Healthy Crownover excited about challenge of NCAA Regional

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The Clemson baseball team missed lefty Matthew CrownoverMatthew Crownover
Fr. LH Pitcher
#44 5-11, 205
Ringgold, GA

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during last week’s ACC Baseball Championship as the freshman rested his sore pitching arm, but Crownover should be ready to go when the Tigers begin play in the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

The Ringgold, Ga. native was 7-1 following seven shutout innings against Georgia Southern on May 11th, and had solidified his hold on the second spot in Clemson’s weekend rotation. However, Crownover is just 14 months past Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm, and when he experienced soreness during his next outing – at Florida St. – he became concerned. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and took the loss, giving up both runs in a 2-1 defeat.

The coaching staff decided that Crownover wouldn’t be on last weekend’s active roster, hoping that rest would alleviate the soreness, and Crownover told the media Monday that his first bullpen session went better than expected and he fully expects to be able to pitch this weekend.

Crownover said the rest seems to have turned the trick.

“I wouldn’t say it was scary the first two days,” Crownover said of the soreness. “But I was kind of concerned until it started to feel better. I don’t know if I could have pitched competitively so it was good to rest it up and get ready to go. Anytime you get surgery then you have a little tenderness you kinda get worried. I thought it was fine. You’ve got to trust the people that have degrees in those fields so I felt fine about it.”

The Tigers could have used a healthy Crownover after an 0-3 ACC tourney probably cost Clemson a shot at hosting a regional.

“It hurt us last weekend without him being available,” head coach Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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said. “We need to have him back.”

Leggett then said that Crownover would throw another bullpen late Monday, and he hoped all would go as planned.

“We just hope he feels good and feels healthy without soreness,” Leggett said. “We hope that he takes another jump from the other day when he threw. Just looking for him to progress. He’s got a few more days to get things worked out and we hope to have him available.”

If it all does indeed go as planned, Crownover might find himself pitching against arch-rival South Carolina on the Gamecocks’ home turf, a prospect that he seemed to embrace when speaking with the media, saying he understands the importance of the rivalry and what this weekend means for his team.

“I’ve been committed (to Clemson) since my sophomore year of high school,” he said. “So I’ve been to a couple of those games and now I’ve been a part of three of them, so I think I understand a little bit about it, but after this weekend, I’ll really understand more of it. That’s what you come here for – to pitch in big games and play in big games. There’s nothing bigger than the Clemson and South Carolina rivalry. I’m very excited for that.”

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