With thirty-four games behind the Clemson softball team, two dynamic forces occupying the pitching circle have dominated for the Tigers.
Valerie Cagle and Millie Thompson have put up huge numbers statistically and provided a tranquil yet energetic leadership to the rest of the pitching staff that continues to mature.
The Clemson Tiger pitching staff has been stellar this season, with a team earned run average of only 0.70. Cagle’s fastball coupled with Thompson’s change-up has baffled batters.
Cagle leads the team in ERA at 0.49, which ranks fourth nationally, and her 118 strikeouts ranks 23rd. She’s also hitting .495 and has driven in 34 runs. Cagle has been named pitcher and player of the week in the Atlantic Coast Conference twice this season.
Thompson ranks 17th in the country with a 1.11 ERA.
These two teammates complement each other in more ways than one.
Cagle, the right-hander, is more linear and logical in her approach, while Thompson, a lefty, relies more on feel and intuition when controlling the circle. Cagle sports a “no nonsense” vibe that lets her opponents and teammates alike know that she is ready for business.
Thompson provides balance, bringing a different point of view, velocity, and strategy. Thompson uses emotion and thought process as she operates, energetically walking out of the pitching circle between each pitch. Thompson’s passion spills into the dugout, as you can often find her and other teammates having fun behind head coach John Rittman during an in-game interview or wearing any number of props to keep the energy up in the dugout and in the stands.
It is easy to see why Clemson has been so dominant and is becoming a trendy pick to reach the Women’s College World Series.
Up next: The Clemson Tigers softball team travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on Boston College for an ACC series. The first game is on Friday at 6 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.
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