Observations From Clemson's Saturday Scrimmage

Jason Priester

Staff member
For the second consecutive day, Clemson held an intra-squad scrimmage. After going for four innings on Friday, the Tigers scrimmaged for six innings on Saturday.
Observations From Saturday Orange-White Scrimmage

  • The game ended in a 3-3 tie, with the White squad squandering a 3-0 lead after four.
  • Head coach Erik Bakich said on Friday that when he goes to fill out his rotation, he will be looking for the guys that can throw strikes. For the second straight day, he had to be happy with what he saw in that regard. I can only recall one walk all day.
  • It was a scrimmage mostly dominated by the pitchers. Austin Gordon got the start for the Orange with Casey Tallent starting for the White, with each throwing two innings.
  • Gordon would surrender a solo home run to Cooper Ingle on the very first pitch of the game. Caden Grice followed that up with a line drive triple, and would eventually score giving the Orange an early 2-0 lead. Gordon's fastball was consistently hitting 94-95 mph, but hitters were making good contact off of him. Even some of the outs were drilled.
  • Tallent was in command from the start, throwing two scoreless innings, steady pounding the strike zone.
  • Freshman RHP Joe Allen came on after Gordon for the Orange and also threw two innings. He was also consistently throwing strikes, and his fastball was in the 92-94 range. It was a small sample size but he looks to have really good stuff and excellent command.
  • Allen did one make on mistake on a pitch to Ingle, and the veteran made him pay, launching a solo shot into right-center. It was Ingle's second home run of the game.
  • Freshman lefty Ethan Darden pitched the next two innings for the White team. He doesn't throw quite as hard, as his fastball was topping out around 89-90 mph, but like Allen, he was in complete command.
  • Ty Olenchuk threw the final two innings for the Orange team, and he might have had the most impressive outing of all the pitchers. He was absolutely throwing gas, hitting 95 multiple times. He struck out Grice looking. Grice was not happy with the call from his head coach. Olenchuk also struck out Ingle. He was the only pitcher to retire Ingle, who was 2-3.
  • Nick Hoffman made the final appearance for the White team, and he got hit hard, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits. And those were all hard hit balls. Hoffman was taken out with two outs in the bottom of the sixth after allowing an RBI single to Will Taylor that tied it up. Bakich pitched to the final hitter.
  • Speaking of Taylor, he is hitting leadoff and appears to be seeing the ball really well. Multiple times he hit it on the button but right at someone. He also made a highlight reel diving catch in CF.
  • Riley Bertram looks smooth as silk at shortstop. He has the glove and the arm. He started for the White. Freshman Cooper Blauser started at short for the Orange, with Benjamin Blackwell subbing in for him after either the first or second inning. Blauser is the son of former Atlanta Braves SS Jeff Blauser.
  • When the team was taking infield prior to the scrimmage, it was Bertam, then Blackwell. Bakich did specifically mention Blackwell's name on Friday when talking about players that you just know are going to be in the lineup most days. The question is where will he be slotted?
  • Mac Starbuck and freshman Jack Reynolds each started at 2B.
  • Chad Fairey started at 1B for the Orange but quickly moved to RF, with freshman Jack Crighton moving in from right to 1B. Fairey had an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth off of Hoffman, and Crighton had a stolen base. Ingle's throw to second was off the mark, allowing the freshman to advance to third.
  • Freshman Nathan Hall also had a stolen base.
  • Bunting was once again a focal point. Like Friday, each half inning began with a hitter attempting to lay down a bunt. Bakich also had the team working on "run down" situations during the drills. The results were mostly positive, but certainly not perfect. There were a couple of errant throws.
  • Blake Wright attempted to lay down a bunt during the scrimmage, but was unsuccessful. He would strike out after fouling off his final attempt with two strikes.
  • Other players that started on Saturday for the Orange were Wright (3B), freshman Leighton Lackey (LF) and freshman Jake Jarrell (C). For the White, Tristan Bisetta (RF), Hall (CF) and Tyler Corbitt (LF).
The Tigers will hold a third and final scrimmage on Sunday. It is scheduled to begin at 2 pm. If you are planning to attend, it's worth noting that each of the first two were a little late getting started.
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I hope Hoffman was just having an off day. We need him pitching well. Sounds like Ingle is picking up right where he left off last year. A fully healthy Will Taylor is pretty exciting to hear. Overall the pitching sounds like a work in progress (not surprising given it’s early). Hopefully the bats and fielding can carry the Tigers while the staff gets rotation figured out.