My thoughts on this weekend in college baseball.
Clemson – Make no mistake…This was a very bad series loss for Clemson. The Tigers have now played themselves out of hosting contention and are much closer to being in trouble of making a Regional all together. Clemson currently sits at a pretty good 2 seed. Out of the 16, I’d put them right around the 10th, but with FSU and NC St coming up, it could get worse.
If Clemson continues to lose more series, the Tigers will find themselves at a 3 seed and on the verge of being out. The Tigers have had a pretty solid RPI for most of the year, but Clemson’s record against the RPI Top 25 is weak and now are 3-9 against teams owning more than 26 wins. Multiple series losses, including one to a bad team in Duke and Clemson is finding itself heading in the wrong direction. The Tigers also currently tied for 10th with UNC and Duke at 9-12 in the ACC. Ten teams make the conference tournament. Don’t forget, UNC made the ACC tournament round robin phase last year, but not a Regional.
Before the season, I predicted the Tigers not to make a Regional at all because of the problems it would have in its starting rotation. Now you see what I’m talking about. Schmidt, understandingly, has run out of gas it seems, Eubanks and Higginbotham just aren’t ready to compete at that level yet, and the bullpen has very little depth. If Charlie Barnes doesn’t pitch well, the Tigers are a candidate for a sweep if the bats see good pitching.
The series loss to GT showcased just how far behind the staff is. I love what Coach Lee is doing and believe he will bring Clemson back to the a big time program soon. But he just doesn’t have the arms this year. Giving up 30 runs in one weekend just isn’t close to good enough.
So yes, Tiger fans should start to worry.
USC – This was a much needed week for USC. It’s not about the opponents, because frankly USC has national seed on its mind and going 4-0 against Furman and Missouri isn’t going to boost your RPI. (More on that later this week) This week was needed in a much different way…Confidence.
I don’t know if you saw USC play the previous 2 weeks, but it wasn’t much fun for Gamecock fans. They struggled massively at the plate…Bad swings, little discipline, and terrible approaches. The lineups they were put in at times didn’t help either. Sometimes you just need to go drop a 14 spot and as a hitter, it’s nice to raise your average a little bit. The Gamecocks got to do that against Furman.
Missouri had 2 really good pitchers and USC did a much better job against them than anyone they really saw over the past few weeks. Schmidt and Webb both had pretty decent outings but didn’t go 8 innings and the Gamecocks had to put some runs up…. and they did. Now with Florida coming to town, this Gamecock team is in a much different place mentally. A 4-0 week will do that.
Speaking of moving forward – PLAY HOPKINS!!!!
I know, I know. When you play Hopkins, you have to DH Destino and catch Jones which means Cullen sits. I get it…I really do. I don’t care.
With Cone and Hopkins hitting 1-2, this lineup is very dangerous. Hopkins is now hitting .352 and after this many games, that’s just too good of a number to sit. Cullen deserves to play too and he should. He has future star written all over him.
So here’s what I have in mind. Play Hopkins from now on and here’s what you do…
- Some games catch Jones and sit Cullen.
- Feel free to give Jones a day or 2 off
- Try Destino at 1B again.
- Who cares what you do, play Hopkins
One other move needs to be made – Start Stokes at 2nd and have DC be a defensive sub. At .208, it’s time for Arendas to not be an everyday player.
Oh, and by the way, Gene Cone…big shout out to my fellow Spring Valley Viking. He is crushing it right now.
USC and Florida should be a fun one. I’ll have a piece later this week up on what it’s going to take for USC to be a national seed.
Other series – Crazy upsets of the week:
BC over Louisville
Wake over UNC
Tennessee over Vandy.
Oklahoma St. over TCU
The west coast and middle of the country are really struggling right now.