CLEMSON – The No. 14 Tigers are on the right side of a streaky season going to Wake Forest this weekend.
After an Opening Day loss, Clemson (10-5, 3-0 ACC) has won six, lost four and now rides a four-game winning streak going into its first road ACC series.
They swept Virginia Tech behind a big effort at the plate – 36 runs on 30 hits.
After the weekend, the Tigers were atop the ACC and top-15 nationally in batting and No. 2 in the conference in RBIs.
“We’re swinging the bat pretty good,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “If we can just stay in that zone, I’ll feel pretty good about. I like the way we’re running the bases. Putting pressure on people. We just have to keep it up. That’s all there is to it. One game at a time.”
Wednesday, those bats cooled with the weather against Appalachian State in a 2-1 win.
On a four-hit night, Clemson’s 5-through-9 in the order went 0-for-14 – including the team-leader in RBIs – freshman catcher Chris Okey (17).
“We definitely want to get more aggressive at the plate,” Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware said, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI. “It was a midweek special. Wednesday night, getting out of class. Couldn’t get the huge rhythm, but got a win.
“Hopefully we can turn it on like the last couple weekends and get some wins at Wake Forest.”
The Deacs (12-6, 2-1) come in off a surprise series win at Georgia Tech last week.
Picked sixth in Atlantic Division preseason, Wake Forest took the first two behind a complete-game effort from Friday starter Jack Fischer and 21 runs over the two combined.
Freshman third baseman Will Craig has powered out three homers, batting .382.
Led by Fischer, the Demon Deacon arms are holding opponents to a .240 opposing batting average.
The Tigers’ pitching staff has had its issues, but the Friday-Saturday 1-2 punch has been a consistent force.
Junior right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-0, 2.78 ERA) has 28 strikeouts to six walks, while sophomore left-hander Matthew Crownover (3-1, 2.41) has 18 strikeouts to five walks over 41 1/3 innings combined.
Senior closer Matt Campbell hasn’t allowed a run in seven appearances and 9 2/3 innings, 16 strikeouts to four walks.
The Deacs have been a thorn in Clemson’s side of late – sweeping the Tigers their last time in Winston-Salem, and taking two games down to the wire last year in Doug Kingsmore.
Leggett is confident his team has the right mindset going into conference series No. 2.
“We’re in a better place,” Leggett said, “but we just have to continue to stay focused and not get complacent at all. We’re not where we need to be, but we have a chance to get there.”