After last weekends sweep by Miami for their first series loss of the season, Clemson returned to their winning ways by taking 2 out of 3 at home against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Behind the bats of Seth Beer, Chase Pinder, and Weston Wilson Clemson took the first game of the series 14-6.
Clate Schmidt remains undefeated after going over 6 innings in the start on Friday and has certainly earned his position as ace of this pitching staff. Schmidt gave up an early to Pitt when the game started, but he settled down until he was tagged for 4 runs in the 5th inning that put Pitt up 5-4. In the bottom of the inning Clemson tied the game and then took the lead for good in the 6th.
Before the midweek game coach Monte Lee had a talk with his players imploring them to be aggressive, something they didn't do in the series sweep by Miami. Clemson followed his advice Friday night and for most of the weekend as well.
Saturday was not a good day for Clemson baseball. The team's 13 game winning streak at home was snapped as Pitt just beat the pants off the Tigers, 15-5. Both teams scored in the first inning with Clemson actually leading when the dust cleared by one run. Unfortunately Pitt continued to find success against our pitching staff and scored in 6 of the 9 innings during the game. Clemson pitcher Charlie Barnes did not have a great day. He lasted 4 innings and gave up 7 earned runs on 10 hits. His replacements didn't do much better. It just seems like Barnes was off on the day, he struck out 5 and only walked 1 batter, so his control wasn't all over the place, he just couldn't get Pitt to miss the ball.
If I told you Clemson won a one run game you might expect the hero to be Seth Beer, but Sunday the hero was Jordan Greene who drove in the game winning run. Alex Eubanks did an excellent job pitching and limiting Pitt to 3 runs over his 4.2 innings and Pat Krall pitched an excellent 4.1 innings to follow Eubanks to give Clemson a 4-3 win and the series win. Clemson's bats seemed unusually quiet, even Seth Beer only went 1-4 and Weston Wilson was hitless.
This weekend it was nice to see fewer errors. Against Miami we lamented how Clemson seemed to be reverting to some of last year's play on defense, but it looks like that series may have just been a one off. The downside is that 2 of the errors led directly to runs, something Clemson has to continue to improve on as we get into the tougher part of the schedule.
Speaking of the schedule, Clemson is now 21-7 and still has 28 games left to play. A similar record would put the Tigers at 42-14 for the season, the most wins since 2011 and would likely allow Clemson to host a Regional for the first time since 2011 as well. It will be hard to replicate the record though. The meat of Clemson's schedule is coming up and if Clemson is able to replicate their first-half success then this is going to be as special of a team.
Clemson will start the second half of their season at Georgia on Tuesday before traveling to Duke for a weekend series.