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Tigers win close game against Paladins

Ashley Stout, Asst. Photo Editor

After three tough losses on the road this past weekend, Clemson baseball met the Furman Paladins in Greenville on Tuesday night. The Tigers entered the contest with a 17-6 record and were looking to get back on track against the struggling pitching staff of the Paladins. The game ended up being a much closer contest than expected, with Furman giving Clemson all they could handle through nine innings.

Offensively, the Tigers struggled, only acquiring seven hits compared to Furman’s 13. Head Coach Monte Lee felt his team was very fortunate to walk out with a win. 

“I thought Furman outplayed us. We’ve got to get back to playing baseball where when we win, we beat the other team. We beat them because we out-execute them,” he said after the game.

 A large part of the lackluster offense was the fact that Seth Beer, the team leader in several categories, was not in the lineup due to a family emergency. With their main threat out of the picture, the rest of the Tigers needed to step up in a big way.

Through the first three innings, the Tigers had a single run on the board. In Furman’s half of the third inning, they scored four runs to take a 4-1 lead. Clemson came roaring back in the fourth, though, as K.J. Bryant hit a three-run homer, the first home run of his career.  

After that, the contest was give and take, with Furman once again claiming the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Clemson scored two runs in the sixth and then one run in each of the last three innings. The Tigers reclaimed the lead for good in the eighth inning when Reed Rohlman scored on a wild pitch. After Furman scored two runs in the sixth, taking a lead of 7-6, Pat Krall shut the Paladins out for the last three innings. 

As Krall was able to shut down the Paladins, the stadium came to life. Up until the seventh inning, the crowd was quiet except for a few grumbles over controversial calls. Once Krall took command of the game, Clemson fans, who stayed in large numbers despite the fact it was late on a Tuesday night, roared for their team. 

Rohlman had a big game for Clemson. He had two hits, one double and reached base safely four times. Eli White had an RBI single that tied the game in the seventh inning and executed a sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning that allowed Chase Pinder to advance to third and eventually score on a wild pitch later in the inning, giving Clemson an insurance run. 

The Tigers struggled again in the pitching game, as starter Jake Higginbotham only lasted through three innings and gave up four unearned run on five hits. He also walked three, while striking out five. Brooks Crawford entered in relief of Higginbotham and pitched 2.1 innings. Crawford gave up three runs (two earned) and walked one batter. As he has all season, Pat Krall kept the Tigers in the game and gave them a chance to win. He pitched 3.2 scoreless innings to earn the win and improve to a 2-0 record. 

Lee commented on the pitching situation, saying, “We have to get deeper starts.” He also talked about the lack of aggressiveness in pitching recently. 

“In the last few games, we’ve gotten away from being aggressive in the strike zone … From a pitching standpoint, get hit in the strike zone. Throw strikes. Force them to beat you by swinging the bat.”

The Tigers have a chance to show their coach that they took his message to heart this weekend when they return home to play Pittsburgh in a three-game series that kicks off Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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