Friday night is Goose's night

CLEMSON - Daniel Gossett is exactly where he wants to be, and he hopes to remain there over the next couple of seasons.

The Friday starter's job -- it's a pretty big deal at a place tradition-rich baseball school like Clemson. And it's the spot Gossett will occupy when Clemson opens the 2013 season against William & Mary at 4 o'clock.

"It's something I'd love to keep doing. It's a coveted spot, so I'm going to have to maintain it," Gossett said. "We've got a bunch of good guys that are in the pen and starters as well. I know if I'm not doing my job -- what the team needs to keep winning -- then I'm going to be replaced fairly quickly."

A product of Byrnes High School, Gossett had a stellar freshman campaign. After beginning the season in the bullpen, Gossett was eventually moved into the starting rotation.

He finished the season with a 6-3 record, two saves and a 4.32 ERA in 19 appearances [10 starts]. In 77 innings of work he recorded 87 strikeouts [39 walks] and held opposing hitters to a .221 average.

"He loves Clemson. It's where he always wanted to go to school," said Clemson coach Jack Leggett, who is entering his 20th year as the Tigers' head coach.

"He's worked extremely hard…You know you're going to get 100 percent when you see Daniel Gossett on the mound."

Gossett's just happy to be the first guy to be there in 2013.

"It's a huge honor," he said. "I'm just trying not to think too deeply into it. It's just a game. I know if I get inside my own head, I'll become my worst enemy.

"I'm just trying to take it as this is just another game. But it's definitely a huge honor, very grateful for the opportunity."

To go along with a solid preseason, Gossett's performance down the stretch in 2012 helped make him the favorite to win this year's No. 1 starter job.

In postseason play last year, Gossett had a 1.98 ERA and limited opponents to a .170 batting average in two starts. Against No. 2 South Carolina in last year's Columbia Regional, he gave up four hits, two runs, struck out eight and walked three over seven innings.

"I just kind of took that to heart knowing that's probably one of the toughest games I'm going to pitch in. I'm a freshman, everything's new, regionals -- it's a little bit of a confidence boost knowing that I've done it before. Why can't I do it again?

"It's a different attitude coming back this year. It's not the freshman attitude, ‘How am I going to do this? How am I going to fit it?'

"I'm ready to compete…I know I can stay alive. Now, I'm ready to compete."

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