Though everyone outside of the clubhouse thinks 12th-ranked Clemson will have to score five or six runs a night to win ballgames this season, the guys in the clubhouse feel their team is more complete than people think.
“This spring and during the fall we have had some guys step up on the bump,” Clemson’s two-time All-American Seth Beer said. “I really think we have a talented bullpen and a talented rotation, whatever that might be.
“I think that our pitching staff is ready.”
During preseason scrimmages the last three weeks, Clemson’s pitching has been the talk in the clubhouse. Tigers’ skipper Monte Lee said the offense has not done much at all against his pitchers.
“We have been facing off with each other for a bunch of months now and I really think we have what it takes with the pitching this year,” Beer said.
Clemson is going to find out just what it has in two days when it hosts William & Mary for a three-game opening series this weekend at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson. On opening day sophomore Jacob Hennessy, from right down the road at Dorman High School, will get the start.
“He is going to be well prepared,” outfielder Robert Jolly said “There is a reason why he is going to be our opening day starter this year.”
While the pitching staff has filled in the blanks at least for opening weekend, there are still some question marks in the hitting lineup. The Tigers still have not made a decision on who will start in left field between Jolly and Drew Wharton or in centerfield between Wharton and freshman Bryce Teodosio, who played high school ball at nearby Mauldin High School in Simpsonville.
Lee has a good idea what he wants to do, but he has used the last couple of days of practice to get a better idea before he fills in his lineup card for the first game.
“We have put in an awful lot of work to get us to this point,” he said. “We have had a lot of live at-bats. We have played as much as we possibly could around the rain that we have had, but our guys have performed very well, especially on the pitching end.
“We are excited to get started and we are excited to play somebody else besides ourselves. We are excited about having a big-crowd come out on opening weekend. Hopefully, the weather cooperates with us and we are able to get three games in against a quality opponent in William & Mary.
“So, we are just kind of itching to get there.”
Clemson and William & Mary will open the season at 4 p.m. on Friday.