Parker's Two-Sport Juggling Act Kicks Into High Gear

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - Kyle Parker signed with Clemson as a football player. But it's been on the baseball field where he's made the first big splash.

Parker almost single-handedly kept the Tigers from being swept in the three-game series at Wake Forest over the weekend. In the 12-11 Clemson win in the finale Parker went five-for-five, tied a team record for home runs in a single game with three, drove in seven runs and scored five.

His three-run homer in the ninth tied the score at 11, setting the stage for Stan Widmann's game-winning single later in the inning.

It was enough to impress even his football coach, Tommy Bowden.

"I announced to the team today about Kyle Parker's accomplishments," Bowden said before rattling off the freshman's numbers. "Then I asked to know the name of the hitting coach, because he hasn't picked up a bat since June. If he's leading the team in hitting (.382), who's coaching our batters?

"Holy smoke."

But Monday was about football.

Wearing an orange practice jersey with No. 11 on it, Parker told reporters after the workout that things went about as well as could be expected.

"It was good. I'm learning the plays and stuff, the signals, and learning where everyone's going," he said. "I've still got some things to take care of and things to get used to. I'm kind of struggling juggling both sports, but I'm getting used to it."

So is Bowden.

Parker's schedule will have him miss Wednesday's baseball game, the second of a two-game series with UNC-Greensboro. But he will be with the baseball team for all three games this weekend when Boston College visits.

"We also have to make sure he gets a day off," Bowden said. "We ran into that problem with (kicker Mark) Buchholz. So we have to be aware of that."


- C.J. Spiller will miss the Wednesday and Friday workouts because of a track committment;

- Bowden refused to elaborate on the Ray Ray McElrathbey situation, despite repeated questions from the media.

"If you need any more information, get it from my statement or from (SID) Tim (Bourret)," he said.

- Bowden said he was pleased with the way Rendrick Taylor seemed to be adjusting to the move from wide receiver to linebacker. He also said Jock McKissic was handling the transition from defensive tackle to offensive tackle with little trouble so far.

- Parker said the hardest part of playing two sports so far has been knowing where to be, and when. As for the ribbing he gets from his football teammates, such as being referred to as "Mark McGwire"?

"That's funny," he said.

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