Clemson University

What Monte Lee said about South Carolina: ‘We were getting smacked around early’

Monte Lee recaps Clemson’s loss Sunday to South Carolina

Clemson Tigers baseball coach Monte Lee breaks down what went wrong in a 14-3 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks for the first series loss in the rivalry since 2014
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Clemson Tigers baseball coach Monte Lee breaks down what went wrong in a 14-3 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks for the first series loss in the rivalry since 2014

Clemson baseball coach Monte Lee took his first series loss in the rivalry with South Carolina on Sunday.

The fourth-year coach and former Ray Tanner assistant said the depth of South Carolina’s lineup was simply too much, especially as it overwhelmed his starter in Game 3 of a series. What he said about USC following the 14-3 game.

On the overall performance:

We’ve got to do a better job of being able to get deeper in the game with our starting pitching. That was a big factor in the losses for us. We were unable to get a deep start in really any of our starts. Today we obviously had to go to the ‘pen extremely early with an offense that was very hot and had a lot of momentum going their way and was swinging the bats very, very well. It was going to be very tough to stop them. We needed somebody to step up, and we just couldn’t do that. We gave up big innings today, and it was because of their bats. They swung the bats very well. They played very well. Their starting pitcher was outstanding today. We just couldn’t get enough going offensively, but you get down five runs in the first inning, it’s every difficult to come back from that.

On TJ Hopkins:

Phenomenal hitter. Just an unbelievable weekend. We couldn’t find a way to get him out. The problem was we didn’t really have that many opportunities to pitch around him because, again, the guys that were hitting behind him in Olson and Eyster, those guys can swing the bats too. You’ve got to pick your poison, not to mention Berryhill. We tried to go in, we tried to change speeds, we tried to elevate, and at the end of the day he’s extremely hot, he’s a very dangerous hitter, and when we made mistakes, he made us pay.

On USC starter Reid Morgan:

He’s tough. He throws a lot of strikes. He’s going to be a guy that pitches to contact. He sinks the ball. He’s got a good slider. He throws a lot of offspeed stuff, keeps you out front. And he’ll throw that sinker. Just a pure pitcher. Just a true three-pitch guys that will pound the bottom of the strike zone with three pitchers and let his defense work behind him.

On South Carolina not having much rankings buzz:

Rankings typically are based on returners. And I know that they lost some guys, but you have to give their coaching staff a lot of credit. They brought in some excellent players and they had some guys that are a year older and a year better coming back. But some of the guys they brought in obviously have had an immediate impact for them and swung the bats very well this weekend.

On holding onto closer Carson Spiers:

We were going to use Carson in a save situation. Again, it’s a long season. Didn’t want to run him out here until we felt like it was the right time to do so. We were strongly considering using him if need by on Friday night if we could tie the ballgame up. And then even (Saturday), and we pulled away a little bit (Saturday) and didn’t have to use him, holding him for today. But there really wasn’t a scenario to use him today. Bottom line was, we were getting smacked around early in the game. And at that point, I didn’t want to bring Carson Spiers in and pitch him three innings.

West Coast raised. Midwest educated. Southern football indoctrinated. Covers most everything Gamecocks, primarily football.

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