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Clemson baseball finding consistency on offense

Clemson baseball is no stranger to changing lineups; Head Coach Monte Lee is constantly shifting around his order and players in an attempt to find one that works best. In this weekend’s series against Wake Forest, Lee used the same lineup for all three games, and it seems to be one that showcases the offensive prowess of the team. 

Reed Rohlman, who a month ago was batting .292, is now leading the team with a .400 average. He burst into the scene when the Tigers played Georgia Tech in Atlanta. In that series, he went 6-11 with seven RBI and two homeruns. 

Rohlman is currently batting second in the order behind leadoff hitter Chase Pinder. Pinder, who was leadoff for the entirety of last season, has once more found himself the first guy up to the plate for the Tigers. Lee experimented with putting players like K.J. Bryant and Logan Davidson in that spot but neither had as much success as Pinder continues to have. 

Pinder is batting .320 with an on-base percentage of .445. This weekend against Wake Forest, he also hit two homeruns, the first of the season for him. He had 11 round-trippers last season, but says he isn’t worried about duplicating that number this season. 

“You never want to swing for the fences … I’m not too worried about it, I just want to help us win,” Pinder said after the double header against Wake Forest on Saturday. 

While he may not have the same power numbers as he did a year ago, Pinder is still one of the fastest guys on the team. He has nine stolen bases in 11 attempts and is one of two Tigers with at least 10 attempts on the year.  

The third spot in the order  recently belonged to Davidson, the other Tiger with at least 10 attempted stolen bases. He is batting at .279 but has an on-base percentage of .393 and a .461 slugging percentage. Davidson is third on the team in RBI with 31 runs brought in by the freshman shortstop. He is also beginning to show his potential as a power hitter as well, with seven homeruns and seven doubles on the year. He has repeatedly shown his ability to drive balls into the gap or lift them to the outfield, which is part of the reason he has so many RBI. 

Seth Beer, who occupied the three-hole for some of the season, has moved down to fourth in the order and it seems to have helped him. Beer has been in a slump recently after a phenomenal freshman campaign. Over the last couple of weekends, however, he has raised his average to a .277, almost thirty points higher than where it was against Georgia Tech. 

When the Tigers played Florida State in Tallahassee, Beer hit a homerun in each of the three games to bring his season total to 12. 

Catcher Chris Williams is batting behind Beer and is causing havoc for opposing teams. Without Williams behind him, many opposing teams simply walk Beer, but with another power hitter behind him, they have to think twice about doing so. Williams has 10 homeruns of his own as well as a team-high 42 RBI. 

Andrew Cox has greatly improved at the plate this season and has solidified himself in the lineup not only because of his stellar defense at first base, but also his ability to hit. He is batting .279 with 21 RBI on the year. While he has stricken out 34 times, he has also hit three homeruns and five doubles. 

The bottom of the Clemson lineup has been the area that has been most impressive lately. Robert Jolly has played as the designated hitter for four consecutive games now and has made an impact. He has shown his ability to be a patient hitter and work counts to draw walks or get a good pitch to hit. He has only gone down on strikes 14 times in his 70 at-bats and has been a spark-plug for the offense at times. 

Jordan Greene has made some spectacular plays at second base this year but has also been a thorn in the side of opposing pitchers. He is another Clemson batter who is very good at working counts and drawing walks. He has also become an excellent two-strike hitter, and this weekend against the Demon Deacons he proved it. With the Tigers down by two in the bottom of the ninth, Greene hit a single up the middle on a full count that proved to be the spark Clemson needed to rally and win the game 9-8. 

In the nine-hole, Grayson Byrd has also found ways to contribute to the offensive production of the team. He has raised his batting average over the past several series to a .297. He and Greene at the bottom of the order have done a commendable job of getting on base and turning the order over. When the bottom of the order has success, Clemson is overall a much better offensive team. 

While Lee will probably continue to experiment with his lineup and change things around, this combination of players has been working well for the Tigers lately and has earned them a spot in the ACC Tournament for a chance to defend their title. 

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