Going into last weekend’s Super Regional, Clemson expected strong outings from their starting pitching to push them to Omaha. If you had told head coach Jack Leggett going into the weekend that his starting pitching would not make it out of third inning in either game, he probably would not have liked his chances. Looking back at the fact the Tigers swept Oral Roberts with basically a no show from the starters is a strong testament to the depth of this pitching staff.
The College World Series will stretch every team’s bullpen to the max. Any of the final eight teams are capable of walking away with the national title. The play of Clemson’s bullpen could put the Tigers in good shape.
Clemson has a nice mixture of left-handed and right-handed pitching coming out of the pen. No one has been stronger of late than Sean Clark and P.J. Zocchi. Zocchi has been lights out since he took the mound in his last midweek start of the season against College of Charleston.
Clark has been the icing on the cake. He blew away the Tiger faithful with his performance in the ACC Championship game, but he has proved since then that it was not a flash in the pan.
Clark was stellar going eight innings against UNC-Asheville, and he stopped the bleeding on Saturday against Oral Roberts. The Tigers were trailing 4-0, when entered the game with a runner in scoring position with two outs. He ending the inning, and then he pitched 3 2/3 innings only giving up one run to allow the Tigers to stay in reach.
David Kopp appeared to have his best stuff of the season working in the Super Regional. Kopp forced ORU to hit into a crucial double-play in Friday’s game. Then, he came back on Saturday to close the game out and pick up the win. Kopp is ground ball pitcher, who when he keeps his pitches down in the strike zone, can be outstanding.
The Tigers can also turn to two hard throwing lefties. True freshman Ryan Hinson has had a stellar freshman season. He has the stuff of a future weekend starter, but sometimes his own emotions work against him. The Tigers will need him to have his control in Omaha.
Closer Daniel Moskos is a left-hander, who can throw in the mid-90s. Moskos has nailed down the closer role for the Tigers since their series in Coral Gables. If you look at the teams, who have won the College World Series recently, they have had a closer who was lights out. Moskos has been a little shaky, but Omaha certainly could be a chance for him to join the ranks of college baseball’s elite closers.
It all begins on Friday at 2 pm ET against Georgia Tech.