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Tigers Destroy Dukes

Rachel Rosstedt, staff

Sophomore outfielder Chase Pinder (5) steps up to the plate to bat against James Madison.

Clemson had a great game overall last Friday. Pitching was stellar and the hitting was impressive. 

Chris Okey got the game going with a solo homerun to straightaway center in the second inning, putting the Tigers up 1-0. The Tigers gained another run in the fourth following a strange turn of events. 

First, Seth Beer smacked a double down the right-field line. Then, after a groundout by Chris Williams, Weston Wilson walked. Two pitches later, a balk put Beer at third and Wilson on second. After a flyout by Adam Renwick, a wild pitch brought Beer home. 

Chase Pinder continued his hot streak with a mammoth solo homer to left in the fifth inning. He hit another home run in the sixth inning to become the first Clemson player to hit three home runs in four games since 2008. That home run put Pinder at four runs batted in (RBI) for the game and a cumulative batting average of .313 for the year. 

The Tigers’ pitching kept the Dukes in check. Charlie Barnes had a no-hitter going through the fifth. A couple of walks and errors were the only baserunners James Madison had until the sixth inning when they strung together a couple of weakly hit groundballs that manifested into a run. 

A throwing error put a runner in scoring position who was brought home on a fielder’s choice. Barnes finished his game with six innings pitched, surrendering only two hits and one earned run. Barnes’s earned run average (ERA) is a sterling 2.38 through 11.1 innings pitched. He is also the proud owner of a great 7:2 strikeouts-to-walks ratio over his two starts. 

     On Saturday, the game was over by the second inning. The Tigers put on a clinic, getting five runs off of a mix of hits, errors and walks. 

Wilson singled to lead off the inning, then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Pinder, White, Rohlman and Okey singled consecutively, with one out, to score five total runs before Beer hit a fly ball out to deep center field and Williams struck out. 

The Tigers weren’t done yet, and Chris Okey hit a towering three-run home run into the Chapman Grandstands in the fourth inning to put the Tigers up by nine. Clemson would get two more in the eighth for extra insurance. 

Easily the best outing of Clate Schmidt’s career, the senior held the Dukes to just three hits and three walks through seven innings pitched. 

After two innings, Schmidt had only thrown 12 pitches being very efficient and throwing off-speed pitches in the strike zone to induce weak contact. Schmidt’s ERA dropped to 3.00 following the masterful performance. After Schmidt exited, Alex Schnell and Andrew Papp each took the mound for an inning. Schnell gave up one hit and no runs. Papp, however, gave up his first career earned run on a couple of well-placed singles and a balk. 

The Tigers’ bats could not be quieted as they outscored the Dukes 11-2 on Sunday. Beer had a career day, reaching base in all four of his at-bats and hitting his second career home run to the opposite field in left. He would finish three for three with three RBIs and a walk. 

Wilson, Rohlman, White and Okey kept their hot streaks going too, getting eight hits and six RBIs combined. Wilson maintained his .500 batting average and Seth Beer increased his to .400. Most of the starters were pulled early on in the game to give them some much needed rest. Mike Triller, K.J. Bryant, Robert Jolly, Andrew Cox and Glenn Batson all saw the field for multiple innings as the Tigers closed out their series with James Madison. 

Jake Higginbotham got the start again for the Tigers on Sunday, giving up two earned runs on five hits and making three walks in just 3.1 innings pitched. His three strikeouts were all on breaking pitches outside of the zone, but the freshman seemed to struggle getting weak contact inside the strike zone. Higginbotham also threw two wild pitches to cap off a shaky second start. Clemson’s remaining bullpen pitched dazzlingly, giving up a combined three hits for the remaining 5.2 innings. 

The Clemson Tigers swept the James Madison Dukes increasing their winning streak to five and setting them up for a good start to the 2016 season. 

The Tigers’ next game is against Wofford, at home, on Tuesday, March 1, at 4 p.m. 

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