Shaffer reflects on emotional weekend

by - Senior Writer -
Shaffer celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the ACC tournament

Richie ShafferRichie Shaffer
Jr. 3rd Base
#8 6-3, 205
Charlotte, NC

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stood in the hallway outside of the interview room at Carolina Stadium Sunday evening, physically, mentally and emotionally drained after playing 30 innings of tournament baseball in a 24-hour span.

The grief and disappointment were evident on his face, and I asked him if he could put into words not only the highs and lows of college athletics, but the fact he might follow a personal low with a personal high – the Major League Draft is today, and Shaffer is expected to be a first round pick.

“It hasn’t really even crossed my mind,” Shaffer said. “I have tried to not think about any of that, because I was concentrating so hard on this team and this moment. This [the loss] just hurts too much to even think about any of that right now. But you’re right, it’s a quick turnaround for me, and I am sure I will spend some time reflecting on this season, my career and my teammates.”

Shaffer admitted that being pitched around so much late in the season might have changed his approach at the plate enough that he didn’t have the kind of NCAA Tournament he would have liked.

“I think it [getting pitched around] kind of does get frustrating,” he said. “I got myself out today, maybe tried to hit some pitches I probably shouldn’t have. I have been swing a little too aggressively. I have to remember that if I just get on base, I help the team out.”

Shaffer said that what happens on Monday – the draft begins at 7 p.m. on MLB TV - will only complete what has been a wild ride over the last few weeks.

“It is going to be a roller coaster of emotions for sure,” he said. “The last week has been. Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe it. Being a Clemson Tiger and wearing this uniform, that means a lot to me. Wearing this uniform has meant a lot to me, and being teammates with all of these guys has been special. I am sure later on I will have time to look back and reflect on it.”

*If Brad FelderBrad Felder
Gr. Outfielder
#3 6-0, 200
Bowman, SC

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’s long fly to right field had gone just a few feet further – and ended Sunday’s contest against South Carolina – Jonathan MeyerJonathan Meyer
Jr. RH Pitcher
#28 6-0, 180
San Diego, CA

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’s pitching performance in relief Sunday would have gone down as one of the best and most crucial performances in Clemson baseball history.

The junior right-hander came on in relief of David HaseldenDavid Haselden
Sr. RH Pitcher
#29 6-4, 240
Spartanburg, SC

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, with two outs in the bottom of the first inning on Sunday and three runs already across the plate. Meyer settled in, pitched the remainder of the contest, giving up just one run the rest of the way.

His performance gave the Clemson offense the time it needed to make a comeback, a comeback that fell just short of the wall in right field on Felder’s blast.

Meyer said after the game that he relished the opportunity to come in and pitch in that environment.

“The fans are yelling at you, and they are yelling your name even when you are warming up,” Meyer said. “You just have to block all of that out and slow the game down. I got more confidence as the game moved further along, and I felt like I pitched with confidence. I am not a huge strikeout guy, so I have to let the players play behind me and I had confidence they were going to make plays.”

*As I was compiling the stats that detailed Clemson’s recent lack of success against South Carolina, another writer wondered if Clemson was suffering from a curse of its own – the Tommy Bowden curse. Bowden went 7-2 against South Carolina during his tenure, which ended in October of 2008. Following his departure – in the big three sports of football, basketball and baseball – Clemson started out 4-0 against South Carolina (won in football that season, basketball shortly after that, and then the first two baseball games of the 2009 season.)

Since that point in time, however, Clemson is just 4-17 against its rival in the big three. That includes a 1-2 record in basketball and 0-3 in football. That means that out of the last 21 times a Clemson team has taken to the court or the field against the Gamecocks, they’ve been on the losing end 17 of those times. Ouch.

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