Canes National headed over to the Chop for their first game of the tournament and standout left-hander Tristan Smith (2022, Chesnee, S.C.) entered the game in relief during a one-run game. Their lineup had been stifled early so they turned it over to one of the top arms in the country. Smith has quality size and physicality at a listed 6-foot-2, 200 pounds along with a much more streamlined delivery. The Clemson commit is still crossfired at landing but he’s done a very good job at being more online and cleaner through the back which was noticeable right away with how he filled up the strike zone. The command to the arm side was sharp and he didn’t get into much trouble in the first two innings, missing a lot of bats elevated with the heater and only getting to one three-ball count in the first seven hitters he faced. The fastball was 91-93 mph consistently over the first two innings and worked very nicely to miss bats and set up the rest of his arsenal. He flashed a firm changeup at 87 mph which induced a pop up and then unveiled his curveball in the second inning of work. The curveball was consistently plus as one sequence stood out where he dropped one on the back foot of a right-handed hitter for a swing-and-miss followed by a backdoor breaker for a called strike. We’ll be seeing Smith a good bit on the summer circuit but the improvements in both the operation and strikes along with the elite stuff he’s always shown bode well for a dominant season.
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