Clemson head coach Jack Leggett and seniors Mike Freeman and Wilson Boyd met with the media following the 5-1 loss to the Gamecocks.
COACH LEGGETT: Well, they played a good ball game. Gotta give them credit. The kid pitched a good game, kept the ball down, we hit a ton of ground balls. They made a ton of plays. We never had a chance to get things going offensively. Didn’t have many lead off men on base. When we did, we did score that one run.
But we just didn’t get any flow offensively going. And we got behind early, and we did make some pitches to keep it close. But this ball game’s over. As far as I’m concerned we just gotta come back tomorrow and be ready to play.
Wilson and Mike, just how tough was Roth tonight? Was he just pitching that well?
Boyd: I think from the last time we saw him, I think he dropped his arm slide a little bit, as far as the way the ball is moving tonight. Made it tough on a lefty because it exploded in. And he had a slider away and everything, as Coach Leggett said, down in the zone. He did what he had to do tonight to win the ball game for them.
Freeman: Yeah, it’s definitely his night. You gotta give him a lot of credit because he went out there and battled for his team and did exactly what they wanted him to do, and we just couldn’t get anything going. Got a couple of hits. When we did, we couldn’t put them back together.
So we just never really got anything going on offense, any kind of a walk followed by a hit. And we just kind of granted a double play or something to try and kill anything we had going.
Gotta give a lot of credit for making the pitches when he needed to make his pitches and, I mean, the good thing is we got another game tomorrow to play, so we’ll be out and ready to go tomorrow.
Jack, were you surprised that Roth was able to go as long as he was? He had thrown 26 innings all season and for him to come out and throw nine, over 100 pitches, were you surprised?
Leggett: I didn’t really think when the game started that they were going to ride him that long. But he was having success, and he was throwing strikes, and he was getting some quick outs and his pitch count wasn’t up very much.
And so we just kept riding him and he kept throwing balls in the strike zone and they were making plays behind him. So I didn’t expect him to go nine innings certainly when the game started, but at the same time once he got rolling there, I knew we were having a little bit of trouble. We weren’t getting a lot of good swings.
Guys, I know ’02 is ancient history. People will talk about it you lost a couple to South Carolina, or Clemson did in the World Series. Cross your mind at all, any factor at all?
Freeman: I mean, we weren’t here in ’02. I mean, I don’t really know exactly the history. I know that they have a really good team in ’02. Michael Johnson was a part of it. But as far as that goes, that has nothing to do with this College World Series. They beat us tonight. But we got a game tomorrow and we’re going to come out ready to play.
Coach, any thought on who you’re going to start tomorrow, what the pitching rotation will look like?
Leggett: I’ll go back and talk about it. Casey Harman is an option for us, certainly, and so we’ll go back and talk about it tonight.