Clemson suffered their second series loss of the season this weekend after losing 2 of 3 against the Duke Blue Devils in Durham. The Tigers dropped the first game in close contest that Duke broke open late. Clemson came back to win the Saturday game before dropping a 2-1 game on Sunday to lose the series.
Friday night started off well enough for Clemson with the Tigers taking an early lead behind the underrated and unheralded Weston Wilson. Duke equalized quickly to make it 2-2 and both teams scored later to make it 3-3. Unfortunately Clemson could not do anything against the Duke bullpen while the Blue Devils were able to get enough opportunities to get a 5-3 lead, one they would hold through the end of the game.
Duke did an excellent job of getting production out of the bottom of their lineup. The last 3 hitters in the lineup hit over .500 for Duke Friday night, and with those type of numbers it could have been much worse for Clemson. Despite the loss it is hard to be too upset with the pitching, both teams did well pitching, Duke just had a better offense on Friday.
Saturday was another close game, but Clemson was able to come from behind and secure a 3-2 win. Duke jumped out to the early lead with 2 runs, but Clemson halved the lead in the 5th inning. Things didn't look great for Clemson until the 9th when the Tigers took advantage of a Duke error to take a 3-2 lead they were able to hold in the bottom of the frame. Starter Charlie Barnes went 8 innings in this game for a career high and gave the bullpen some needed rest. The win also marked the end of Seth Beer's 26 game hitting streak after he went hitless. He did get walked in the top of the 9th after a triple by Okey.
Sunday gave Clemson an opportunity to claim the series against what could be a surprisingly decent Duke team this year. Unfortunately Clemson wasn't up to the task, falling 2-1 to lose the series.Alex Eubanks got the start and pitched well with 2 runs allowed on 5 hits. He also went 6.2 innings, but the offense could not match his performance and once again Clemson was frustrated at the plate by Duke's pitching, their lone run coming off an error by Duke. The loss dropped Clemson to a 23-9 record overall, 8-7 in ACC play.
It is definitely unfortunate to not win the series. This was an opportunity to pick up some more wins ahead of the tougher parts of the schedule, but this was a close series. This wasn't Clemson getting blown out in embarrassing fashion like previous years, but some real experience that could serve the Tigers well in future series. Clemson also performed well despite some lackluster production on offense from Seth Beer and Weston Wilson. The two combined for a 6/22 weekend. Certainly not terrible, but it is definitely not the type of production fans expect from the duo. If one or both of these guys can return to the form we are used to seeing Clemson should be ok.
Clemson is in action on Tuesday this week when they host Western Carolina. First pitch is at 6:30pm EST and you can find streaming audio and video links on the Clemson Athletics website.