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Clemson Takes 2 from Duke

Clemson went into the weekend needing a sweep over an 11-10 squad and did not get it at home, but won the series 2-1, splitting the Saturday doubleheader after Goose shutout the Devils on Friday night.

Friday - Clemson 7-0

Daniel Gossett earned his 3rd victory of the season by pitching a 5-hitter and never walking a single batter. Goose had his curve working and spotted his fastball really well on both sides of the plate. Duke really didn't have a prayer until the 9th, when he allowed the last two hits of the 5. It was the first shutout by a Tiger since Stoneburner did it in 2008. It was one of the best pitching performances I've seen from Clemson in a long time.

I was shocked that Jack had left him in for the 9th, and even moreso once the two runners got on, but thankfully for once he didn't pull his pitcher out with a 7 run lead. Had it been 3 or 4 runs, Jack would've pulled Goose.

The 6th inning was particularly ugly for Duke. With Clemson up 2-0 and 1 out, Brittle laced a single down the RF line and reached 2nd after the RF botched it. Slaton hit one that ate up the 2nd baseman and reached, putting runners on the corners. Jay Baum came up and hit one to the 3rd baseman, who couldn't get the throw off, allowing Brittle and Slaton to score. Duggar then singled home Baum before a pitching change was made. 3 errors, and 3 runs scored...pitiful.

It was only in the 9th that Duke made a significant effort, with Goose nearing 120 pitches. The first batter flied out to LF, but Kremer singled to left. The pinch hitter flied out to left center, but the next one hit one that landed just inside the LF line in the corner. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, I expected Goose to get pulled, but Jack left him in and the next batter flied out to CF to end the game.

Clemson pounded out 14 hits in the contest, led by Brittle going 4-for-4 with one RBI, two runs, and two stolen bases. Duggar, Boulware, and McGibbon added two hits apiece.

Saturday Game 1 - Clemson 8-4

The Sunday game was moved to saturday due to the threat of weather so we played a split doubleheader. This game looked like one of the games with the old bats until Erwin took over for Schmidt, because everyone was getting on base for both teams. There were 24 hits combined.

Clate wasn't really fooling anyone from the beginning of the game. The command was simply not there. Duke scored twice in the 1st inning and twice more in the 5th when he was pulled, but I thought we were lucky there were not another 2-3 runs scored while he was in. The top of their order gave him some trouble. To his credit he got out of the jams he put himself into in the other innings. Zach Erwin (W, 2-0) came in for Clate in the 5th and shut Duke down thereafter, leaving me to wonder if he may not deserve at least a midweek start before getting a weekend. Clate will be just fine in the long run but may need to work some things out.

Duke's starter was DOA and had no help from his defense. Clemson scored in the first on a Boulware single after Duggar reached 2nd on another error. Brittle ended up scoring in the 2nd thanks to a walk and a failed pickoff. Clemson scored in all but 2 innings of the game and every Tiger who batted had a hit in the game.

Steve Wilkerson went 2-for-5, Garrett Boulware went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Shane Kennedy went 2-for-3 to lead the team in hits.

The 1-5 hitters in Duke's order went 10-for-21 in the game.

Game 2 - Duke 13-1

Scott Firth was beaten up again with 8 hits, 6 runs, and two walks allowed in 3.1 IP. Most of that damage came in the 8-run 4th inning that put us down and we didn't get back into it after that. In several starts Firth has been really let down by the defense behind him, but twice he's been shelled and this one counts has his 4th loss of the season. However, our defense was not exactly great in game 2 either.

Crownover is not quite ready for a weekend start from what I've seen, but either he or Erwin may be given one anyway.

Duke got on the board first in the 2nd. Back2Back singles put runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Firth struck out the next guy looking but Koplove singled and drove in the first run. Slaton's throw home went over Boulware's head and allowed runners to 2nd and 3rd. Duke's best hitter, Andy Perez, then tripled home both of them down the RF line to make it 3-0.

Duke batted around in the 4th, scoring 3 more charged to Firth, plus 5 charged to Matt Campbell after Schnell couldn't finish the inning for him. Basically no one looked great on the mound for the Tigers, but Patrick Andrews got through the 9th without trouble, which was a good sign for his improvement.

Perez led Duke’s 15-hit attack by going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, one run, five RBIs, and one steal. Grant McCabe went 3-for-6, while Berezo and Koplove added two hits apiece. Anthes scored a game-high three runs as well.

Clemson's lineup was pretty inept at the plate, but Jon McGibbon went 2-for-3 in a sub-laden lineup. Basically everyone got a chance to play once we were far enough behind. D.J. Reader struck out as a pinch hitter.

The Tigers will face the Georgia Bulldogs in a two-game midweek series Tuesday and Wednesday.