Brady pitches gem as Tigers roll over Michigan St.


by - Senior Writer -
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AUDIO: Head Coach Jack Leggett (MP3 Format)

AUDIO: RHP Kevin Brady (MP3 Format)

AUDIO: Assistant Coach Dan Peppicelli (MP3 Format)

AUDIO: 1B/3B Richie Shaffer (MP3 Format)

GREENVILLE – Sunday afternoon at Greenville’s Fluor Field was like an episode of The Brady Bunch.

As in Tiger pitcher Kevin Brady was throwing bunches and bunches of strikes.

Brady pitched seven strong innings and Tiger pitchers overall faced just two batters over the minimum in a 8-0 victory over the Michigan St. Spartans in the First Pitch Invitational. The Tigers won all three of their games in the series by a combined score of 42-5.

Brady was stellar in his second start and earning his second win. He struck out nine and walked none, and has given up just one earned run in 12 1/3 innings this season. He threw 89 pitches against the Spartans, 62 of those for strikes.

“He was throwing strikes and he was throwing really well today,” Clemson skipper Jack Leggett said. “He had the fastball working. He had a lot of confidence. We did a nice job offensively and defensively behind him. We did a nice job offensively early getting some early runs and allowing him to relax with a little bit of a lead against a good Michigan State team.

“The more strikes you can throw, the better off you are especially when you have a fastball like his. We were able to play well behind him. They were a little behind on their swings because he was throwing the ball so well. “

Brady said he was struggling a little bit with his command through the first two innings, but found his rhythm in the third and started “pounding the zone.”

“I finally found that rhythm and was able to locate the fastball,” Brady said. “The first couple of innings I couldn’t really find it. The zone started to open up once I started throwing strikes. It kept my defense alive behind me. They played a great game behind me.

“At the beginning of the game, I didn’t feel like I was filling up the zone as much. I was putting it up in the zone and they were just making unbelievable plays behind me. That’s what really made this game and kept me in the game.”

Each team failed to score in the first, but the Tigers got on the scoreboard in the second inning. Richie Shaffer led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to third on a one-out single by Spencer Kieboom to right field. Will Lamb flied out to center and Shaffer bluffed going to the plate, but Kieboom was caught off first in a run-down and Shaffer broke for the plate. Shaffer slid under the tag for a 1-0 Clemson lead.

In the third inning, Jason Stolz led off with a double down the right field line, advanced to third on a balk and scored Clemson’s second run on a single by Chris Epps. Epps promptly stole second and third and scored on a fly to right by Richie Shaffer, giving Clemson a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth, Lamb led off the inning with a bunt single that got past the pitcher and scored two batters later on a single by Jason Stolz for a 4-0 Clemson lead.

The game remained the same until the eighth inning, when Shaffer laced the first pitch he saw from the Spartans’ Trey Popp into right field. The ball looked like it would drift foul, but drifted inside of the “Pesky Pole” for Shaffer’s first home run of the 2011 season.

The Tigers added three insurance runs in the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Phil Pohl led off with a ringing double to left-center field that bounced off of the base of the wall. He was replaced by pinch-runner Steve Wilkerson, who advanced to third on Addison Johnson’s infield single. Stolz followed with a single through the left side to plate Wilkerson. Johnson and Stolz both moved up a base on a steal, and two batters later Miller lined a triple down the right-field line to score Johnson and Stolz for the Tigers’ final runs.

Leggett said that with the weather hovering around a comfortable 80 degrees and the Tigers playing well in all phases of the game, Sunday was almost as perfect as a manager could hope for.

“It was really as close to a perfect game as you can get,” Leggett said. “We played well on the bases. We played well defensively. We pitched extremely well. We got some big hits and execution when we needed it. I thought we hit the ball on the nose a lot today. We got a couple of bunts down. We got some pressure and we stole some bases. It was a really good day for us.”

However, it was Brady’s continued development that had the Tigers’ buzzing. Pitching coach Dan Pepicelli said he and Leggett considered taking Brady out after the sixth inning, but he wanted to push him into the seventh to see if he could deliver when he was tired.

