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Tigers beat out Seminoles, hope to stay in ACC conversations

Head Coach Monte Lee is looking to take Clemson deep into the baseball postseason during his first year with the program. After an impressive start to the season, the Tigers have derailed a bit over the last month, losing three consecutive conference series, including getting swept by the Louisville Cardinals in April.
With a less than impressive 9-12 conference record, the Tigers were at risk of being eliminated from ACC Tournament conversations. With only the top 10 ACC teams getting an invitation to Durham at the end of May, it was obvious Clemson had to turn things around quickly if they were going to put themselves in a position to make the tournament and potentially host an NCAA regional.
The Florida State Seminoles came to town for a three game series and everyone knew it was a must win situation for the Tigers.
Things got off to a great start for them in the first game as they pummeled Florida State 10-3. The large victory was the result of an all-around excellent performance in all phases of the game. Starting pitcher Charlie Barnes pitched 4.1 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out three Seminoles. Alex Eubanks and Brooks Crawford each pitched a little over 2.0 innings a piece and did not give up another run, thanks in large part to three double plays turned by the Tigers. While they still committed two errors, the Tiger defense held strong against a potent Florida State offense and helped their pitchers out of tight situations.
As for the offense, it struggled a bit earlier in the game but got going in the fourth. Weston Wilson and Chris Okey had an excellent outing, combining for nine runs batted in (RBIs) and they each had a three-run homer in the game, leading Clemson to the victory in the series opener.
With the chance to claim the series win on Sunday, Lee’s squad struggled. As it had for the last several games, the starting pitching was ineffective. Clate Schmidt pitched 3.2 innings and gave up five runs, three earned, while striking out one batter. Alex Bostic came in to close out the fourth inning and returned for the fifth. In his 1.1 innings pitched, he gave up four runs, three earned, and walked three. Ryley Gilliam, Mike Goren, Paul Campbell and Andrew Papp all made appearances as well, giving up one additional run between them.
The Tiger’s defense was lackluster to say the least, not giving the pitchers much help. While only two errors appeared on the score sheet, several plays that could have helped were not made. The offense was held to only seven hits and two runs, leading to an 11-2 routing to tie the series up at 1-1 and set the stage for a must win rubber match on Monday.
With the series, and the chance for making the ACC Tournament, on the line, Clemson took the field for a final time against the Seminoles.
It seemed as if the Tigers were in trouble early, as starting pitcher Alex Schnell gave up three runs, two earned, in 2.0 innings pitched. However, Lee wasted no more time before bringing in ace pitcher Pat Krall. Krall came into the game with a sub-one earned run average (ERA) and was facing what would become his longest outing of the season. But after a slightly shaky start where a wild pitch brought in a Florida State runner, Krall shut down the Seminoles. In 7.0 innings pitched, he allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out eight.
With Krall on the mound, the Clemson offense had a chance to come back and then build a lead. Everyone in the starting lineup had a quality at-bat in the game. Freshman phenom Seth Beer showed why he is one of the top players in the country, going 2-3 with three RBIs and two walks. Even with Florida State not pitching to him, he was able to find a way to get himself on base and help his team. Overall, Clemson scored seven runs on 12 hits and held Florida State scoreless for more than six innings to claim a 7-3 victory and a series win.
 “What a great win and one, as you all know, we desperately needed,” Lee said after the series finale on Monday. It was no secret that this series had huge implications for the Tigers’ postseason hopes. With only two more conference series on the schedule, NC State and Notre Dame, the Tigers have to stay locked in if they hope to have a chance to compete for an ACC title and receive a bid for the NCAA tournament later in the summer. Clemson takes a break from conference play to take on a red-hot Furman team Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. 

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