Tigers Roar in Opener

CLEMSON – Even though there are 55 more games remaining in the regular season, the No. 1 ranked Clemson baseball team will have a difficult time playing better than they did in the season opener.

The Tigers smacked 20 hits, had no errors and allowed just two hits en route to a 14-0 thrashing of George Mason Friday at a cold and blustery Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

There wasn't a thing Clemson didn't do right.

"I really thought we played well today," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "Our defense really played superb and offensively we were very efficient."

Starting pitcher P.J. Zocchi went six innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out six and walking none.

That's a pretty strong effort to get from the team's new ace.

"I just want to go out there and put up numbers like I did," Zocchi said. "To be honest, I really wasn't nervous at all today."

The other pitching performance that stood out came in relief from sophomore D.J. Mitchell, who hasn't pitched in a game since his junior year in high school.

CUTigers.com's player of the game is catcher Doug Hogan.
Last season, he played 51 games and started 19 games as a right fielder.

Against the Patriots, Mitchell tossed two innings of no-hit ball and faced the minimum amount of batters.

"We've been tweaking with (me pitching) for a year now," Mitchell said. "You always need pitching. You can never have enough pitching."

Leggett said Mitchell, the multipurpose player, will likely start in right field Saturday.

The offensive star of the game was catcher Doug Hogan, who went 3-for-5, with three runs scored and three RBIs. He also blasted two towering home runs to left-centerfield.

"I really didn't expect this in the first game, but I'll take it," Hogan said.

Other leading hitters were second baseman Taylor Harbin (3-5, 2 RBI), shortstop Stan Widmann (2-3, 2 runs) and Wilson Boyd (2-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI).

"We were kind of going on all cylinders today," Hogan said. "If we can play like this all season, it'll be a pretty good year."

Player of the Game: Catcher, Doug Hogan
The redshirt junior from Columbia smacked two towering home runs to left and left-centerfield. His two homers are just three shy of what Clemson got in that position in all of last year from Adrian Casanova.

Quote to Note: "We pitched, we played really good defense, we played aggressively and we hit. I think it was a good opening day," said Tigers coach Jack Leggett.

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