Monte Lee sets pitching rotation for NCAA Regional in Oxford

by - Senior Writer -
Jacob Hennessy will start Friday against Illinois
Jacob Hennessy will start Friday against Illinois

CLEMSON – Monte Lee has set part of his pitching rotation for this weekend’s NCAA Regional at Ole Miss, with veteran lefty Jacob Hennessy getting the start Friday against Illinois.

After that? It all depends on the result of Friday’s game.

Clemson was selected as a No. 3 seed and will play in the Oxford (Miss.) Regional beginning Friday at Swayze Field. The Tigers were selected to the NCAA Tournament for the 32nd time in the last 33 years, 11th year in a row and 44th time overall, fifth-most in NCAA history.

The Tigers (34-24) face No. 2 seed Illinois (36-19) in their opening game, while No. 1 seed Mississippi (37-25) and No. 4 seed Jacksonville State (37-21) round out the regional field. Clemson’s game will be televised by ESPNU.

Hennessy gets the Friday start.

“In game one we are going to go with Jacob Hennessey. We are going to start Hennessey in game one. We feel very good about our starting pitching,” Lee told TigerNet Tuesday. “I said yesterday that our three starters we feel very confident in all three and we feel like Jacob is the right call to go in game one. We had lengthy discussions about it yesterday. A lengthy meeting about it this morning and we feel very good as a staff with going with Jacob in game one.”

Lee said a number of factors went into the decision to start Hennessy.

“We feel like for us we felt very good about all three of our starters going against Illinois and there were points to be made for starting all three,” Lee said. “But we are trying to win this regional and we felt like to set our pitching up the way we want to set our pitching up that going with Jacob in game one was the right move for our team and for us. It wasn’t all about the matchup with Illinois as it was just trying to set our pitching up with the goal in mind of winning the regional.

“We all know how important game one is, how critical winning game one is, but we also understand how critical winning game two is. So they are both very, very important. We made the decision to go with Hennessey with the mindset we are trying to win this regional.”

The game two starter could be Mat Clark – who took a no-hitter into the late innings against Louisville in the ACC Tournament – or someone else.

“If the stars align and we fortunate enough to win game one and we are going to do everything we can to win game one even if that means compromising future starting plans over the weekend to use certain guys out of the bullpen, we are going run everybody we can at Illinois in game one to try and win game one,” Lee said. “If we are fortunate enough to win game one then certainly that would be our plan to go with Clark.”

Davis Sharpe, who hasn’t pitched since May 18, is available to start this weekend but Lee said that Sharpe could also see action out of the bullpen either Friday or Saturday.

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