Clemson University

USC, Clemson suffer big losses at hands of draft

South Carolina and Clemson came through the annual wait-and-see battles with their baseball draftees with mostly bad news.

After the Aug. 15 cutoff, USC is returning five of its Major League Baseball-drafted players or recruits while losing eight. Clemson's losses were worse -- the Tigers lost 11 potential members of next year's team while returning five.

Clemson underclassmen Daniel Moskos, David Kopp, Brad Chalk, Alan Farina, Stephen Clyne and Taylor Harbin decided to forfeit their remaining eligibility and four recruits -- Josh Smoker, Nick Noonan, Jake Smolinski and Kyle Miller -- also signed.

Pitcher P.J. Zocchi, who was the Tigers' No. 1 starter in the early season last year but quickly became a midweek or bullpen pitcher, signed with Cleveland on Thursday. Zocchi had a year of college eligibility left but had indicated he would accept his 36th-round draft selection.

Clemson should return catcher Doug Hogan and shortstop Stan Widmann, who was drafted despite missing all but six games last year with a neck injury. Widmann's health is uncertain for next year but coach Jack Leggett signed Chris Epps, Trent Rothlin and Jeff Schaus among the freshman class.

The Gamecocks lost Travis Jones, Harris Honeycutt, Arik Hempy and signees Kyle Greenwalt, L.V. Ware and Austin Gallagher to the draft. But, draftees Andrew Crisp and Phil Disher, plus three recruits -- Jose Rodriguez, Will Casey and Lancaster native Steven Neff -- will be with the team in 2008.

USC also got two pieces of bad news late Wednesday. Catcher Trent Kline, a 49th-round selection, signed with San Francisco after a late push by the Giants. Pitcher Wynn Pelzer, who fractured his kneecap pitching during the summer and was considering returning to school, instead accepted his ninth-round draft selection from San Diego.