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Clemson offense firing on all cylinders

Daniel Green, Contributor

After a rough start on opening weekend, Clemson baseball’s offense found some rhythm and made a huge impact this week. 

During the three-game series against William and Mary, the Tigers managed to score 14 runs on 16 hits and largely took advantage of the free passes William and Mary gave them. 

Against Furman on Tuesday, Head Coach Monte Lee tinkered with his lineup, keeping Patrick Cromwell as a starter and moving him to the three hole behind Seth Beer with Chris Williams behind him. That lineup scored 12 runs on 13 hits. Beer, Cromwell and Williams combined to be 7-12 with seven RBIs and one walk. 

“We felt like [Cromwell] could give us some good at-bats. We actually put him in the three hole tonight, put Seth in the two, and it worked out pretty well for us,” Lee said. 

Cromwell continued that trend into the weekend against Dallas Baptist, which came into the series ranked No. 10, according to Baseball America. 

In Friday’s game, Clemson’s three, four and five hitters went 9-12 with seven RBIs and two walks. The narrative of the game was Cromwell getting on base and Williams and Robert Jolly cleaning it up behind him. 

Jolly, who has played primarily as the designated-hitter, has also had a huge impact on the Tigers’ offensive production. He currently leads the team with a .500 batting average and had seven RBIs through the first seven games. 

Not to be outdone, senior outfielder Drew Wharton got his first hit of the season Friday, a solo homerun to left field. In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Wharton hit two more bombs, each of them for three runs, giving him a career-high six RBIs. 

When asked about Wharton’s development, Lee said, “He’s just getting an opportunity…he’s one of the hardest workers on our team.” 

“Hitting is contagious,” Lee said after the Tigers’ win over Furman on Tuesday. And it certainly has been for Clemson so far. 

Through the four games they played this week, the Tigers amassed 36 runs on 35 hits. Five starting players now have a batting average of over .300 and the team has an average of .286 with a .418 on-base percentage. 

One important note is the fact that the Tigers have done this with junior slugger Beer not being at his best offensively. Through the four games, he was 4-15 with three RBIs. He did hit a two-run homerun into the Cajun Café in the Tigers’ 3-2 win in the series finale against the Patriots, but he was quiet for most of the weekend. 

While the Tigers do rely on the long ball to boost their offense, they are also not afraid to play small ball. In the eighth inning of a tight 2-1 contest in the series finale, Cromwell bunted to move Beer and Logan Davidson into scoring position. 

That later paid off when Davidson came around to score on a sac-fly from Williams, giving Clemson a 3-1 lead. That run proved vital as the Patriots scored one run in the ninth which would have tied the game had it not been scored. Instead, Clemson was able to close out the game and sweep the series with a 3-2 win. 

“We feel very comfortable with pretty much anybody in our lineup if we need to get a bunt down that they can do it … it’s crucial, especially in low-scoring games,” Lee said. 

While Clemson’s pitching staff has been doing just fine, only allowing eight runs over the last four games, the offensive outburst has helped take some of the pressure off. 

Pitcher Brooks Crawford said, “You go out there and you have the lead, you start throwing more strikes, start throwing good pitches and start getting outs.”

Currently, Clemson is clicking in all phases of the game and are 7-0 to start the season. The Tigers take on Winthrop Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. They will then play in-state rival South Carolina in a home-home-neutral series March 2-4. 


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