One series down, one to go for the Tigers this week at Doug Kingsmore Stadium after completing the two-game sweep of Morehead State with a 5-2 win.
Out of conference, Clemson (13-7) improved to 10-4 with a fourth midweek win in a row. Tigers coach Jack Leggett says that’s been no small task.
“Every game’s tough for us, there’s nothing been easy,” Leggett said. “They’re all just as important, every single game. (The win is) important now for the weekend.”
Entering the game hitting below .200, first baseman Jon McGibbon led the Tiger bats, knocking in three runs on two hits.
The junior co-captain broke through in the fifth inning with an RBI single to break a 2-2 tie then added insurance in the eighth with two more on a basehit.
“It was good to finally get some pitches to hit,” McGibbon said, “and put them in play, so it feels good.”
And as he hits his stride, McGibbon feels like the rest of the team is as well with the bulk of schedule left.
“We’re playing aggressive – hitting the ball hard," he said. "We’re playing good defense.
“We’re right where we need to be.”
Clemson pitching worked into bases loaded jams back-to-back in the fourth and fifth innings, but escaped with only a run allowed, falling behind 2-1 in the fifth frame on a RBI single by Morehead State catcher Chris Robinson.
Robinson led the Eagles (7-14), going 3-for-4 with a double.
Tigers long reliever Jonathan Meyer stranded a runner in scoring position in three of his four innings of work to earn the win (1-0). The senior scattered six hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
With a first-inning single, Tiger catcher and T.L. Hanna product Garrett Boulware brought home a 14th RBI in the last nine games. In that same span, he is hitting .400 (14-of-35), leading Clemson overall in the category (.365).
Clemson tied it up in the fifth – shortstop Tyler Krieger lining a double to left center and later scoring on a throwing error by Eagles starter Matt Anderson.
Anderson took the loss (0-3), giving up two earned runs and three total on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Clemson freshman starter Brody Koerner (0-0) allowed a lone earned run in his first career start, going 4 2/3 innings with four hits allowed and three strikeouts. It was the right-hander’s longest career outing in his fourth appearance of the season.
“He competed for us,” Leggett said. “That’s all I ask for.”
Lefty freshman reliever Zack Erwin shut the door in the ninth for his first career save. Erwin has allowed one earned run in 11 innings pitched this season.
Clemson stays home for three more this weekend with conference foe Duke, who were swept at home by Virginia Tech over the weekend after opening up with a series win at Miami.
Leggett says there’s still more to do for his young team.
“We still have some cylinders to work on,” he said. “I think we’ll get better as time goes on.”