After the Tigers scored six runs in the fourth and fifth innings of Tuesday night’s game against Oklahoma, mother nature stepped in and halted play. Apparently, it took the Tigers offense with it when it left. Since that stoppage in play, the Tigers have managed just four hits in its last 13 innings, and just one run in that same span.
Factor in that South Carolina’s starting pitcher, Michael Roth, pitched a complete game against the Tigers Friday night, and you begin to wonder just what has happened to the Tigers high powered offense. The left-handed hurler, whose previous longest outing was three and a third innings, made quick and easy work of the Tiger’s left handed heavy batting line-up, with left handers not getting a single hit on him until Brad Miller singled through the right side in the bottom of the ninth inning.
It has seemed all year like left handed pitchers that throw at three-quarter delivery have really caused the Tiger batters some problems, and that is exactly what Roth is. “We knew his arm slot was dropping down a little bit. He had some good ball movement. He was a little deceptive. And obviously it was tough for us to see” Head Coach Jack Leggett said.
The only good thing for Tiger fans is that Roth can’t go again on Saturday, but that really won’t matter much until the batters start performing anyway. Even with two wins under their belt, the Tigers haven’t really awed anyone with their hitting. Despite amassing 23 hits over three games, the Tigers have managed just two extra base hits, a triple by Kyle Parker and a double by freshman Richie Shaffer. Tiger hitters also have yet to hit a home run here in Omaha. All this coming from what was the leading team in runs scored per game of any of the eight teams here coming into the CWS.
Tonight’s loss can’t exactly be blamed on pitching either. Three Tiger pitchers, led off by freshman Dominic Leone held the Gamecocks to five runs on eight hits. Leone went two and two-thirds innings allowing three runs on four hits. David Haselden then came out to go three and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits. Tomas Cruz then finished things out with the nights best performance by a Tiger pitcher, allowing no hits and no runs in three full innings of work.
The Tigers and the Gamecocks will face off again at 7:00 eastern time in a winner take all, loser go home battle, or let’s just call it for what it is, a war.
Casey Harman is expected to get the start for Clemson while most expect righty Sam Dyson to get the nod for the Gamecocks.