My thoughts on the weekend:
Clemson – The Tigers won a huge series, a monster series, as close to a must win series as one could be without being a must win series over FSU. But it’s the Noles and the Tigers…I’ve said for some time now, Clemson owns FSU, and they do time and time again. Clemson has now won 5 of the last 7 series, and even with the big difference between these two teams when it comes to pitching, it didn’t matter…because it’s Clemson and FSU.
Clemson always plays their best against the Noles and FSU always plays their worst. It’s not a knock on either team, it’s just how it’s been for a while now.
So as much as I want to say “Ok, Clemson is heading back in the right direction” or “Here comes a good run by the Tigers,” I’ll hold off until next weekend. Clemson is now 9th in the ACC and is not out of any danger yet. The Tigers have a solid NC St. team coming in next weekend and if they win 2 of 3, the Tigers should have an ACC tournament spot wrapped up and make a Regional unless they tank after that.
But if the Tigers lose 2 of 3 to the Wolfpack, Clemson will find themselves right on the edge once again of making the ACC tournament. Remember, Duke owns the tiebreaker after taking the series against the Tigers.
Speaking of next weekend, it’s time to make Pat Krall a starter. I get he’s valuable out of the pen, but there’s not enough chances for him to make a difference in that roll. Clemson has struggled getting a starter to go over 4 innings and Krall is one of the few arms on this team who can. He doesn’t need to be doing so after a starter has lasted 2.1 innings. He needs to get the Saturday start against the Wolfpack.
So yes, it was a great series win for Clemson. But I’m not surprised at all with the result. Let’s see how Clemson responds next weekend…another monster series for the Tigers.
USC – Wow! I have followed college baseball since 1999 and it’s been a long time since I remember 2 back to back regular season games with that much intensity. Mix that together with the amount of talent, great plays, big moments, and finally butts in the seats at Founders Park, and that was a blast to watch.
USC fans should be ecstatic with what they saw over 22 innings. The Gamecocks went toe to toe with the best team in the country and one of the best teams I’ve seen in a long time. Florida is awesome and in many ways the Gamecocks out played the Gators. Give Florida a ton of credit for not quitting in the 9th on Friday night after being outplayed all night.
The Gamecocks trailed for 1 out of 22 innings. Clarke Schmidt and Braden Webb showed everyone that it doesn’t matter if USC is a national seed or not, the Gamecocks have an amazing 1-2 punch that will make them incredibly tough to beat before the CWS. Having 2 Friday night starters is a blessing for Gamecock fans.
Was it just me, or did Tyler Johnson on Saturday night just feel like a Matt Price moment. For 3 years, Price gave USC fans big thrills, fist pumps, and belt drops…Tyler Johnson closing out the Saturday win just felt like old times.
Now USC is in really good shape. If the Gamecocks find a way to win the series at home against Texas A&M and don’t bomb the other 2 series, a national seed should be theirs. USC could use another series win against a top team. But as I said before, I’d favor USC in most places in a Super Regional. So Gamecocks fans, just keep hoping your team stays healthy, improving (and yes, the overall hitting still needs to improve) and you’ll be in great shape come Regional Weekend.
I’m a big fan of Stokes at 2nd base and he should stay the starter the rest of the year. It’s made this lineup better and put some power on the right side.
Gene Cone..there’s nothing I can add that you haven’t already thought of.
Oh…and it’s time to give John Jones and few days off.