Shaffer, Sunday starter up in the air

CLEMSON - Jack Leggett may be short-handed for this weekend's three-game, three-city series with rival South Carolina.

Third baseman Richie Shaffer, who is second among Clemson batters with a .365 average, suffered a groin injury against Maine on Sunday.

"Right now, he's probably 50-50, maybe a little less than that," Leggett said on Tuesday. "We have a long way to go to get him where he needs to be. If he's not 100 percent, then we'll make an adjustment.

"We'll probably move Jay Baum over to third base and hope he steps up if Richie can't go."

Baum started every game of the UAB series at second base. Because of his performance as the starter last weekend, Steve Wilkerson has taken over.

"I liked the way Steve Wilkerson played last weekend," Leggett said. "I look for him to be our guy there right now. He had a really good game for us on Sunday. He's a great offensive player and an emotional player for us, so we hope he can establish himself there.

"Jay Baum is going to be a really good player, and he might have to play some third base for us this weekend. They'll all get their time out there."

On the mound, things will remain status quo for the first two games against the Gamecocks.

"Friday and Saturday are going to be the same as they have been, with Kevin Brady and Dominic Leone," Leggett said. "Sunday is to be determined. We're going to figure that out as we go along."

Kevin Pohle or Jonathan Meyer could start on Sunday, instead of David Haselden, who got nod for the previous two Sundays.

South Carolina, defenders of the last two National Championships, will throw Michael Roth in Friday night's game in Charleston.

"He throws strikes, so being patient doesn't always work. He competes and doesn't throw the same pitch twice," Leggett said. "Our guys have to be on their game and really focus and concentrate when he's on the mound. If he makes a mistake, we have to take advantage. It's going to be a good challenge for us."

The Gamecocks have a team ERA of 0.83 while the Tigers' team batting average is .285.

"Their pitching has been very good so far -- better than good," Leggett said. "Their first three guys are experienced; they've been out there before. They know how to pitch and it's going to be a big challenge for our hitters. We have to score some runs. I think our pitching is going to do a pretty great job. I'm excited about our guys going out there as well.

"We're going to have to find ways to turn the game in our favor. It's going to be an exciting weekend."

The two teams will play in Columbia on Saturday before closing the series out in Clemson on Sunday.

"It's a challenge for both teams. It's challenging to play in three different venues. It involves a lot of traveling and a lot of planning, but we're excited," Leggett said. "Charleston is going to be a great venue to play at. Then, we'll play on Saturday in Columbia on our way back to Clemson, where we're looking forward to playing on Sunday." Top Stories