? The answers to those questions will go a long way towards telling us whether this team has the chops to make a serious run at hosting another regional. Buckle up, the fun is about to start.
All 3 games are being televised through the WatchESPN app. The radio broadcast can be heard locally on WCCP, via the TuneIn Radio app or at ClemsonTigers.com