Zocchi Returns To The Mound
Clemson will return to the diamond Tuesday night against Western Carolina. The Tigers must first finish up last Tuesday's game, where they are curretntly leading 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth. David Kopp was on the mound, when the game was called. Coach Jack Leggett has not announced whether he will send Kopp back out, or select another pitcher to finish the game.
Coach Leggett has announced that he has tentatively scheduled redshirt freshman P.J. Zocchi to make his first start this season. Zocchi has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he has not made an appearance this season. He pitched well for the Tigers before going down last season. He made 3 appearances striking out seven in six innings of work with two walks. He did give up three earned runs pushing his ERA to 4.50. Zocchi was able to receive a medical redshirt.
Zocchi will look for Clemson's RBI leaders Kris Harvey (36) and Taylor Harbin (35) to bounce back from Sunday's performance. The two were 0-7 with an HBP in Sunday's 9-2 loss. Harbin still leads the team in hits (52) and doubles (17). Prior to Sunday, Harvey had been on a tear uping his home run total to 11.
Harbin is second on the team in batting average to fellow freshman Brad Chalk. Chalk has climb to a .374 batting average. Chalk's speed on the base path is becoming a dangerous weapon. Chalk 3 for 6 on the season in stolen bases, but he has only hit into one double play (the same play where Coach Leggett was ejected after strongly disagreeing). He has tremendous hustle on the base path as he puts tremendous pressure on the left side of the infield. The scouting report is out that when Chalk hits a ground ball to the left side, you better be charging and ready to come up throwing.
Pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan would like to get some good work out of Zocchi tomorrow night. Most likely in his first appearance back, Zocchi will be on a pitch count. After at least 14 innings Tuesday night, the Tigers must turnaround and head to Columbia Wednesday night.