After a rough weekend against South Carolina, the Clemson Tigers’ baseball team went back to work against the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers entered the weekend following a midweek, 3-1, win against the Furman Paladins at Fluor Field in Greenville.
“We needed to bounce back in a very positive way on the mound tonight,” head coach Monte Lee told the press following the game against Furman.
The Tar Heels entered the weekend on a four-game win streak in which they outscored opponents 40-15. The Tigers have been outscored 24-21 over their last four games.
The Tigers changed their weekend rotation for the series. Freshman utility player Davis Sharpe was moved to the Friday starter role, which became the game one starter role upon the delay of Friday’s game. Left-handed pitchers Mat Clark and Keyshawn Askew were added to the rotation in place of Brooks Crawford and Justin Wrobleski.
Sharpe gave up a home run in the top of the first to North Carolina shortstop Ike Freeman, giving the Tar Heels a one-run lead. Despite having at least one base runner in innings two through six, the Tigers were not able to put a run on the board until the seventh inning. First baseman Bryar Hawkins scored on a fielding error by the Tar Heels third basemen. Although this only brought the Tigers within one run, as the Tar Heels had scored in the top of the seventh inning.
In the ninth inning, the Tigers were able to get a base runner on first and second base with no outs when designated hitter Kier Meredith stepped up to the plate. Meredith hit a check-swing single up the middle to score a run and tie the game. With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Tar Heels pitcher Joey Lancellotti balked, causing the winning run to score and allowing the Tigers to take game one of the Saturday double header, 3-2.
The Tar Heels' luck would not get any better.
Despite the Tar Heels scoring in the top of the first inning, this game was all Tigers. Clemson scored runs in six-out-of-its-eight chances at bat and put up at least a pair in all but one of the innings in which they scored. Sixteen different players played in either the field or batting order for Clemson. The Tigers scored 17 runs on 20 hits which came from nine different players. The Tigers cruised to a 17-3 victory.
“We just attacked early and swung the bats very, very well. Got that momentum going and just couldn’t slow down. Big day from a bunch of guys,” Monte Lee said of game two.
The Tigers went into game three of the series looking for their second straight sweep of the Tar Heels.
Game three was a defensive battle until the fourth inning when North Carolina was able to plate a run to take a 1-0 lead. The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when Bryce Teodosio clobbered a home run in the left field bleachers. A second run would score when Logan Davidson hit an RBI double with Sam Hall on first base.
The Tigers lead would not last for long. In the top of the sixth inning, North Carolina designated hitter Aaron Sabato smashed a homerun into right field. The Tar Heels took the lead in the top of the eighth inning, when they scored two runs on three hits. The Tigers cut the lead to one in the bottom of the inning when Grayson Byrd scored on a wild pitch.
Junior right-handed pitcher Carson Spiers held the Tar Heels scoreless in the top of the ninth inning. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Sam Hall doubled into left-center field. This brought up star shortstop Logan Davidson. Davidson left no doubt when he hit the 2-2 pitch into the right field bleachers, scoring two runs and walking off the game for the Tigers. Carson Spiers picked up his first win of the season in the 5-4 win.
“It doesn’t get any better than that,” head coach Lee told the press following the game. “Logan [Davidson] gets to two strikes and does what big-time players do in big-time situations. He got a pitch to hit and it got just enough of the plate, and he turned on it and hit it out of the ball park.” Said Lee.
Lee continued, “Had a great crowd today. It was so much fun to be able to hear our crowd at the end of that win as excited as they were. They were just as excited as the players on the field. So that was a lot of fun; the crowd was big part of the win today.” Said Lee.
The Tigers next game is Wednesday, March 13 at home against Coastal Carolina. Next weekend, March 15-17, the Tigers host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their second conference series of the year.