With opening day just one week away, Clemson head coach Monte Lee told The Clemson Insider on Friday he feels pretty good about where the Tigers are right now.
It’s been his pitching.
In the first two weeks of preseason practices, Lee says the pitching has been really good. In fact, Lee said it is going to be tough to choose who his starting pitchers are going to be for next week’s three-game series against William & Mary.
“It’s going to be tough for me because those guys have thrown so well,” he said. “There are going to be some guys who have pitched exceptionally well in the intersquads that may have to go to a bullpen just because right now we feel like we have five or six guys that are starters that I will be very happy about running out there to start on the weekend.”
Lee gives pitching coach Andrew See and the pitching staff a lot of credit for how hard they have worked since the transition of the fall to right now and the progress they have made.
“I just think we are in really good shape right now with our pitching,” Lee said.
As for the offense, Lee says the Tigers swung the bats well on Thursday, but as far as the first couple of intersquads go, the bats have been pretty quiet.
“Maybe that is a good thing because we have thrown the ball so well,” Lee said. “It all starts with pitching. Our pitching staff has done a good job as we have come back in January and now into early February. We are ready to get going.”
One of the guys Lee has been pleased with is freshman Spencer Strider, a right-hand pitcher from Knoxville, Tenn. Last week, he had 10 strikeouts in a scrimmage.
“This young man has a lot of potential,” Lee said. “He has a big fastball. He can run up there in the mid-90s. He has a really good breaking ball. He has three pitches, but his poise and composure for a true freshman are really good.
“He is going to be in the mix.”
Lee says Strider will start in the third game of this weekend scrimmages.
The Clemson coach also reported that Jake Higginbotham, a lefty, has also thrown the baseball very well in the preseason. He had eight strikeouts on Thursday and made it through five innings in his start.
Redshirt freshman Travis Marr has been very consistent and he will be in the mix for one of those spots, as will sophomore lefty Jacob Hennessy, who Lee says has been the most consistent.
The Clemson coach also says Brooks Crawford is also in the mix to be a weekend starter.
“There are a number of guys who can fill those three weekend spots,” Lee said. “We are going to try and watch these last few intersquads. We have four guys starting so once we get through this final weekend, we will make a decision on who we are going to go with as one, two and three.”