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Clemson Baseball

Clemson holds off a William & Mary rally to take its opening series

February 17, 2018

CLEMSON -- Friday night, Clemson had to come from behind in dramatic fashion to beat William & Mary in its season opener.

Saturday afternoon, the Tigers had to hold off a late Tribe comeback in the final two innings.

Clemson baseball took game two of its series against William & Mary 7-6 thanks to some late insurance runs and relief pitching from Spencer Strider and Carson Spiers.

The Tigers were up 7-3 before the Tribe put together three runs of their own in the eighth inning thanks to Clemson’s first walk of the season and a few hit batters. Spiers came in and closed the game for the Tigers with five consecutive outs once the game got close.

“It was a tough ballgame. Definitely, a stressful ballgame,” head coach Monte Lee said after the win. “Just because of William & Mary and you got to give them credit on the offensive end. They take advantage of mistakes.”

Patrick Cromwell broke a 3-3 tie on a bloop single in the bottom of the 6th with the bases loaded to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead. A couple walks with the bases loaded and a wild pitch gave Clemson the seven runs it needed to hold off the Tribe.

Seth Beer also hit his first home run of the season to get Clemson’s bats going.

Cromwell’s hit in the 6th inning wasn’t the only time he came up big for the Tigers. The third baseman in his first start of the season hit a double in the bottom of the fourth to give Clemson a 3-2 lead. Cromwell finished the day as Clemson’s offensive player of the game, going 2-for-3 with three crucial RBIs.

Strider stepped on the mound in relief with a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth but gave up two consecutive hits to a pesky William & Mary squad. He settled in and struck out seven of nine batters until he ran out of gas in the eighth inning when Clemson grabbed a 7-3 lead.

Strider gave up Clemson’s first walk of the season and hit two batters to load the bases with no outs. After another wild pitch which scored a run, Strider’s day was finished.

Spiers came into the game after a 2-RBI single brought the Tribe within one. The sophomore closed the game out with five consecutive outs, two of them strikeouts.

Clemson’s pitching staff struck out 14 batters this afternoon. After just two games this season, the Tigers have a 29-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“We feel like we are one of the best bullpens in the country,” Spiers said.

Clemson’s offense was able to take advantage of the free pass itself. The Tigers only had six hits, but nine walks and one hit-by-pitch gave them the chances to score when they needed to.

Lee wasn’t happy with the way his team hit when runners were on base with a chance to score. He wanted them to be more aggressive after the Tribe gifted them with so many runners. The Tigers left eight runners on base.

“We swung the bat fairly well. I think we need to be more aggressive with runners in scoring position,” Lee said. “It feels like we are trying to hunt the perfect pitch when you just got to use all three strikes, swing the bat and be aggressive.”

Clemson has won the series but goes for the sweep against William & Mary Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM.

“It’s no secret we don’t really play well on Opening Weekend so getting that sweep would be big-time coming into next week,” Cromwell said.

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