LOUISVILLE, Ky. — During most of his career, Pat Krall has been money for 14th-ranked Clemson. So when Tigers’ head coach Monte Lee knew he needed a big pitching performance in their ACC Tournament game with No. 10 Virginia on Friday, he gave the baseball to his All-American pitcher.
Last year, Krall came out of the bullpen to post a 10-2 record during the Tigers’ ACC Championship run and this season he was 8-2 with a 2.98 ERA as a starter. So with Clemson desperately needing a win to make a better case as a regional host, Krall took that mound at Louisville’s Patterson Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
“Pat’s been one of our best pitchers for the last two years and he deserved the opportunity to go out there and start today,” Lee said.
It also helped that Krall was almost perfect in the Tigers’ 12-1 win over the Cavaliers on March 19. The tall lefty went seven innings that afternoon and allowed only one run on five hits.
“He has been good for us,” Lee said.
However, it was not Krall’s day on Friday. Having that experience facing him combined with Krall not having his best stuff, the Cavaliers smacked him around in the first inning with six straight hits to start the game, including a three-home run by right fielder Cameron Simmons for a 6-1 lead.
The Cavaliers chased Krall from the game before they even got one out.
“Virginia is one of the best offenses in our league,” Lee said. “Once they get that type of momentum going, it’s hard to stop them. You have to make pitches and you have to make plays and it just did not happen for him in the first inning there on the mound.”
Virginia (42-14) finished the first inning with eight runs on nine hits and had 12 batters come to the plate. Krall was charged for six of those runs, all earned, while giving up the six hits. His ERA skied to 3.63 when it was all said and done.
To make matters worse, it was the worse game Krall has pitched in his Clemson career as the six runs allowed were a career high.
Lee says all he can do after the senior’s bad afternoon is pat him on the back and let him know they still have a lot of confidence in him.
“You hate to see it for him because he’s been so good for us,” Lee said. “I don’t know if he felt at his best. I’m not sure. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him. But I guarantee you he’s so down in the dumps based on what happened to him today.
“It’s probably going to take him a couple of days just to recover from it because he’s that kind of competitor and he’s that kind of kid. That kid competes as hard as anybody on our ballclub … I don’t need to say anything to him right now. When the time is right, I’ll say something to him. But I feel for him. He’s been such a big part of our program, such a big part of our team and I hate that it happened to him today.”