Tigers and Wolfpack Square Off
Clemson staved off elimination Thursday, and NC State fell victim to a suddenly red hot Virginia club. Clemson cruised to a 9-1 victory, while NC State lost 12-2 in seven innings (10 run rule). It has now become a single elimination tournament for both teams. Head coach Jack Leggett says they just want to take it one game at a time.
"The one thing you have to do in a tournament is just go one game at a time. You have to take care of today, which we did. Now we have to take care of tomorrow if we can, then tell me when we play and where we've got to go, when to take batting practice, what color uniforms we've got to play in and let's go. That's all there is to it. You can't out-think yourself right now; it's just about trying to get our team to play well. We had a good talk last night and I think they understand that all we have to do is relax and play our game and play enthusiastic baseball and good things will come to us," said Coach Leggett.
One thing Coach Leggett would like to is improvement from his 3-4-5 hitters. They are now 6 for 24 in the tournament. Taylor Harbin, Tyler Colvin, and Kris Harvey have combined for over 150 RBIs on the year and are counted upon to produce for the Tigers. The trio did get it done when it mattered today. They had 3 RBIs and two runs scored, but the bottom of the order proved that they are capable of picking up the slack.
Stan Widman is having a strong ACC performance, and it was his two run homer against Miami that broke the game open. "Those guys always come through, but if they don't me, Andy (D'Alessio), and Cass (Casanova) have enough confidence to get the job done. Ideally, we will play as a complete team," said Widman.
Robert Rohrbaugh will have the task of controlling All-Conference first baseman Aaron Bates. Bates torched Clemson in the regular season series. Bates was 6 for 10, and he was intentionally walked three times. He also added 3 RBIs and scored 5 runs. Bates keys the Wolfpacks attack offensively. Rohrbaugh was able hold Bates hitless during the regular season.
Rohrbaugh pitched 6.0 innings only giving up two runs. He also struck out six batters. The offense gave Rohrbaugh an comfortable lead early, and Rohrbaugh cruised to earn the win. The one concern with Rohrbaugh is at times his control has gone away from this year. He has pitched brilliantly his last two starts. Coach Leggett and pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan will have a close eye on his control. The bullpen is fresh and ready to go. Ideally, if the Tigers are able to advance, Coach Leggett could save freshman right hander David Kopp for Saturday. If the game is close, Kopp is the safest bet coming out of the bullpen.
Sam Walls is the probable starter for the Wolfpack on Friday. Walls pitched 1.0 scoreless inning against the Tigers in the regular seaon and did not give up a hit. Walls had a no decision in his last start going 4.1 innings giving up two unearned runs and walking six.
The Tigers and Wolfpack will be vying for the opportunity to play Virginia on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. The winner will have to defeat Virginia twice on Saturday to advance to the championship game.