The Clemson Tigers completed a sweep of the VMI Keydets last Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Due to weather, they played a double-header on Saturday and the series finale on Sunday. The Tigers took game one by a score of 8-6, game two 8-2 and game three 11-6. Davis Sharpe, Jordan Greene and the Clemson freshmen were big contributors all weekend.
Sharpe played the first game Saturday as a designated hitter and went 2-3 with one RBI and one run scored. One hour after the Tigers took game one of the series, Sharpe took the mound for game two and threw a gem of a game. He threw six innings, giving up one hit, no runs and striking out eleven Keydet hitters. Sharpe has shaped up as a key contributor at the plate and on the mound for the Tigers this season. While only being a freshman, this makes the future look very bright for Clemson Baseball.
Greene, a senior infielder, has proven himself as a clutch hitter for the Tigers early in the season. In the first game of the series, after going up 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Clemson gave up a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to bring the score back even. Greene stepped up to the plate with a runner on first and proceeded to hit a 3-2 fastball 363 feet to the left field bleachers to give the Tigers an 8-6 lead. In game three of the series, Greene once again came through at the plate: tied 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, he hit a single that brought in two runs that would give the Tigers a lead which they would not relinquish on the way to their 11-6 victory.
Monte Lee signed a top-ten recruiting class last year and the young players have lived up to the hype. Davis Sharpe let it be known that he is here to stay, but his counterparts have contributed as well. Adam Hackenberg, a freshman catcher, has started four games this season, throwing out two runners attempting to steal and also has hit two tape-measure home runs. Bryar Hawkins, a freshman infielder, got an at-bat late in game two and hit a three-run homer to deep right-center field. Another freshman contributor this weekend was Jackson Lindley, a right-handed pitcher. He pitched the last inning of game three and struck out two of the six batters he faced, only giving up one hit.
Clemson has not relied as heavily on the deep ball this season as compared to last year. The Tigers have shown the ability to string together hits and walks to score runs and not wait for a big home run to win the game. This will be key to continue to win games and compete in the ACC.
Clemson will face South Carolina next weekend for the annual “Reedy River Rivalry”. Game one will be played Friday, March 1st at 6:00 p.m. in Doug Kingsmore Stadium.