5 minutes with Pep

OMAHA, Neb. – Clemson needed just two pitchers to get past Arizona State on Monday as the Tigers won their College World Series opener 6-3.

Clemson pitching coach Dan Pepicelli talks about Monday's performances by Alex Frederick and Casey Harman and then looks ahead to Scott Weismann's scheduled start against Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Alex talked about how he's able to zero-in and just focus on the mitt, despite the situation going on behind him. Is that something you noticed in him before you got a chance to really coach him?
Pepicelli: I had no idea. There was nobody that gave me a heads up about him. To be honest, he's kind of learning what he's all about this year. We gave him situations early in the year and he had a lot of poise. As the year went on, throw him in that one. The situation got bigger and bigger. My style is very much, I'm just going to show him a lot of confidence. It's always about being positive with these guys. I think I was positive with Alex. I said, ‘Do your thing.' We did some different things with his pitching. The situation got bigger and he stayed the same. He was our go-to guy. I was just saying, against Florida State, he was big for us. The Auburn series he was huge. The Alabama series, he was huge for us. He's been doing it now. He's pretty confident in what he's doing.

Is he the guy you feel is your go-to guy out of the bullpen?
Pepicelli: He's kind of turned out to be that. Last week, Kevin Brady had a bump in the road, but he had been really good up until then. At Auburn, Kevin Brady was dominating. I have a lot of confidence in Kevin, Dominic Leone feels good about himself, based on that last outing and Will Lamb does, too. There's a bunch of options there. They have a lot of confidence. It's kind of like coach said. I just keep track of the hitters as the game goes on. About half-way through, I'll wonder who could be a good match-up with this guy. I just kind of write a note and that's how we do it. There's no, ‘Hey, he's our guy-type of thing.'

Coming into the season, there were some folks that follow the bullpen that might have had some concern with the bullpen and the depth in the pitching staff. Do you feel good with where you guys are at, at this point?
Pepicelli: I understand their concern. The thing is, I'm not trying to simplify it, the biggest thing that bullpen did is what Casey said. It's what we've preached since I got here, which is, ‘We all have to stick together.' It's going to take the whole unit, which it really has. You're going to have to hand the game off to somebody, as long as we are all believing in that guy, maybe the whole can be much better than the individual parts. That's what it's been. We've played with a lot of confidence. They have a lot of fight in them…I'm so proud of them. I absolutely love this group. They bust their tails, do anything that's asked of them. They have such a belief. It's fun to coach them.

It's pretty obvious Casey's the ace. He's been really good the entire tournament, although he had trouble finding the strike zone at the end of his outing against Arizona State. How big has he been, being able to keep you in ball games?
Pepicelli: He's been huge. As these tournaments have come, you've had to face everybody else's number one. Casey, all year, has heard about the other guy's number one, who's been more highly touted. Casey goes out and beats them. Casey out competes him. If you look back and look at the numbers at the end of the year, that's what he's done. If you look at the Alabama game, he dealt. He just didn't get the result. He's the guy, right now.

At the same time, Scott Weismann has been your solid number two. Do you feel good about him going against Oklahoma?
Pepicelli: Yes. Scotty, after his ACC Tournament appearance, he just had a slump where his arm wasn't working quite the way it had been. The very next day, afterwards, we went to the backfields on a day that's normally a rest day. Scotty wanted to work. I thought we saw some things and we just started working with his arm. It kind of clipped into a different rhythm, kind of honed it a little bit. He's got such a good, competitive energy to him. Those things have clicked and he has been a solid number two. I feel good about being able to run Scotty out there. They'll be tough, but Scotty will be tough, too.

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