Following a special trip to Fenway Park to tour the stadium and then take batting practice in the cages there, the Clemson baseball team headed to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to face the Boston College Eagles. After an offensive explosion on Friday and a come-from-behind win on Sunday, the Tigers won the series 2-1. With the two victories, the Tigers improved to 18-18 overall and 9-9 in the ACC, while Boston College fell to 16-18 on the season and 6-11 in conference play.
On Friday, the Tiger offense exploded for 15 runs on 16 hits and Matthew Crownover pitched 6.0 scoreless innings as Clemson took game one 15-6. The game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when RBIs from Chris Okey and Chase Pinder gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead that would only grow over the ensuing innings. The Tigers went on to score single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, off of a throwing error and another RBI from Pinder, but really broke the game open with a five-run seventh inning. Reed Rohlman hit a bases-clearing double to right-center field to score Tyler Slaton, Eli White and Tyler Krieger, and Okey followed with a two-run homer in the next at-bat. Clemson then scored three runs in both the eighth and ninth innings, including four RBIs from freshman Drew Wharton, who came in to play right field in the eighth.
"We had a couple of two-out, two-strike hits that put us up, and Okey had a big day, Drew Wharton off the bench had a really big day for us, Reed Rohlman also had some good things, Tyler Slaton had three hits for us and was on base four times, so it's been a good day offensively from top to bottom," Head Coach Jack Leggett said. "It was tough hitting conditions, it was extremely wet in the outfield and the infield played good. Somehow we seem to play pretty good on the road."
Crownover (6-1) pitched 6.0 scoreless innings, giving up only four hits en route to his sixth win of the season. Massachusetts native Paul Campbell came in to relieve Crownover, striking out six of the 18 batters he faced and earning his first career save.
"It was good to get out there and give the team a chance to win," Crownover said. "I threw the ball okay, but I kind of struggled with my command there for a couple batters. I have to throw the ball better and get deeper into games, but for a bad day, to still go six innings, that's not bad."
Clemson did not fare as well on Saturday, losing a close 8-7 matchup. Even though the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning, three consecutive strikeouts from Rohlman, Okey and Pinder ended the chance for a rally. However, Okey had already had a noteworthy day, hitting his seventh and eighth homeruns of the year in the forms of a solo shot to left center in the fourth and a two-run long ball to left field in the sixth. Steven Duggar also went yard on Saturday, his first of the season, but the Tigers could not muster enough offense to top the Eagles.
With the chance for an important conference series win on the line on Sunday, the Tigers stepped up for a come-from-behind 6-3 win, also taking the series. Clemson scored one run in the third off of one of Boston College's three errors, but the Eagles went on to score three runs in the next two innings to take the lead. However, thanks to a two-run single from Rohlman and a RBI from Krieger, the Tigers took back the lead in the fifth inning and did not give it up. Clemson tacked on two more runs in the seventh, taking advantage of a few errors by Boston College, putting the game out of reach for the Eagles.
Clemson starter Brody Koerner (4-4) earned the win for the Tigers, allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned) in 7.2 innings pitched. Koerner also struck out a career-high nine batters. Reliever Pat Krall recorded his first save in the orange and purple, allowing only one hit in his 1.1 innings pitched.
"I found the breaking ball that I haven't had the last few weeks," Koerner said. "They played good defense behind me and [Chris Okey] did a great job behind the plate. I was pounding sliders and getting ahead early with it, and then putting it in the dirt and letting Okey work late. It was definitely a big win for us, to win the series, that's always important. Especially in the ACC, you take two out of three instead of one out of three, that makes a big difference."
The Tigers now travel back to Tigertown and have five home games this week, starting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Western Carolina.