Monte Lee’s Tigers picked a bad time to suffer its first losing streak of the season. Sitting just one game back of NC State going into the weekend and with the Pack hosting Louisville, the Tigers were hoping to take advantage of a slumping Florida State team and make up some ground, if the Cardinals could give them some help. Louisville did just that as they swept NCST, and ironically with a little help from Clemson, took over possession of first place in the Atlantic for themselves.
Turns out, a slumping FSU team is not what awaited Clemson this weekend. Instead it was a sleeping giant. The Seminoles swept the Tigers, looking much more like the team that was projected as a top 15 team in the preseason instead of the team who had lost 8 of their last 11. The Tigers on the other hand looked very much like a team with a roster full of underclassmen, showing signs of the typical inconsistencies young teams tend to do.
Outside of the Seminole hitters teeing off on the pitching, timely hitting and plate discipline were the biggest culprits this weekend. Nineteen strikeouts in one game is a little much. You don’t always take the same approach with two strikes as you do with no strikes but this team seems to do that quite often.
This was a golden opportunity to to take control of the division. Instead, you are not only looking up at NCST in the standings, you also find yourself two games back of first place Louisville. If you are the eternal optimist, take solace in the fact that there wasn’t much of an RPI hit, as the team dropped only 8 spots to #24.
Game One- FSU 6 Clemson 2
FSU starter Drew Parrish threw 8 scoreless innings, allowing just 3 hits while striking out 12. After getting out of a first inning jam he went on to retire the next 18 straight, as Clemson never seemed in this one after the Noles got to Davis Sharpe for 4 runs in the 3rd.
Sharpe did not have a bad outing, but did have one bad inning. He went 6 innings, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits and dropped to 5-2 with the loss. He did uncharacteristically walk 3, and hit 2 more batters, upping his HBP season total to 9 in 52.1 IP.
Game 2- FSU 16 Clemson 2
Sam Hall led off the game with his 4th homerun of the season but that was about all that went right in this one. FSU scored 5 runs in the 4th and never looked back, as they added 3 more in the 5th, 4 more in the 6th, 1 in the 7th, and finished it off with 3 more in the 8th.
Mat Clark seemed to be cruising right along until giving up back to back solo homeruns in the 4th putting FSU in front 2-1, and that is when the wheels came completely off. He walked the next two before giving up an RBI single and would then give way to Holt Jones, who would fare no better. Jones was touched up for 6 runs in just 2 innings of work. He allowed 3 hits and walked one, while striking out 1 as well.
Mat Clark suffered his first loss of the season, dropping to 7-1. Seminole hitters hit 4 long balls in this one, 2 coming from JC Flowers.
Game 3- FSU 6 Clemson 4
Clemson jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second but FSU came roaring back in the bottom half of the inning, pushing 4 across, highlighted by a Drew Mendoza 2 run shot off of Brooks Crawford. The homerun was the eighth long ball surrendered this season by the senior pitcher.
Keyshawn Askew got the start, but could not record an out in the second inning. The young freshman struggled with his control, issuing 4 walks and one hit, while being charged with 2 earned runs. Crawford relieved him in the 2nd, going 3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, along with 3 walks while picking up the loss (1-3).
Conor Grady picked up the win (6-3) in relief for FSU, striking out 11 of the 18 batters he faced. In all, three Seminole pitchers combined to strike out 19 batters.
Clemson drops to 25-11 overall and 11-7 in ACC play. FSU improves to 22-13 and 10-8 in the ACC, just one game back of third place Clemson.
Next up for the Tigers is Georgia, as they head down to Athens Tuesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7 pm. It's the second of a two game season series vs the Dawgs, as the Tigers look to avenge a 5-3 loss in the first game, and break a 3 game losing streak overall to the Bulldogs.