Inside Clemson Baseball: Krieger's clutch bat, rotation shakeup?

Baseball - Zack Erwin

Photo by Mark Crammer

Baseball - Zack Erwin

A young team growing up has been the theme of Clemson baseball’s 14-3 run over the last 17 games.

Freshman shortstop Tyler Krieger’s bat has been a vital boost in that run.

Per Seldom Used Reserve, he hit just .212 with six RBIs in the Tigers’ first 20 games, but in the last 24 contests, the Johns Creek, Ga. native is hitting .341 and has had game-winning hits in three – two walkoffs. Clemson is 18-6 in its last 24 games.

Off the bench over the weekend, Maleeke Gibson staked his claim for more playing time.

First as a pinch-runner Friday, Gibson scored three times in the 11-3 win in the first of the Friday doubleheader with Georgia Tech, and Saturday, went 3-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs and two runs scored.

Junior co-captain Jon McGibbon is hitting .247 on the year, but has been clutch with runners on base. He has converted 18.9 percent of runners on into runs on the scoreboard per SUR’s numbers – second (28) behind Garrett Boulware in RBIs total (37).

Pitching struggles, also extending to fielding, contributed to Clemson’s first loss of the season after scoring in the first inning (15-1) Saturday. That, in major part, was due to a 10-run fifth inning – opponents have now scored the most in the fifth against the Tigers (28), while Clemson has answered with a season-high 32 runs.

Freshman third-starter Clate Schmidt may have played his way out of the rotation with the series finale effort, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits in four-plus innings. Only four of the runs were earned, but the error came on Schmidt bobbling a bunt.

He holds the dubious distinction of a team-high .352 opposing batting average and the second-worst ERA (4.89).

Freshman lefty Zack Erwin could very well step into that spot.

In his first career start last week, Erwin held Western Carolina to one run on four hits for the win (3-0), with a 2.77 ERA with 25 strikeouts to 13 walks.

Erwin has had success against righties (.213 opp. BA) and lefties (.190).

The Duluth, Ga. product would be the third true freshman to make a weekend start this season, after Schmidt, and fellow lefty Matthew Crownover taking Scott Firth's place when he moved to a closer role.

Righty reliever Patrick Andrews lowered his WHIP to 0.91, holding left-handed bats to a .107 average with six strikeouts and no walks (28 batters faced).

Right-hander Matt Campbell has been dominant against righties (.149), with 17 strikeouts to four walks, and holds a team-high 32.47 strikeout percentage overall.

The Tigers are fourth in the ACC in team fielding (.972), with McGibbon leading the infield (.998). Not surprisingly, Clemson is 13-1 when not making an error, but still own a winning record with two-plus errors (6-5).

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