After watching his starting pitchers fail to record a single quality start last weekend against instate rival UofSC, Monte Lee decided he needed to shake things up with his weekend rotation. Davis Sharpe was moved from Saturday to Friday, Mat Clark from the pen to Saturday, and Keyshawn Askew from the midweek spot to Sunday. Going with two true freshman, and a sophomore making just his second career start might have been viewed as a bold move by some, with third ranked UNC coming to town to open ACC play.
Bold or not, the move paid off, as Clemson got quality starts from all three, and swept the #3 Tarheels. It was a wild weekend at Doug Kingsmore, with two of the three wins coming in walkoff fashion, and the other resembling the score of a football game more so than a baseball game.
Clemson 3 UNC 2- Game 1
Once again, rain forced the Tigers into playing two on Saturday, and if you like pitchers duels, this is one you probably enjoyed. Freshman phenom Davis Sharpe would go toe to toe with veteran UNC starter Gianluca Dalatri, in what was impressive outings for both. After a first inning mistake that Ike Freeman hit out of the park to left, Sharpe settled in nicely and allowed only two more hits over his 6 IP. He struck out 7, walked 3, and allowed just the 1 run.
Jacob Hennessy came on in relief, pitching the final three innings and picking up his 2nd win of the season (3-0). He walked the very first batter he faced, who would eventually come around to score and give the Heels a 2-0 lead. Hennessy then settled in and allowed three hits, walked 2 and struck out 2, giving up only the one run.
Dalatari scattered 4 hits over 6.2 IP, striking out 8 and walking 2, while keeping hitters off balance through the first six innings. The Tigers finally chased him in the 7th when Bryar Hawkins doubled to lead off the inning, and came around to score two batters later when Jordan Greene reached on a fielding error.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Green singled to leadoff the inning. Jordan Greene would then fly out, and Chad Fairey would draw a walk. Kier Meredith then singled up the middle, scoring M Green to tie it at 2, with Fairey moving over to third. After Elijah Henderson came on to pinch run for Fairey. UNC reliever Joey Lancelotti would then fake a throw to third. Under a newly instituted rule, the fake throw to third is no longer allowed. A balk was then called, giving the Tigers the rare balk off win.
Clemson 17 UNC 3- Game 2
This one was never really in doubt. UNC grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the 1st, but it was short lived, as the Tigers scored multiple runs in each of the first five innings.
The offense pounded out 20 hits off of UNC pitching, the most hits for a Tiger team since the 2016 series against Maine. Bryar Hawkins, Sam Hall, and Grayson Byrd each had 4 hits, the first time 3 different Tigers had 4 hits in the same game since 2003.
Mat Clark went 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. He struck out 5 and walked 1, improving to 3-0 on the season. Ryne Huggins and Bo Gobin would combine to pitch the final three innings.
UNC starter Tyler Baum lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, while falling to 3-1 on the season.
Clemson 5 UNC 4- Game 3
Clemson fell behind 1-0 in the 4th, before taking a 2-1 lead in the 5th on a Bryce Teodosio solo homerun and Logan Davidson RBI double.
UNC would tie it at 2 in the 6th on an Aaron Sabato solo shot to left. They would tack on 2 more in the 8th, leaving Tigers facing a 4-2 deficit headed to the bottom of the ninth.
After Chad Fairey struck out and Jordan Greene grounded out, Sam Hall ripped a two out double to left center, setting the stage for some Tiger heroics.
Logan Davidson came up and hit a no doubter to RF, giving the Tigers a 5-4 walkoff win and putting the finishing touches on a weekend sweep of the 3rd ranked Tarheels.
Keyshawn Askew went 5.1 innings, scattering 5 hits and allowing 2 runs (1 earned), while striking out 3 and walking 2. Holt Jones came on in relief and allowed a run on 3 hits in 1.2 IP. He also recorded a walk and a strikeout. Carson Spiers would go the final two innings to get the win, improving to 2-0. He did allow a run on 2 hits, struck out 2 and walked a batter.
Getting quality starts from all three starting pitchers, the Tigers bullpen came into the third game in great shape. Still, Jones nor Spiers looked to be quite as sharp today as they had been to date, but still managed to keep Clemson within striking distance, and on this day, that got the job done.
Clemson improves to 12-3 on the season and starts out ACC play a perfect 3-0. UNC drops to 12-4, and 0-3 in ACC play. Next up for the Tigers is Coastal Carolina, who will visit DKS Weds, with first pitch set for 6 pm.