College Corner Wofford 4/29
Wofford baseball has a certain identity about them. While this is a phrase/hashtag that has been used by their womens basketball program, I am using it to describe the way that Todd Interdonato’s program is trademarked. “The Wofford Way” – speed and aggression on the bases plus the ability to make good contact at the plate is the perfect combination for the Terriers’ offense to be explosively dangerous when they are clicking. That, paired with effective pitching, makes for a team that is making a lot of noise this season.
While Interdonato has always used “The Wofford Way” as his philosophy (even if he doesn’t call it that), the Terrier baseball program has never had a big sense of national relevance as a mid major that plays in the Southern Conference. That has changed a lot these last 2 years. College baseball, or perhaps college sports in general, had to adopt a lot of unconventional recruiting methods in order to adapt during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic – such as using zoom, the “Trasnfer Portal”, and online recruiting resources to find guys that would fit their scheme perfectly from all around the country. That really helps small schools like Wofford, who prior to the emergence of such resources, would not necessarily have had resources to go on long recruiting trips, instead sticking to recruiting mostly guys from within your own state or local area.
The Terriers have players from 15 different states, with some from as far away as Arizona, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. They all gel together into a stacked roster that has plenty of speed, some pop, and some deep arm talent, and they all are playing their best baseball right now and they are getting recognition for it.
2 weeks ago, Wofford was ranked in a national top 25 poll for the first time in program history, when the Baseball America poll put them at #25 after they swept UNC-Greensboro to open SoCon play. Last week, they were up to #24 before yet another undefeated week and a sweep of East Tennessee State. After beating Presbyterian in midweek and then taking 2 out of 3 in their biggest test since they took the series from then-18th ranked Dallas Baptist, they jumped to 22nd in the BA poll, were ranked 24th in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, and 25th in the D1 Baseball poll. They also saw their RPI leap from 27th to 10th (the highest of any school in the state). Needless to say, the national media is taking notice of the special thing brewing on our city’s Northern Border.
Over the week and a half since the last Wofford “College Corner”, the Terriers went 3-2.
Back on th 19th, they took on PC on the road in what was quite an entertaining game (from a subjective non-biased baseball fan standpoint. If you are a hardcore Terrier fan, you probably were pulling your hair out). Wofford trailed for most of the game until the 9th inning when they managed to take a 1 run lead. PC tied it in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings. Both teams went back and forth for another 2 innings before Dalton Rhadans, who pitched one of his longest outings of the season for his 5th win of the season – 4.2 innings, 5 strikeouts, no walks, 4 hits, and 2 earned runs, closed the door. Brennen Dorighi was the hero at the plate, going 3 for 6 with a 3 run homer, a double, 4 RBIs, and a run scored as Wofford won it 8-7 in 11 innings.
The ‘Wofford Way” was a big part of the Terriers taking care of business against the biggest threat to them repeating as regular season SoCon champions on the road this past weekend at Mercer. In the Friday game, Wofford’s offense set the tone for the series with an explosion at the plate. The Terriers got production up and down the lineup card, but particularly from Lawson Hill (3-3, 3 RBIs, run scored) and Ryan Galanie (1-4, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored) in a 17-7 rout. Matthew Marchal complimented the offense with another strong 6 inning start.
In game 2, the opposite happened. Instead of a case of the runs, the pitching was the story. Josh Vitus turned in his best start of the season, going 5 shutout innings with just 3 hits. Coulson Buchanan threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief, surrendering just 1 hit. “Rubber Arm Rhadans” closed out the shutout with 2 and a third strong innings. That is not to say there was not any offense. Nolen Hester was 3-5 with an RBI. Dorman alum Jack Renwick got the game started scoringwise with an RBI double in the first and a run scored. John Dempsey also scored a run on a straight steal of home in the Terriers’ 5-0 win to take the series from a very good Mercer team.
Game 3 was all offense for both teams, and unfortunately, 10 runs was not enough to complete the sweep. Brennen Dorighi tied the game with a 2 run homer in the top of the 9th, but the Bears walked it off with a 2 run shot.
In midweek action, Wofford added Clemson to their schedule. The Tigers needed a huge RPI boost, and Wofford needed another tough test to possibly boost theirs. If you are a Clemson fan, you are extra happy about this move. Clemson is playing good ball right now, having taken 2 of 3 from Florida Sate this past weekend. In midweek, they had already whalloped PC the night before. They were going to be a tough game. The Tigers jumped ahead in the 2nd inning to erase a 3-2 deficit, and just kept pouring on. Clemson won it 17-4.
This weekend, Wofford gets back into SoCon play sitting alone atop the standings at 8-1 in conference as they travel down to Birmingham, Alabama to take on the Samford Bulldogs. Game 1 is set for tonight at 5:00 ET/4:00 Central on ESPN plus. Game 2 will also be streamed on ESPN+, with first pitch set for 3:00 ET/2:00 CT. The finale will not be available for streaming, but is set for Sunday at 2:00 ET/1:00 CT. In midweek, the Terriers will go to UNC Asheville for a 5:00 start on Tuesday evening.