Quiet Storrer Just Keeps Swinging Away


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Over the course of a five-minute interview Clemson's Travis Storrer is willing to talk about almost anything - his teammates, the postseason, the NCAA Regional draw. All of it is fair game.


But ask the Tigers' right fielder to talk about his outstanding hitting over the last month or so, and this is what you get:


"I'm just getting up there and trying to do whatever I can to help this team win."


No boasting of his batting average. No talk of his recently ended 19-game hitting streak, or the fact that he's hit safely now in 23 of his last 24 games, and 31 of his last 35.



There's no braggadocio in his tone, no bravado in his stride.


Bat in hands, Travis Storrer shows up at the ballpark every day ready to go to work. If someone else wants to sing his praises, he seems to say, so be it.


So it is left to others, such as Clemson hitting instructor Tom Riginios, to pat Storrer on the back, knowing there's no way the junior will ever break his arm trying to do it himself.


"He's just been fantastic," Riginos said Wednesday. "The first half of the season he wasn't the Travis Storrer we all know and saw in (the postseason) last year. Early on he was missing a lot of pitches. Say, on a 1-0 count, he was missing the fastball that usually followed.


"The last month and a half he hasn't been missing those pitches. He's a little bit of a rhythm hitter, and right now he's found that consistent rhythm."


Understand, when Riginos says Storrer was missing pitches and not hitting as well earlier this season, he was still flirting with an average at or near .320. Now, at .341 and nestled snuggly into the sixth spot in Clemson's batting order, Storrer is shooting line drives around any and every ballpark in which he plays.


And yet despite the fact that a strong argument can be made that Storrer has been the Tigers' most consistent hitter over the second half of the season, it's just as easy to argue he may be the most overlooked.


Taylor Harbin and Brad Chalk get massive headlines not only because of their production, but because they are true freshmen. Kris Harvey leads the ACC in home runs (22). Four Tigers - Harvey, Harbin, Andy D'Alessio and Tyler Colvin - have at least 50 RBIs. Harvey, Harbin and Herman Demmink all have at least 55 runs scored.


But Storrer's numbers - 6 home runs, 41 RBIs, 41 runs scored - are equally as impressive considering his spot in the lineup. Many of the RBI opportunities are gone by the time he steps to the plate, and in some ways Storrer has become something of a pseudo-table setter for D'Alessio in the seventh spot - his .410 on base percentage is second on the team.


Oh yes. An infielder-turned-outfielder, Storrer has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage this season and - with Colvin - leads Clemson outfielders with eight assists.


It all adds up to one of the better all-around players in the ACC, if only anyone would notice.


"He's kind of an unsung hero," Riginos said. "Look at Andy's RBI totals (56). They're up largely because Travis gets on base. Defensively I don't think he's made an error all year. He's not the fastest outfielder in the world but he gets a great jump on the ball, and his arm is as accurate as they come.


"He's like a lot of our kids these days. He seems to be peaking at the right time."


As for Storrer himself, he's more concerned about keeping a low profile and concentrating on the task at hand.


In this case, that task is the NCAA Regional Tournament which begins Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. No. 2 seed College of Charleston faces No. 3 seed Oral Roberts at 3 p.m., with top-seeded Clemson entertaining No. 4 seed North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m.


Playing at home, Storrer said, gives the Tigers a huge advantage.


"We went to Georgia last year, and you know how that ended up...They had their home field advantage and they ended up winning," he said. "When you get down to those clutch situations at the end of the game you like to have the crowd on your side.


"We had a couple of tough losses here (in the ACC Tournament). But we're feeling good. We've got a lot of pitching, and if our bats come around we'll be fine."


ETC.


- Clemson set the school record for average attendance this season. The Tigers have drawn 114,223 fans for their 29 home games, an average of 3,939 per game. That mark broke the previous record of 3,649, set last season.


Clemson sold over 2,000 season tickets this year.

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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