CLEMSON — Clemson pitcher Nick Hoffmann admires his more bombastic teammates. He really does. The screaming. The yelling. The popping veins and cherry red faces. Hoffman feeds off their energy.
That's just not his style.
Hoffmann, who's often told he's a "pretty chill" guy, is what coach Monte Lee calls a "low anxiety pitcher." That's why he was hardly rattled when, about 45 minutes before the Tigers' series finale at Boston College on March 27, he was told he would be the starter for the first time in his college baseball career.
The sophomore then proceeded to throw a complete game, leading Clemson to a 7-2 victory and its second series win in as many weekends.
"Nick's a very laid back, quiet kid," coach Monte Lee said. "And he pitches that way."
Hoffmann methodically worked through Boston College's lineup in what was the second game of a doubleheader. He struck out seven and allowed six hits without walking a batter, while expertly mixing his fastball with his slider and his changeup.
"He doesn't pitch with a ton of effort because he doesn't throw super hard," Lee said. "He's a pitch-ability guy."
Hoffmann, whose longest previous outing in 2021 was three innings, is known for his ability to throw strikes. And for a team without three of its top pitchers — right-handers Davis Sharpe and Mack Anglin and left-hander Mat Clark were all unavailable with non-arm injuries — Hoffmann took care of the job.
The right-hander credited assistant coach Andrew See's pitch calling.
"My command was on in the strike zone," Hoffmann said. "I really just located my fastball well on both sides of the plate. And I'd say I got ahead in counts where I needed to get ahead. Boston College is really good hitting team, and we were able to play great defense."
Hoffmann learned he'd be starting about five minutes before the conclusion of the first game of the doubleheader, a 9-3, 10-inning victory for Clemson, and then had another 40 minutes before first pitch.
He gulped down a few cups of water and a turkey club sandwich, and went to work.
Hoffmann held the Eagles scoreless until the seventh inning, when Boston College finally scratched across two runs. He threw 95 pitches through the first eight innings, at which point See checked in.
"I was like, 'Heck yeah, I want to finish the game,'" Hoffmann said. "I was thinking in my head, like, I've gone this far, I can finish it."
Sixteen pitches later, Hoffmann put the finishing touches on the first complete game by a Tigers pitcher since 2017.
It's unclear if Hoffmann will be used as a starter in the near future for the Tigers, who fell to Georgia, 2-0, on March 30 and begin a weekend series at N.C. State on April 2. Lee expects his staff to heal up and Hoffmann has been an asset out of the bullpen.
Whatever the situation, Lee knows he can count on the right-hander who hardly ever gets nervous.
"He's just easy, and that's good for a pitcher," Lee said. "You want your pitchers to be low anxiety."