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Tigers swept away by hurricanes: Clemson suffers first series loss against Miami

Ashley Stout, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson infielders take the field during a game at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The No. 17 Clemson Tigers played a hard fought series this past weekend against the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes. The Tigers ultimately lost, but showed they can still play competitively against the best in the nation. Only time will tell, but this series could potentially be a precursor to the ACC regional tournament coming later this year. 

Clate Schmidt got the start for the Tigers going 3.1 innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts. Schmidt had all the usual stuff working for him the first time through the order, but once the Hurricane hitters got a glimpse of him, they went to work racking up five hits and five runs in the fourth inning to take the lead 5-2. Pat Krall appeared in relief to finish the fourth inning, but the damage had been done. 

Clemson climbed their way back over the next few innings to take an 8-7 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out and a runner on second, Bostic threw a fastball off the plate that was crushed to left field to score the winning runs for the Canes. It was Bostic’s first loss as a closer this year. 

The Tiger hitters had a good day as Chase Pinder and Chris Okey both hit home runs, and the top four hitters combined for seven of the Tigers’ 10 hits. Defensively, the Tigers made four errors which almost put the game out of reach. 

Saturday was a tough loss to swallow for the Tigers. After scoring two runs in the first inning, on another Seth Beer home run, Miami scored once in every inning up to the fourth. Clemson tied the game in the sixth on a two-run homer by Chris Williams, his first of the year. Williams has struggled thus far in the season batting to a dismal .182 average without any walks at all. 

Tiger pitchers kept the Hurricanes quiet for six straight innings until the eleventh inning when the Hurricanes bunted over a runner to second to get into scoring position, a move which paid off when Edgar Michelangeli singled to right field to plate the winning run. 

Charlie Barnes was the starter for Clemson giving up four runs (two earned) in 3.2 innings on four hits and five walks, punching out five. Clemson relievers combined for six innings of four-hit ball against the heavy-hitting Miami Hurricanes, but it wasn’t enough. Alex Bostic picked up his second consecutive loss. 

Clemson hitting was stifled and scattered for most of the game as the home runs were the only time Clemson put together two consecutive hits at a time. Clemson also continued to struggle defensively as they committed three more errors to bring the weekend total up to seven over the weekend. 

Clemson continued the anemic defensive play on Sunday, providing little assistance to the pitching staff, and committing three more errors to bring the series total to 10. The game was well within reach for the Tigers going into the fifth inning. Clemson was losing 3-1 when Eubanks walked Zack Collins and Jacob Heyward (brother of current Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward). Johnny Ruiz then singled to add another run. Schnell came in to replace Eubanks and forced a fielder’s choice. 

With two outs, Peter Crocitto popped up to Reed Rohlman. Rohlman then dropped the ball and the inning extended long enough for the Hurricanes to score three more runs. That fifth inning ended up being too much for the Tigers to recover from. 

Pinder continues to impress as both a leadoff man and power bat, going 4-5 on the day with two solo home runs (eight for the season). Okey had a solo home run in the ninth to bring the score to 10-5. Beer also homered in the second inning bringing his total to 11, top in the ACC. He is also now only four home runs shy of the Clemson freshman record with the majority of the season still ahead of him. 

The key takeaways from this series are that, while the Tigers are a better team than they showed on the field, they are still very young and error-prone. Against the high-caliber teams in the ACC, the mistakes they have made all season cost them. The good news for the Tigers is that they never were out of any of the games they played and the offense was able to claw their way back every time the game seemed out of reach. 

For Monte Lee’s young team, this was a learning experience. 

The Tigers’ next game is against Furman on Tuesday, March 29 at Fluor Field. The starting time is scheduled for 7 p.m. 


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