Georgia State (9-4) @ Clemson (7-6)
Friday- 4:00 PM
Saturday Double Header: Game 1 at 1:00 PM, Game 2 one hour after the conclusion of Game 1.
Radio: WCCP FM local, ClemsonTigers.com
Last weekend started off with so much promise, but ended in frustration. However, there is good to take from this. First, hats off to Austin Gordon’s Friday night performance in the win. After a less than inspiring performance against UCF, he had a lights out performance against the Cocks. I look forward to seeing more from him and his development. He’s been tabbed as the Friday night guy against Georgia State, which was expected. I’ll be curious to see what happens when Ryan Ammons comes back, and also when Billy Barlow is at full strength.
The Tigers can also hit the ball, and that’s what made Saturday’s loss in Greenville so frustrating. Scoring 9 runs should be enough. Tristan Smith had a great start, but the bullpen needs some guys to step up. Clemson had multiple opportunities to shut the door and just couldn’t get it done. I think the offense has the horses under the hood to keep the Tigers in a game with anyone in the ACC, but Clemson has to get something out of the pen. I won’t even get into Sunday’s game. The team had given everything in games 1 and 2 and didn’t have anything left in the tank. In reality, it shouldn’t have mattered as Clemson should’ve been able to find that win in Greenville, but it is what it is.
Time to move on, and the Tigers fortunately got back in the winner’s column Tuesday and Wednesday with wins over theEast Tennessee State Fighting Kenny Chesneys and Presbyterian. It was refreshing to see Clemson hold ETSU to one run. And Presby is a team that has snuck up on Clemson in years past, so that’s a game where I just grit my teeth and hope we come out on top. It was also nice to see Caden Grice get the start on the mound against PC, and given the Tigers’ pitching frustrations, I think he may find himself being more of a factor on the mound.
So, onto Georgia State. State comes in at 9-4. Georgia State is a program that is starting to see the benefits of being in a baseball hotbed and being able to offer metro-Atlanta kids in-state tuition and the Hope Scholarship , which is a big bargaining chip in the world of college baseball where each team only gets 13.2 scholarships. Last Saturday in Game one of a double header against that Presbyterian team that Clemson just played, the Panthers shelled the Blue Hose 20-0. The took the series 2-1 and scored at least 8 runs in each game. So, another team that can take advantage of bullpen issues.
Clemson will probably need the bats to be louder than they were in the midweek games, and also need to not waste opportunities to score. Hopefully we’ll see the aggressive baserunning, but with good decision making.
Friday will have some morning rain, but looks like it will be clear and nice by first pitch. Saturday looks clear and a good day to play 2. With a good bit of the Clemson students partaking in the Ain’t Paddy’s Day bar crawl downtown, I don’t know how good the first game on Saturday will be attended by students, but I definitely hope some of them mosey on over to the Doug after a day of revelry.