Clemson's offense: "Once we get the ball rolling, it's hard to stop us"
|Friday, May 25, 2018, 12:40 PM- -|
DURHAM, NC – Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki and Miami head coach Jim Morris walked into the postgame interview area this week after playing Clemson and shook their heads.
“I’m not really sure what I just saw,” Aoki said after watching his team toss up a 17-run inning to the Tigers in a 21-4 loss.
Morris put a few more words into his effort.
“They're big, strong guys that can swing the bat if you give them something to hit,” Morris said of the Tigers.
Clemson has won eight games in a row and outscored the opposition 73-17. That includes outscoring Notre Dame and Miami by a 28-5 count.
When the bats start rolling, they’re hard to stop. During Thursday’s win over Miami, with the score deadlocked at 1-1, head coach Monte Lee told his hitters to relax.
“Yeah, Coach brought us up in the dugout after that and just told us to relax and just see pitches up,” outfielder Drew Wharton said. “I felt like some guys were chasing pitches out of the zone early in the game, and I thought we saw pitches up that inning and put good swings on it.”
Wharton launched a mammoth solo homer over the wall in left, the first of Clemson’s six runs in the inning.
“I don't know, it's been like this for the past three years now, like since I've been here with Coach Lee. Like I don't know if it's just the way we've been practicing, the way our fall goes or anything, but once we get the ball rolling, it's hard to stop us,” catcher Chris Williams said. “And we know once we get one guy on, two guys on, it's just -- we want to get up there and hit. That's how every hitter is in our lineup.”
Lee said it all starts during fall practice.
“Well, I think when these guys get here in the fall, there are a couple things that we preach to our guys from a mentality standpoint, an approach standpoint, and some of our goals in the game,” Lee said. “We're always -- our goal is to always get to seven runs in a game. That is our goal. So we talk a lot about offensive approach and how we can put together innings to get to seven runs, one of them being a big inning. Our goal is to get to one big inning per game. So we got one big inning today, and we had one big inning, I believe, in Game 1.
“But our guys understand that we're trying to put together the types of at-bats that it takes to lead to a big inning, and we preach and preach and preach plate discipline, attacking the ball up in the zone, understanding what the pitcher is doing to you, and what it takes to get guys on base to put us in a position to get a pitch up and hit a ball hard to put together a big inning.”
Clemson crushed four homers in the win over Notre Dame and added two more in the win over Miami.
“We also celebrate the home run. We talk a lot about getting pitches up in the zone and swinging the bat with the intent to do damage. It comes out of my mouth a lot,” Lee said. “So we never slow our swing down. We don't try to put the ball in play. It's just not in our DNA at Clemson. We don't talk about putting the ball in play. We're not defensive at the plate.
“I think our guys, I just talk about that constantly with our guys, and it kind of -- again, they buy into it and they run with it. Once we get into the season, I don't have to talk a whole lot about it because they understand our philosophy and just what it takes to score a bunch of runs. And it's worked for us this year.”