Clemson opened up ACC play this weekend with an excellent sweep of Notre Dame. The Tigers started off the series with a 4-1 win Friday night. Starter Charlie Barnes pitched 6 1⁄3 innings, allowing a single unearned run. He only allowed 4 hits Friday night and struck out 7. After a shaky Opening Day, Barnes has reduced his ERA to 0.69 ... an excellent number even if it’s early in the season.
The offense did its job Friday as well. The Tigers took advantage of an erratic Notre Dame pitching staff and managed to walk 9 times. There we're re o walks to start the 6th, and then the 7th inning allowed the Tigers to extend a 2-1 advantage into a 4-1 lead that the bullpen was able to hold.
On Saturday, Clemson started quickly with a 4-run 1st inning. Then the Tigers had to withstand a Notre Dame offense that ultimately scored 3 runs in the top of the 5th to take a 5-4 lead. Thankfully, Chase Pinder’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning broke the deadlock and Clemson was able to close out the game with 4 innings of scoreless baseball.
Saturday’s pitching was not as brilliant as the other two games over the weekend, but the bullpen did well to hold Notre Dame scoreless. Brooks Crawford, in particular, did an excellent job of going 4.2 innings without allowing a single run.
On Sunday, Clemson continued their solid play behind Alex Eubanks. The Sunday starter went 7 innings and didn’t allow a single run. Clemson cruised to a 4-0 win to complete the sweep on a rather chilly Sunday afternoon.
Clemson’s offense did well behind Chase Pinder, who had two doubles; Clemson also took advantage of mistakes by Notre Dame to score several runs. Andrew Cox and Weston Jackson both scored without the benefit of a hit after getting on base with one out.
The only real concern coming from this series continues to be errors, especially with passed balls and wild pitches. Clemson had several this weekend and, although they didn’t cause a loss, against better teams it will become an issue. This is the one area Clemson absolutely must improve upon as the season progresses.
With the series sweep Clemson is now 12-3 and 3-0 in ACC play. With Clemson’s schedule alternating between difficult and easy weekend series, it’s important that the Tigers continue to dominate the winnable games. The Tigers will play Yale midweek on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Virginia over the weekend. Because of poor weather and the NIT game on Tuesday, first pitch will be at 4pm EST and 3pm EST against Yale.