New bats good change for Tigers

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Surely after the smoke from the South Carolina series settled that bats wouldn't become a topic for conversation with the Clemson baseball team.

So went that idea after the Tigers brought in some new sticks before last Saturday's double-header against Gardner Webb. Out went the composite bats and in came a new shipment that still meets the NCAA's specifications.

"It's just a little weight distribution. They're a little bit lighter for our kids and have a little bit more life in the barrel than the other ones did," said Clemson coach Jack Leggett. "It's a good change for us. We needed it."

As has been customary under Leggett, the Tigers continue to swing Easton brand bats.

"They just came out with a new model...we've been patient. We played our first 40 games with the other one. This one is just a little bit better," Leggett said.

Clemson pounded out 25 runs and 31 hits on the day the bats debuted against Gardner Webb.

Entering play this week, the Tigers are among the ACC's top-three in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

Part of that success is credited to the hot- swinging Will Lamb, who extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a game-tying RBI single in the fourth inning against Furman on Tuesday night.

He's noticed a change in ball flight with the new bats.

"The old bats, they get up higher and they stop. The new bats just get some carry," Lamb said.

According to Lamb, everyone has switched to the new bats.

"It's aluminum alloy...they're all 33 [inches] 30 [ounces]. It's the weight distribution at the end of the bat. On my Surge, the old bat, it's so much heavier than these bats," he said. "It's a lot better bat swings through the zone, which leads to better swings and harder balls hit."

It's not just the Clemson sticks that are on fire of late. Tiger pitchers have allowed just seven runs since the final weekend series in April. During that seven-game stretch, three of which were against nationally ranked Georgia Tech, Clemson hasn't allowed more than two runs per outing.

"We're pitching the ball pretty good," Leggett said.

Dominic Leone, who's 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA, has moved into the Friday starter role.

Justin Sarratt has provided a spark to the rotation and now leads the team with 1.70 ERA and six wins. In his third-career ACC start, the 3-1 Sunday win over Georgia Tech, he allowed three hits and one run over a career-best 8 1/3 innings of work.

Scott Weismann picked up the save in the series clinching win over the Yellow Jackets. The former weekend starter now has four saves in nine appearances out of the bullpen.

"Our relief pitchers are getting better. I think kids understand their role now when they come out," Leggett said. "They know they've got to do a job and hand it over to the next guy. We'll keep it that way and just keep on rolling." Top Stories