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Tigers open 2024 season with dominant win over Xavier

Toby Corriston
Despite an eventful first inning, Clemson pitcher Billy Barlow (30) earned the win on Friday afternoon in the Tigers’ Opening Day win over Xavier at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The No. 10-ranked Clemson baseball team kicked off its 2024 season on Friday with a commanding victory over Xavier, defeating the Musketeers 14-3 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

It was a slow start for the Tigers on defense, as Xavier loaded the bases with no outs to start the first inning. The Musketeers were able to score two runs as a result but did not score again until the ninth inning.

Clemson’s offense responded in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with the first three batters. Right fielder Alden Mathes, a graduate transfer from Richmond, cleared the bases with a grand slam to record his first hit as a Tiger. Clemson scored three more runs courtesy of a three-run RBI double from center fielder Cam Cannarella to end the inning with a 7-2 lead.

The Tigers commanded the rest of the game on offense, hitting two more home runs in the third and fourth innings, including another grand slam from freshman third baseman Nolan Nawrocki. In total, Clemson earned 14 hits as five players earned their first hits as Tigers, as well as two freshmen earning their first career hits.

“The first inning could not have gone any better,” Clemson head coach Erik Bakich said. “We had the adversity, and then we had to come out and respond.”

On the defensive side for the Tigers, their early woes were nonexistent after the first inning. Billy Barlow started the game on the mound and pitched 5.0 innings, giving up just three hits and two unearned runs.

Clemson will look to continue its hot start as the Tigers face Xavier again on Saturday at 2 p.m. for game two of the three-game series.

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Toby Corriston, Asst. Photo Editor
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