James Parker has earned a litany of nicknames during his time at Clemson, but lately teammates have called him “Pastor Parker.”
The nickname does not reference anything religious, but was earned because of how the redshirt-sophomore has consistently delivered for the Tigers on Sundays in crucial moments.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee calls Parker ‘The Man’ and expressed his appreciation for Parker after his latest heroic moment on Sunday in a series clinching win over No. 13 Virginia Tech.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, with two runners on, behind 0-2 in the count with two outs and down 2-1, Parker blasted a three-run home run to right center field to push the Tigers ahead, 4-2, giving them their first ACC series win of the season.
“He is the Man, that’s what we call him,” Lee said. “He is our Man and he is the guy we want at the plate in high leverage situations.”
Parker’s Clemson lore grew significantly last season when he clinched the series against rival South Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in the series finale. His go-ahead-two-run double in the seventh inning broke a 2-2 tie.
The sophomore followed it up the next week against Boston College with a walk-off fielder’s choice to secure a series sweep of the Eagles in the first ACC series of the year.
The Anderson-native’s heroics bled into the start of the 2021 campaign with another walk-off hit to secure a sweep of Cincinnati on Feb. 21 of opening weekend. Parker belted a one-run single to deep left centerfield in the bottom of the 10th inning that scored Dylan Brewer with the game-winner on that Sunday.
Parker certainly earned his ordination this past Sunday with the series clinching home run that has the potential to right the ship for the Tigers. He lives for big moments but approaches every at bat with the same composure.
“It’s always been keeping it simple. I don’t want to make the situation any greater than it is,” Parker said. “But I just stick to my approach.”
Lee believes Parker deserves more respect as one of the conference’s best infielders. He even went a step farther to insert Parker into the long line of talented shortstops to go through the Clemson program.
“In just my short time at Clemson, we have had Eli White and Logan Davidson. This kid is just as good as those two players and I know people would say, ‘Well Eli is a Big (Leaguer) and Logan is a first rounder,’” Lee said. “Just look at the stats. Look at what the guy does in the box and as an infielder. He is just as good of a player as those two guys.”
Parker and the Tigers hope to continue their good fortunes at PRC Park in North Augusta, S.C., tonight (6:30 p.m.) in a neutral site game against Georgia Southern.