Pitching in the biggest game of young his baseball life, Schmidt tossed seven strong innings as Clemson evened the South Carolina series with a 6-3 win at Fluor Field.
But the freshman righty from Acworth, Ga. wasn't without flaw, giving up a pair of back-to-back solo home runs to Max Schrok and L.B. Dantzler.
Clemson pitching Dan Pepicelli was out of his seat, ready to visit the mound as Dantzler rounded third.
"After those home runs, you want to see how his eye contact is, how his behavior is like," Pepicelli said. "He was in the moment. He was still very capable."
With the optimistic news, he reported back to head coach Jack Leggett.
Pepicelli told Leggett, "He's in a good place. Let's be patient with him, because he's in a really good place. He's in Clate's world now."
Schmidt responded by striking out the next two batters, both looking. He bellowed out a "barbarian yell" before crossing the third baseline into foul territory.
"The excitement kind of got a hold of me a little bit," Schmidt said. "Because of the atmosphere, I had to let a little bit out."
Aside from the two sixth inning hiccups, he gave the South Carolina batters fits all afternoon, mixing in a cutter to compliment his fastball. Schmidt, who recorded five strikeouts, gave up five hits, two runs and walked three.
"Clate was outstanding today. He's come a long way," Leggett said. "Pep's done a great job with him since the fall. He's matured a lot. He's getting a lot of confidence."
That confidence could play a big part in helping the Tigers build a weekend rotation of Daniel Gossett, Schmidt and Scott Firth.
"In some ways a little bit of adversity actually saved us. If he would have pitched a complete game, that's all great," Pepicelli said. "Getting that challenge in the middle, I think it really helps you grow.
"It builds your confidence. You can hang in there, because you're always going to have those sticking points throughout the course of the game. He pitched well, did a good job with it."
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