“I thought the highlight of what he did was when he looked like he was tiring and I gave him one more inning, because I wanted him to push through to the next level in terms of running out his pitch count and he struck out the side,” Pepicelli said. “He looked phenomenal. To me, his gas looked easy even in the last inning, but it looked like he was trying to reach back for a little something extra.

“You gotta do that. Our entire pitching philosophy is to pound that strike zone. It’s a very important part of what we do and what we stress here. It’s been very important in Kevin’s development the last couple of years. If you’ve looked at what he’s been able to do over the last couple of years, he’s turned into a strike thrower with his fastball.”

Clemson will return to action when it hosts Wofford on Wednesday at 4:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.


Clemson 8 (5-1)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Chris Epps rf............  5  1  2  1   0  1  5  0   0
Brad Miller ss...........  4  0  1  2   1  0  2  0   2
Jeff Schaus lf...........  3  0  0  0   1  0  0  0   0
Richie Shaffer 1b........  3  2  1  2   1  0  3  1   1
 Jon McGibbon 1b.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
John Hinson 3b...........  4  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   1
Spencer Kieboom c........  4  0  2  0   0  0 14  1   0
Will Lamb dh/p...........  3  1  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Phil Pohl dh............  1  0  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Steve Wilkerson pr/dh...  0  1  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Addison Johnson cf.......  4  1  1  0   0  1  2  0   1
 Dominic Attanasio cf....  0  0  0  0   0  0  1  0   0
Jason Stolz 2b...........  4  2  3  2   0  0  0  0   0
Kevin Brady p............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Alex Frederick p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 35  8 12  7   3  2 27  2   5

Michigan State 0 (5-1)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Brandon Eckerle cf.......  3  0  1  0   0  0  5  0   0
 Jared Hook ph...........  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Ryan Jones 2b............  3  0  0  0   0  0  1  5   1
 Andrew Rademacher ph....  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
Torsten Boss 3b..........  3  0  0  0   0  3  0  0   0
Jeff Holm 1b.............  3  0  1  0   0  2  8  0   0
Joel Fisher c............  3  0  0  0   0  1  2  0   0
Justin Scanlon ss........  3  0  0  0   0  2  3  3   0
Tony Wieber rf...........  3  0  0  0   0  2  2  0   1
Jordan Keur lf...........  3  0  2  0   0  1  6  0   0
Seth Williams dh.........  2  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
 Andrew Carpenter ph.....  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Andrew Waszak p..........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Trey Popp p.............  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Tim Simpson p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Joe Zwierzynski p.......  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 29  0  4  0   0 14 27  8   2

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Clemson............. 012 100 013 -  8 12  0
Michigan State...... 000 000 000 -  0  4  0
-------------------------------------------

DP - Clemson 1; Michigan St. 3. LOB - Clemson 5; Michigan St. 2. 2B -
POHL(2); STOLZ(1); ECKERLE(2); HOLM(2). 3B - MILLER(1). HR - SHAFFER(1). HBP
- SCHAUS. SF - SHAFFER(1). SB - EPPS 2(4); JOHNSON(2); STOLZ(3). CS -
KEUR(1).

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Kevin Brady.........  7.0  4  0  0  0  9 23 23
Will Lamb...........  1.2  0  0  0  0  4  5  5
Alex Frederick......  0.1  0  0  0  0  1  1  1

Michigan State         IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Andrew Waszak.......  5.0  6  4  4  3  1 18 23
Trey Popp...........  3.0  2  1  1  0  1 10 10
Tim Simpson.........  0.1  4  3  3  0  0  5  5
Joe Zwierzynski.....  0.2  0  0  0  0  0  2  2

Win - BRADY (2-0).  Loss - WASZAK (1-1).  Save - None.
HBP - by WASZAK (SCHAUS). BK - WASZAK(1).
Umpires - HP: Brandon Henson  1B: Jay Furlong  3B: Darion Padgett
Start: 1:02 PM   Time: 2:23   Attendance: 4287

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