It may have been a midweek game against Big South member Winthrop, but Tuesday afternoon’s game was one of those games that makes college baseball....... well, college baseball. Plenty of highs, plenty of lows, and filled with drama throughout. Clemson has been money in midweek games under Monte Lee. They’ve won 28 out of 29 since he took over, and 15 straight.
Freshman lefty Sam Weatherly would get the start after an impressive debut vs Furman a week ago. He wasn’t quite as impressive today however, as he battled control problems, constantly pitching from behind in the count. He ran into trouble instantly, allowing two hits and a walk in the first. He was able to get out of the inning unscathed however, thanks in large part to Winthrop CF Scout McFalls base running blunder that led to him being thrown out at the plate for the 1st out of the inning. The offense did what it could to help the young lefty by taking Winthrop SP Cody Whitten deep twice and jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Chris Williams hit a 3R shot, his 3rd this season, and Drew Wharton hit a solo shot, his 4th of the season.
The 2nd inning saw more trouble for Weatherly though, as he stayed behind in count. He surrendered 2 more hits, and allowed the Eagles to get on the board, cutting the lead to 4-1. Through the 1st two innings, he had been able to limit the damage, despite struggling, but the 3rd inning would see the wheels fall off. A leadoff walk, a single, and an error by Seth Beer, on a dropped fly ball he lost in the sun, would load the bases with only 1 out. That would end Weatherly’s day, as Monte went to the pen, bringing in redshirt freshman Travis Marr to try and end the threat. He would fare no better. 4 hits and 1 wild pitch later, Winthrop would have a 5-4 lead by the time the 3rd inning would end. After giving up a double, another wild pitch, and a RBI single to start the Winthrop 4th, Marr’s day was also done. Ryan Miller was next out of the pen. He was able to get out of the inning and keep the Tigers within striking distance, down 7-4. It was another good outing for Miller. He would pitch through the 7th, allowing only 1 more run, finishing with 4IP 2H, 1ER 2Ks and 3BBs. Weatherly finished with 2.1IP 5H 4R 3ER 2BB 1K and Marr with 0.2IP 6H 3ER 0BB 1K.
After the Tigers 4 run 1st inning, the bats went cold. They would not get a single hit in innings 2-5, and had been out hit 12-2. Entering their half of the 6th down 8-4, Chris Williams finally broke the drought, with a leadoff single. He would move to 2nd on a Jolly ground out, then score on a Wharton double. Byrd then singled, scoring Wharton, cutting Winthrop’s lead to 8-6. After Teo struck out, Wylkie would knock in Byrd, who had stolen 2nd, with a single to right. It was now 8-7, and Winthrop was clinging to a 1 run lead. The Eagles would not score again.
Ryne Huggins, Carson Spiers, and Mat Clark would combine to pitch the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4.
The drama would really intensify in the ninth, when Patrick Cromwell would pick the perfect time to hit his 1st HR of the year, a one out solo shot in the that tied it a 8-8.
In the 10th, Wharton drew a leadoff walk. Next up was Byrd, who seemed to be attempting to bunt Wharton over. However, after squaring around, he pulled the bat back and slapped a single to left. The “fake bunt” was executed perfectly, allowing Byrd to slap the ball right through the hole the SS would have otherwise been in. Wharton advanced all the way to 3rd, giving the Tigers runners on the corners and no out. Teo struck out for the first out. Next up was Wylkie who singled right back up the middle, completing the comeback, and giving the Tigers the walkoff 9-8 win.
Next up, the Dirtpeckers for a weekend series. Clemson will be looking for its 4th straight series win over the Gamecocks