The last time Clemson swept a nonconference weekend series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium was in 2010, against today’s opponent, Wright State.
The Tigers (2-1) aim to repeat that history this weekend against the Raiders, coming off an opening series win over William & Mary.
Wright State (3-0), picked third in the Horizon League preseason, has breezed through the season thus far, taking two in the Ron Fraser Classic in Cary, N.C. by scoring 17 runs, and in its home opener, shutting down crosstown rival Dayton, 5-1.
Second baseman Sam Picchiotti, batting right-handed, has paced the lineup, hitting .417 with six RBIs. Center fielder Mark Fowler is 5-for-7 at the plate, with four steals and five times hit by a pitch already.
Easing into the ace role, Clemson sophomore right-hander Daniel Gossett will go in Saturday’s 1 p.m. game, after tossing 6.2 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and a walk against the Tribe in a no decision, and senior righty Scott Firth (1-0, 1.29 ERA) closes the series out at 1 p.m. on Sunday, after not allowing a hit to 12 left-handed batters and only two period in seven innings to clinch the series.
In game two on Saturday (30 minutes after game one), freshman right-hander Clate Schmidt takes the mound for his first career start. He struck out three with no walks or runs allowed in 2.2 innings of relief versus William & Mary.
The Raiders counter with righties in games one and two, Casey Henn (1-0, 0.00) and Taylor Braun (0-0, 1.59) respectively — and lefty Robby Sexton in the finale (1-0, 2.25).
This weekend, Tiger newcomers look to build on strong debuts, while some vets seek more hit(s)-than-miss at-bats from inauspicious beginnings to the season.
Freshman right fielder Steven Duggar batted a team-leading .556 with two doubles and three runs scored. Designated hitter Shane Kennedy, a junior college signee, was the difference on Opening Day with an eighth-inning two-run homer to break a scoreless tie. He had four RBIs total and also added one of the Tigers’ two stolen bases in the series.
Freshman left fielder Maleeke Gibson’s 2-for-4 performance in two games makes him one of four newcomers in the projected starting lineup now.
Junior second baseman Steve Wilkerson was another standout (5-of-12 with 4 RBIs), but the openers weren’t as kind to senior co-captains, first baseman Jon McGibbon (1-for-12, RBI) and center fielder Thomas Brittle (3-for-12, 2 R).
Rain moved the Friday game back to a Saturday doubleheader, where the showers are expected to taper off before noon.