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Breaking Down Opening Weekend: Monte Lee Wins First Series as Tiger Head Coach

Jessica Johnson // Alumnus
Former Clemson infielder Weston Wilson (8) played at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from 2014-2016 before he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2016 MLB draft.

Game One 

Final Score: 3-4 Maine


The Tigers put up a rather lackluster offense on Friday. The first six hitters in the lineup only managed to get one hit, and struck out eight times. Eli White was able to steal a base after reaching on an error, and was then knocked in after Reed Rohlman smacked a double down the first base line. The only strong offensive force was Weston Wilson, who got two knocks while hitting in the seven spot. 


A costly error by third baseman Adam Renwick allowed a run to be scored, which put the Tigers in a tough spot as the game went on. Second baseman Weston Wilson really flashed the leather at second base, and made a couple of nice plays while saving at least one run. 


Charlie Barnes made the most of his opportunity, allowing just two earned runs in five-and-one-third innings pitched. He attacked the zone and mixed in his pitches nicely, keeping hitters off balance all day long, allowing only two or three hard hit balls. One thing that really stands from his performance is a strikeout-to-walk ratio of seven to one. If he can continue to throw the ball like that, he should definitely stay in the starting rotation.

Alex Eubanks was the lone reliever used Friday, entering the game in the middle of the sixth inning and pitching until the very end. Like Barnes, he really impressed in his three-and-two-thirds innings, allowing only one run, while striking out seven and not issuing any free passes.

Game Two

Final Score: 9-4 Clemson


The offensive effort was much improved in game two, as the team jumped to a 5-0 lead in the fourth and never looked back. As a team, the Tigers were much more patient at the plate, shown by their eight walks. On the whole they made much better contact than they did on Friday.

Eli White was a threat on the base paths once again, swiping three bags when all was said and done. Coach Lee was very complimentary of him, saying that he “did what Eli White has to do, which is get on base, steal bases and find ways to score runs.” Rohlman came through with another big RBI double, and seems to be a lock to hold down the third spot in the order. Seth Beer also collected his first career hit on a two RBI single in the third. 


The defense remained consistent from game one to game two, other than Reed Rohlman starting in left field over Drew Wharton. Rohlman made his presence known in the top of the first inning, making an impressive sliding catch into the fence out in left field. Chris Okey once again blocked everything behind the plate, and also  stopped a runner trying to steal second base in the fifth inning. 

Elsewhere in the infield, Eli White and Weston Wilson seem to be playing well together up the middle, and should by a dynamic double play combination all season long.


Clate Schmidt got the start on Saturday, and threw the ball pretty well. He attacked the zone, and looked real sharp early on. 

However, he seemed to tire after the fourth inning, which is a fairly common occurrence this early in the season. He ended the day with four earned runs in five innings of pitching, which should be enough to earn another start next weekend. 

Coach Lee had nothing but good things to say about Schmidt after the game, saying that it was “awesome to have my first win at Clemson with Clate Schmidt on the mound.”

Pat Krall was the first man out of the bullpen on Saturday, and he was absolutely dominant. He struck out six batters and only allowed one hit over his three-and-two-thirds innings of work, which should make him to go-to lefthander out of the bullpen going forwards. 

Ryley Gilliam got a chance to enter the game as well, though he only got the chance to face two batters. He allowed a base hit, but then got the Maine shortstop to strike out while looking to end the game. It is too early to tell what his role might be this season, but he looked good in his brief first outing. 

Game Three

Fianl Score: 19-2 Clemson


Clemson’s offense was simply explosive on Sunday-there’s no other way to put it. 

The lineup remained pretty consistent, and the Tigers seemed to find their comfort zone at the plate. Chase Pinder and Eli White were productive at the top of the order, collecting a couple hits apiece, including a two-run home run that Pinder deposited in the left field seats. The middle of the order truly stepped up to the plate as well. 

Chris Okey and Chris Williams both looked better at the plate, combining for four hits. Seth Beer swung the bat well again, and looks locked in at the plate. He collected two hits on the day, including a grand slam that he crushed over the fence in right-centerfield. Weston Wilson ended the day with three more hits, making him one of the best hitters on the squad thus far.

K.J. Bryant got the first start of his career after impressing throughout the fall and spring practices. He looked good at the plate, getting on base twice in three plate appearances. 

Maleeke Gibson, Glenn Batson and Andrew Cox were all great off the bench, with Batson and Cox both notching doubles and Gibson making solid

contact in both of his trips to the plate. 


K.J. Bryant made his presence known out in right field, showing off his arm as he threw out a runner attempting to score in the fifth. Okey threw out another would-be base stealer, and helped Higginbotham regain his composure when he was struggling in the

second inning.


Freshman Jake Higginbotham got the nod on Sunday, and made the most of his opportunity. He had a little trouble finding the zone at first, and it looked like he was trying to overthrow. He settled down as the game went on and did quite well, allowing only two earned runs in five innings. Overall, Higginbotham’s curveball was very impressive, and he showed good movement on his fastball. Higginbotham definitely earned the chance to start again next Saturday or Sunday against James Madison.

Coach Lee gave a couple different guys the chance to get some innings out of the bullpen on Sunday. Garrett Lovorn came in to pitch the sixth, and although he looked a little rusty, he got out of the inning unharmed. 

Freshman Brooks Crawford came in for the seventh, and held his own in his first taste of collegiate baseball. Paul Campbell entered in the eighth, and made quick work of the two batters he faced before Alex Schnell

came in to finish up the inning. 

Alex Bostic ran into a little trouble in the ninth, but successfully closed the

game out, locking up a series win for the Tigers.

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