Not quite Bull Durham, but recent team meeting has Clemson on a roll


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Monte Lee had a meeting with his team before the series at Wake Forest
Monte Lee had a meeting with his team before the series at Wake Forest

This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.

That quote from the movie Bull Durham is one of my favorites, and even though the quote is from a comedy it still resonates in real life baseball. See ball, hit ball. And while head coach Monte Lee didn't throw bats at this players while they stood cowering in the shower, a recent team meeting has the team playing its best baseball of the season.

The team stumbled out of Athens two weeks ago having lost five of its last eight games. That included two losses to Georgia and a heartbreaking loss to Miami (FL) that saw the Tigers blow a big lead in the ninth inning. Through 37 games they had a 26-11 record overall and were 11-7 in the ACC.

Lee decided it was time to simplify things and called a team meeting.

“For most head coaches, when things aren't going well you want to fix it. Sometimes in fixing it, you want to change things up and mixes guys up in the order, try different practice methods, and I am guilty of that,” Lee told TigerNet. “I think sometimes you have to simplify the process a little bit for guys. Guys like it simple.”

Shortstop Logan Davidson said the meeting had one basic premise.

“That was kinda a Thursday decision before Wake, let’s just simplify it. It’s not that hard of a game, you just see the ball up, and hit the ball hard. It’s not that hard, so that’s what we went with,” Davidson said.

Lee agreed.

“We had a long team meeting. We talked about it. Very up front,” Lee said. “They gave me their perspective, and I gave them my perspective, and we got on the same page before we went to Wake Forest about how we were going to approach our at-bats and tried to keep it as simple as possible. Just see the ball up and be super aggressive to the pitches up in the zone. The guys have bought into that and have done a good job of running with it. So far it has been pretty good, and the guys have swung the bats well.”

Since that meeting, the Tigers have won eight in a row overall and swept two consecutive ACC series, improving their record to 34-11 overall and 17-7 in the ACC, a full two games ahead of NC State in the ACC Atlantic standings.

The Tigers have hit .301 as a team during the eight-game streak, scoring 60 runs on 82 hits. The Tigers have drawn 47 walks, blasted 18 homers and stolen 14 bases in 16 attempts. Leading the way is catcher Kyle Wilkie, who has hit .452 (14-for-31) with three homers and 12 driven in during the eight-game streak.

Davidson has hit .412 (14-for-34) with three homers and nine RBI while Chris Williams has hit four homers and driven in eight. Freshman Sam Hall has started four games and has six hits in 16 at-bats (.375) with a homer and three stolen bases.

Not to be overlooked is reliever Ryley Gilliam, who has appeared in five of the eight games and earned the save in all five. He has pitched eight innings while giving up just two hits, walking one and striking out 10. Opposing batters are hitting just .080 against Gilliam in those five games. Ryan Miller has appeared in four of those games and pitched 11 innings.

The Tigers look to stay hot this weekend when they welcome Florida St. to town for a key ACC series.

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