By Trey McCurry.
With the 2011 baseball season in the book, TCI is embarking on a series highlighting the careers of the seniors on the 2011 team. Part two of the series features pitcher Justin Sarratt.
Sarratt was a fifth-year senior in 2011 and became the first Tiger in history to earn five career letters on the diamond. Like fellow senior Jeff Schaus, #23 left his mark on the Clemson record books. He finished his career seventh in career strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.32) and third in career walks per nine innings (1.91) while finishing eighth in career appearances (80).
Sarratt came to Clemson after a standout career at Gaffney high school where he was the #8 prospect in South Carolina by Baseball America.
During his freshman campaign, #23 was 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA in 13.0 innings over 13 relief appearances. In those appearances, he only allowed an earned run in four appearances. Among the highlights from that season were a scoreless inning against #4 South Carolina and 1.2 scoreless innings against Georgia.
In 2008, Sarratt was a member of the All-ACC Academic team while going 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 27 appearances (two starts). In 45.2 innings, he allowed only six walks against 26 strikeouts. Sarratt was able to pick up his first career win in relief against #21 Coastal Carolina in mid-March and also recorded another win at Central Florida. Among the other highlights from his sophomore season were 2.0 perfect innings in relief against NC State in mid-March and going a then career-high 5.0 innings against the Wolfpack in the ACC Tournament.
Prior to his junior season, #23 won the Omaha Challenge competition among pitchers and also won the Dedication Award for outstanding work in the strength training room. For the season, Sarratt was 3-2 with a save and 5.10 ERA in 16 appearances (seven starts) while allowing only nine walks in 42.1 innings. Two efforts from #23 really stood out in 2009. Against USC Upstate, Sarratt started and threw 5.0 perfect innings as the first of five pitchers to throw a no-hitter against the Spartans, Clemson’s first no-hitter since 1984. Later in the season, he pitched 8.0 innings allowing one run on three hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts against #1 Georgia. He retired 17 batters in a row during one stretch and the 12 strikeouts were the most by a Tiger pitcher since 2001.
The team co-captain’s 2010 season was cut short due to an elbow injury, but luckily he received a medical redshirt that enabled him to return in 2011. Before the injury, #23 was 1-0 with an 11.12 ERA in six appearances (three starts).
Sarratt saved his best for last when it came to his time in a Tiger uniform. As a team co-captain yet again, the righty went from midweek starter to weekend starter and was a key player in Clemson’s run down the stretch in 2011. On the season, he was 7-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 18 appearances (13 starts). During the season, #23 had a streak where he earned a win in five straight starts and a steak of 27.2 innings without allowing an earned run. His best outing of the season came against #9 Georgia Tech, always known as one of the best hitting teams in the country, and helped him earn the ACC Pitcher-of-the-Week honor. In 8.1 innings against the Yellow Jackets, he allowed three hits (all singles), no earned runs, and two walks with six strikeouts to earn the win.
For his career, Sarratt finished with a 13-7 record with a save and a 4.20 ERA in 80 career appearances (25 starts). In 193.0 innings, he allowed 211 hits (.281 opponents’ batting average) and 41 walks against 136 strikeouts.