Clemson’s Plate Discipline Pays OffColumns
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Prior to Saturday’s game at Fluor Field, Clemson coach Monte Lee was lamenting his team’s uncharacteristic lack of plate discipline in Friday night’s 3-2 loss to South Carolina, when the Tigers struck out 16 times against Adam Hill and South Carolina.
“Yeah,” I told him, “but you’re Clemson. You’re gonna work counts, and you’re gonna get your walks.”
Because the Tigers always do, year after year after year. Clemson has ranked inside the national top 40 in walks in each of the last nine years, including four top-10 rankings in the category. In Lee’s first two seasons at the helm, the Tigers ranked second and 14th in walks.
Plate discipline is ingrained in this program’s DNA, just as it is for fellow ACC powers Florida State and North Carolina. It’s not a coincidence that many of the same programs appear near the top of the national leaderboard in walks year-in and year-out. It’s a major point of emphasis within their programs.
So it’s hardly surprising that Clemson rebounded from Friday’s free-swinging defeat with a case study in patience. The Tigers drew 10 walks Saturday, and four times Clemson hitters who reached via the free pass came around to score, which proved to be the key in a 5-1 Clemson victory.
“I think the difference in the ballgame was the number of walks that we issued,” South Carolina coach Mark Kingston said. “Both teams had seven hits, played good defense. The big difference was just the number of free passes we gave today.”