Phil Pohl could make a home at Carolina Stadium. It is definitely safe to say that Pohl, one of the Tigers co-captains, likes to hit at Carolina Stadium.
In four career games in Columbia, Pohl has three home runs and 12 RBIs after collecting two hits and five RBIs in the Tigers’ opening-game, 11-3 victory over Coastal Carolina.
He is 6-for-13 at Carolina Stadium.
Two years ago in Clemson’s 19-6 victory over USC in Columbia, Pohl hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the late innings. He also had an RBI in the Tigers’ 9-6 loss to the Gamecocks earlier this year.
Pohl was instrumental in the opening two innings to help Clemson jump to a 6-0 lead. He singled home Richie Shaffer with two outs in the first inning. He followed that with his second career grand slam in the second inning that staked the Tigers to a 6-0 lead. He was looking fastball on the 3-1 pitch from Chanticleer starter Austin Wallace and drove the line drive into the left-field corner that just hit above the yellow line along the top of the fence signaling a home run.
“I don’t know if there is anything with the stadium,” Pohl said. “I was fortunate to get a fastball in a hitters count. Thankfully, I put a good swing on it. I know a couple of years ago (on his grand slam against the Gamecocks) it was more wind-aided.”
Wallace knew right away it was trouble.
“I fell behind (in the count) so I had to throw one in there,” Wallace said. “As soon as he hit it, I knew it was trouble.”
If Pohl wasn’t doing the damage, Clemson was effective with two outs. The Tigers plated nine of their 10 runs with two outs and had 10 of their 13 hits with two outs.
“Two-out hits are backbreakers,” Leggett said. “If it happens against you, it is very disheartening for a pitcher.”
The Tigers got production from nearly every starter — but the No. 7, 8, 9 hitters proved to be most effective.
Spencer Kieboom, Brad Felder and Jason Stolz combined to go 6-for-11 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
“Numbers five through nine have to produce for us to be able to turn things over,” Leggett said. “We get ourselves back to the top of the order, we’ll be able to score some runs.”
Felder thought the hitting was contagious throughout the lineup.
“It’s big for the bottom half of the order to get some production and it’s always good when everybody is hitting,” Felder said.
The bottom portion of the lineup has been an issue for Clemson, especially as they lost five-of-six games coming into regional play. The Tigers scored six runs in the five losses and could never sting enough hits together to break through with a big inning.
Leggett would not commit to a starter for today’s winners’ bracket contest against South Carolina. Freshman Daniel Gossett (6-3, 4.50) and Dominic Leone (6-4, 5.49) were the top two likely candidates.
Gossett took the loss in South Carolina’s 3-2 victory in Charleston when he allowed two runs in 12/3 innings of relief. Leone suffered the loss the following day in Columbia when he allowed six runs on four hits in 21/3 innings.
Leone has not practiced this week after returning home to attend a family funeral this week. He arrived at Carolina Stadium during the first inning of the game against Coastal Carolina. He received a number of hugs from his teammates before disappearing into the locker room to change into his uniform.