Moskos Making Smooth Transition

CLEMSON – Ironically enough, Clemson's Daniel Mokos is relieved that he is no longer a relief pitcher for the Tigers. Being a starter is much more to his liking and better suited to his character.

"Yeah, it was a relief," he said. "Now, I can get set up in a routine where I don't have to be ready every single game to pitch. To be honest, you get worn down by the end of the year and now I feel like instead of getting worn down, I'm going to continue to get stronger."

If the junior gets stronger or better than what he has already shown over his first two career starts where he's pitched 10 innings, allowed just two runs, while striking out 11 and walking just one, Clemson may have just found its missing piece to a championship season.

And that kind of effort couldn't come a better time for the No. 14 Tigers (25-11, 10-5 ACC) as they begin a crucial three-game series against No. 6 Virginia (32-8, 11-6 ACC) today at 7:15 p.m., at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

"It's a huge series for us because it's the first ACC team we're playing that's ranked in the top 10," he said. "To be where we want to be in the ACC standings, we need to take this series."

Tonight will be the first true test for Moskos as a starter, but there are no jitters.

"This is a big test," he said. "I get excited for stuff like this. If you get nervous, you're already beat. You have to just do what you can and let your ability take over."

What Moskos can do, which makes him more suited to being a starter, is have command of four pitches – fastball, curve, slider and changeup. Combine that with his ability to throw hard and being left-handed, and you have the all the makings of a special starter and one of the top prospects in the nation.

But oddly enough, it was his ability to throw those four pitches that got him into trouble as a relief pitcher in the first place.

Instead of just concentrating on his fastball and slider like most closers, he tried to throw all four of his pitches, but the consistency just wasn't there.

"Once you're a starter, you pitch like a starter," Moskos said. "The fact that I am a competitor probably got me by as a closer and that I have the mentality that I want the ball in a tight situation, but it actually got the best of me a little bit this year, where I tried to pitch too much.

"In a one-inning outing, I tried to throw all of my pitches instead of just maybe one or two of them. I really think it got the best of me in terms consistency with my pitches."

So when the coaching staff approached him about being a starter, there truly was a sense of relief. He didn't have to be asked twice. Moskos was all for it because it meant he could be what he believes to be a complete pitcher.

"I think it shows because now, I'm throwing all my pitches for strikes and kind of getting into a rhythm," he said.

And that spells bad news for opponents.

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