Photo by © David Grooms/Clemson Sports Talk
Clemson Baseball

No Doubt: Clemson shows national audience what it's done all season with walk-off win

May 8, 2018
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CLEMSON -- Is it ever safe to count this Clemson team out?

Never.

Even when a defense that’s usually money in the bank coughed up four errors on national television, the Tigers did what they always seem to do: respond.

“I can’t even describe it,” Greene said after the game. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”

Every ounce of fight, grit, aggression, whichever word you want to use, was unleashed as Jordan Greene stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning with the game tied at four.

Greene swung at the first pitch he saw, tossed his bat in the air, and turned towards his own bench stone cold as he began to round the bases. His home run gave No. 5 Clemson the 5-4 win and a monumental series victory over Florida State that locked up a top-4 seed in the ACC Tournament.

“I can’t even describe it,” Greene said after the game. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”

From the outside, Clemson looked lifeless after it gave away a 2-run lead in the 4th and 5th inning. Three costly errors, two from catcher Kyle Wilkie, gave the Seminoles four runs and every ounce of momentum in Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

But inside the dugout, it was the same old baseball team that had won 12 one-run games before tonight. No one was rattled.

Clemson head coach Monte Lee corralled his team in the middle of the 6th inning just after the fourth fielding error of the evening. The message to his even-keeled team was simple: The Tigers were going to win this game and were the better team.

© David Grooms/Clemson Sports Talk
Clemson is 10-1 in their last eleven games as they close in on postseason play.

“If you look back at the mistakes that you’ve already made, it’s only going to cause you frustration,” Lee said. “If you dwell on it, you’re frustrated. Well, you can’t play the game of baseball frustrated. Bottom line. Nobody plays good baseball when they’re frustrated or ticked off… Dwelling on errors is extremely counterproductive for a baseball team. You got to be able to move on from it, and I thought our guys did a great job of not letting the one inning where we threw the ball around a little get to us.”

From there, the switch flipped and a Clemson team that looked a bit dazed in the field started to rally.

It began with the defensive side of the ball when Florida State loaded the bases with one out in the 7th looking to put the nail in Clemson’s coffin. But reliever Ryan Miller battled and struck out two consecutive batters to end the threat.

The snowball kept rolling as Wilkie responded to his errors with a 2-out hit that got Clemson’s offense rolling. On the next at-bat, Seth Beer was Seth Beer as he knocked his 14th home run of the season into the Chapman Grandstands.

Beer was 2-for-13 on the weekend until the at-bat, but that didn’t stop him from coming up with another clutch home run that just seems to be countless at this point in his career. Beer actually heard his father from the stands call out to him and tell him to call timeout at the plate.

“In three years that I’ve been with Seth, I’m running out of fingers to count the big home runs that he’s hit in big situations.”
- Monte Lee

Once he stepped out of the batter's box, he collected himself to a point where he felt like he was under water. Nothing around him could faze him. He was laser-focused, and once he crossed home plate, he got as excited as ever as he grabbed a sledgehammer and yelled with his teammates.

Even Lee couldn’t keep track of how huge Beer has been in those types of situations.

“In three years that I’ve been with Seth, I’m running out of fingers to count the big home runs that he’s hit in big situations,” Lee added.

The play of the game came in the top of the 9th inning after Lee made the switch to bring in Greene to pinch-hit and put freshman late-bloomer Sam Hall in left field. Hall played against Presbyterian a week ago and hasn’t come out of the lineup since because he’s been so impressive.

Hall made the play of his young career as he raced after a hard-hit ball headed toward the gap in left-center. Miraculously, he got to it just before it hit the wall and held on as his body slammed into the grass.

It was a pressure situation Hall had not been in before, but he let his instincts take over as he saved the lead run from scoring.

Then there’s Greene, the guy who always plays with a chip on his shoulder and looks to prove that he belongs in the game every chance he gets. On his first at-bat of the night in the 7th inning, Greene swung at the first pitch he saw, but it was a soft grounder to the pitcher.

He certainly made the most out of the next pitch he saw. Greene loves Jose Bautista and Manny Ramirez, so he finally got to be a part of a moment he’s always dreamed of as the ball sailed off his bat.

Greene donned an arm sleeve that had the words “Dream With Me” written in sharpie on the side. He was speechless, but the smile on his face covered in shaving cream never wavered.

“I don’t hit them like Seth and Logan (Davidson),” Greene admitted.

“That’s the biggest at-bat of the year for us up to this point,” Lee added.

© David Grooms/Clemson Sports Talk
Teammates prepare to shower Jordan Greene after his walk-off home run against Florida State Monday night.

It was a monumental ending to a weekend that saw everything between these two squads. Clemson just got to show a national audience what it has been doing all season long.

When the going got tough, and things looked bleak, confidence beamed from one dugout regardless of the circumstances. The characteristics of swagger, confidence, and belief can separate good teams from great teams.

It’s safe to say Clemson is one of those great teams as the Tigers move to 36-12, 19-8 in ACC play.

"You got to believe," Lee said. "Certain teams just believe at home in rubber matches against good teams that they’re gonna get it done."

"You got to believe," Lee said. "Certain teams just believe at home in rubber matches against good teams that they’re gonna get it done."

On a weekend that began with Florida State head coach Mike Martin becoming the all-time winningest coach in college baseball history, Lee’s squad showed the ability to bounce back in any type of situation, even when Hall’s back was literally against the wall.

Nothing bothers them. This roster is fearless. They have the belief they are going to win on any given night.

When you possess those three things alone, there's a pretty good chance you're going to be one heck of a baseball team.

“I think we always just have that feeling like we are going to win, especially in tight ball games at home,” Davidson said.

“We are a family. We do feel that way in the locker room, on the field, everywhere we are. We all respect each other, and we trust that we are going to get the job done.”

 
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