The #20 ranked Tigers once again showed their resiliency this weekend by winning games two and three to take the series from the Demon Deacons, improving their record to 11-3 (2-1 ACC). The Clemson offense was the storyline of the weekend, led by sensational freshman Seth Beer with 4 home runs and a remarkable 8 RBI's in 3 games. This marks the first time since 2006 (Andy D'Alessio vs. Duke) that a Tiger has hit four or more home runs in series. There was plenty of offense at David Couch ballpark this weekend for the Tigers as they scored a total of 25 runs including 7 home runs. Pitching was a different story, as the starting pitchers struggled for the Tigers this weekend as none of the three recorded a win, only Charlie Barnes made it past the 3rd inning. The bullpen pitched well this weekend with 14 2/3 innings pitched while only allowing 4 earned runs. It may not have been pretty this weekend, but the Tigers did their job and started off ACC play with an important series win against the Demon Deacons.
The Demon Deacons jumped on the Tigers early in game one by scoring 3 runs in the first inning on Charlie Barnes, led by Will Craig's homerun. The Deacons added a total of 3 more runs in the 2nd and 3rd to take a 6-0 lead heading into the 4th. After a tough start, Barnes settled into the game holding Wake Forest scoreless through the next 3 1/3 innings. Clemson scored their first runs of the series in the 4th inning courtesy of a Seth Beer 2-run homer cutting the lead to 6-2. Clemson added another run in the 6th and 7th via Robert Jolly single up the middle and a Chase Pinder home run, his 5th home run of the season, cutting the lead to 6-4. But the early lead was too much for the Tigers to overcome as the Demon Deacons took game 1 with a final score 6-4. Charlie Barnes was given the loss bringing his record to 1-2 on season, the Tigers offense also left 7 runners on base.
Game 2 on Saturday was a different story as the Tigers jumped on the board first by a Seth Beer home run in the 2nd. Clate Schmidt started out strong on the bump for the Tigers holding the Demon Deacons scoreless through the first two innings. However, in the 3rd Wake Forest jumped on Schmidt scoring 3 runs on 3 hits to take a 3-1 lead, forcing Coach Lee to pull Schmidt after only 2 2/3 innings pitch. Clemson fought back to score 2 runs in the 5th to tie the game at 3-3. Clemson added another run in the 6th as well as 2 runs in the 7th coming from another Seth Beer home run, his second of the game and team leading 6th of the season. Pat Krall replaced Schmidt to pitch 5 strong innings, only giving up 2 earned runs. Alex Bostic came in for Krall to record a 4 out save, his second of season, giving the Tigers a much needed 6-5 win over the Demon Deacons.
On Sunday, The Tigers showed once again that they don't give in and will fight until the end. Alex Eubanks was named the starter for the tigers, as expected. The Tigers jumped on Wake Forest early again with a Seth Beer solo home run in the 2nd, his incredible 4th of the series and 7th of the season, and a RBI double by Andrew Cox scoring Weston Wilson. This would be a back and forth game as Wake Forest came right back in the bottom half and scored 4 runs on Eubanks, taking the led 4-2. Clemson added 2 more of their own in the 3rd to tie the game at four. Alex Eubanks was knocked around again in the bottom half of the inning giving up 2 more runs before being pulled by Coach Lee after just 2 1/3 innings. Wake Forest added a run in the 5th and 6th to bring the lead to 8-4. But the Tigers put together a huge rally in the 7th inning scoring 8 runs on 5 hits. The rally was led by Chris Okey's Grand slam and Weston Wilson's 2 run homer giving the Tigers a 12-8 lead. Clemson added another run in the 9th bringing the lead up to 13-8. That would end up being the final score and giving the Tigers the series win against Wake Forest.
This was a huge series win for the Tigers, very important to start off ACC play with series win. The Tigers offense has been very impressive so far this season. Seth Beer was on an absolute tear this weekend hitting 4 home runs bringing his season total to 7 home runs in just 14 games (true freshman...). Beer also brought his average all the way up to .404. Chris Okey's bat seems to be coming around after a slow start. He came up huge on Sunday with the grand slam in the 7th inning. His average is also steadily climbing back up to his usual form. Weston Wilson, Chase Pinder, and Reed Rohlman are all off to great starts this season. All three are batting over .300 through 14 games. If the Tigers can get their starting pitching on track this team could win a lot of games this season.
Clemson is back in action this week with a two series against the Citadel on Tuesday (7pm game time) and Wednesday (6pm game time) in Charleston before coming home to face Boston College this weekend.