Tigers look to avoid sophomore slump

Baseball - Tyler Krieger

Photo by Mark Crammer

Baseball - Tyler Krieger

Tigers who started all 62 games last season were also all newcomers in freshmen Steven Duggar and Tyler Krieger and junior college transfer Shane Kennedy.

A knee injury has Kennedy on the bench until April, but a year and another offseason in, the expectations on Duggar and Krieger - both self and coaches' - are high.

Baseball - Steven Duggar

Photo by Mark Crammer

Baseball - Steven Duggar

Duggar, a right fielder, hit an even .300 with 30 RBIs (fourth on the team) and 15 stolen bases (third on the team) in 2013. His exploits included an extra-innings walkoff homer in ACC play against Wake Forest, en route to a freshman All-American honor (Collegiate Baseball).

Clemson coach Jack Leggett said he's looking for "a big year out of" the Byrnes product. Duggar said he's put in the work in the weight room to take his next step.

"I want to continue to work on my game defensively," he said. "Be a little bit more consistent offensively. Run the bases well. As a team if we can do that collectively we'll be pretty well off."

Krieger, a shortstop, said he's added 10-15 pounds this offseason.

"Last year, my physical stature might have not been as much as I would've liked it," the Johns Creek (Ga.) native said. "Just been working in the weight room and really working on my strength. I think it's really going to help me at the plate and more confidence to be successful."

In almost 260 plate appearances, Krieger hit .257 with 27 RBIs, including a pair of walkoff knocks himself. He posted a .958 fielding percentage with 12 errors, while assisting on 192 putouts.

Tigers eyeing national title

Krieger entering second year

"I failed quite a bit," Krieger said, "and had some good things happen to me. Had an up-and-down year. Learned a lot from a lot of guys and tried to take experiences I had and use them to my advantage. Use my experience to my advantage and try to learn every day.

"That's my approach going into practice."

When Kennedy returns, the Tigers will have eight of nine '13 position starters back - with plenty of internal competition expected up to opening day (Feb. 14) and beyond.

"Obviously experience will play a big factor this year," said Krieger. "I think that we're such a tight-knit group this year and the chemistry is just better than years' past. I'm just excited about the effort guys have been showing. We just can't wait to get things rolling."

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Comments » 1

lhaselden writes:

Looking forward to seeing the Tigers roar! Go Tigers...

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