Every Sunday Night, I’ll put my weekly College Baseball thoughts up in Sunday’s Edition of Clary’s POV. (Maybe some Braves too)
USC – Make no mistake, losing the series at Georgia is not a good weekend. Georgia is not a good team and mix that together with a 15-0 loss against UNC; this was not a good week. USC’s lack of hitting is now catching up to them. The Gamecocks won Friday night because Clarke Schmidt was…well…Clarke Schmidt. Braden Webb finally looked human and had no help behind him. Adam Hill battled through more control issues but hung tough. The bottom line though is outside of Gene Cone and Alex Destino, USC is not hitting at all.
Now, one quick note that I like. Jonah Bride hitting 2nd against lefties. I do like what that does to the lineup and he’s done well there. But the Gamecocks’ biggest issue continues to be the lack of hits with runners in scoring position. Up until this week, the Gamecocks have escaped with wins over Coastal and Tennessee without hitting well. Now it’s caught up to them. DTW and John Jones were 2 of the biggest reasons why USC got off to a great start. Now they seem impatient and aren’t swinging with the confidence they were early in the year.
The GOOD news if you’re a Gamecock fan is your success early in conference play has allowed for a weekend like this. Your conference record is a very good 11-4 through the first half of the conference season. A lot of times when you lose a series like this, you think you have to make it up later. The Gamecocks already earned some insurance wins. The loss on Sunday, in my opinion, basically erases the Sunday win against Arkansas. Yes one was at home and the other was on the road, but factor in the opponents as well.
In college baseball, who you are changes multiple times. USC hit very well once conference play began and a big reason was the lineup adjustments by Chad Holbrook. Now he’s got to figure out how to get this team going again and they’ve got a week to do it. At Furman, and Missouri at home is the time to get things right because it gets real again next week.
USC is still in very good shape for a regional and a national seed, and has time to get the bats going again so don’t panic. FSU lost a series to Wake Forest this weekend. It happens. Yes it was a bad weekend and they happen and there are issues and they need to be fixed. But this team has talent and can improve in time.
One note: Due to Taylor Weidner’s struggles once he gets to the 4th and 5th, I would seriously consider making him the 3rd arm out of the bullpen. The midweek opponents aren’t as tough the rest of the way and you should be able to win by finding someone else to start the midweek games. Tyler Haswell and Reed Scott come to mind.
Clemson – Getting swept is never ok. Clemson has played 9 games against top 15 opponents and are 2-7 against them. Clemson’s problems remain the same; pitching, pitching, pitching. The lineup can’t be expected to produce 8 runs every game, or in Sunday’s case, 10. Even though some of the games have been close against Miami and Louisville, 0-6 in those conference games just isn’t good enough if you want to be a regional host.
Clemson is now 8-10 in conference play. The Tigers get 3 straight series coming up at home but FSU, NC St, and GT are all quality opponents and can hit. If the Tigers want to be in the hosting discussion, at least 2 and maybe all 3 need to be series wins. Don’t forget at Notre Dame to wrap up the year won’t be easy.
Clemson needs to continue winning the midweek games or a 2 seed they will be. Now, make no mistake, this team is over achieving and the fact that they are in the discussion for a regional host is a win. But the problems we spoke about before the season are shinning through. It’s time for Jake Higginbotham to be given another look on Sundays. He has the highest ceiling and has looked better the last month.
Bottom line is 8-10 in the ACC just isn’t good enough. To get back in the hosting discussion, it’s time to win some series against teams that are better than you. If not, a trip to Vanderbilt, Florida, or Mississippi St awaits.
Other Notes: Texas A&M bounced back nicely with a sweep over #2 Mississippi St. This is what we know about the SEC…Don’t judge a team based on one weekend; Good or Bad. The top 8 are all very good. Someone has to lose.
And just for fun –
Braves – The one team the Braves could beat last year was the Marlins. Apparently nothing has changed.