CLEMSON – Clemson and Duke’s matinee matchup was every bit the pitcher’s duel billed – but only for a little over five innings – Daniel Gossett bettering his opposite number and carving his name in the school record books in the process.
Gossett was masterful in throwing Clemson’s first complete-game shutout since March of 2008 (Graham Stoneburner against N.C. State), allowing five hits with three strikeouts.
The sophomore right-hander had a perfect effort through 4 1/3, and set down eight-straight after that through seven innings in the 7-0 win.
“He worked fast,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “It gives yourself a chance to get into a rhythm in the outfield and infield. He’s a good pitcher for us. He’s a good Friday night man.”
Duke (11-11, 2-5 ACC) threatened history late with a single by right fielder Jeff Kremer, and later Kremer held-up at third with a chance to score on a two-out double. Gossett (3-1) proceeded to strand him with a flyout.
Gossett tosses complete-game shutout
First since 2008
The series of events didn’t go unnoticed postgame.
“I appreciate that one,” Gossett said with a wry smile. “I told (Clemson catcher) Kevin (Bradley) as soon as I shook his hand – ‘that run shoulda scored.’ I’m going have to shake (Kremer’s) hand real big when I see him.”
It was the longest outing of Gossett’s college career (previously 7 1/3 last season), and a first for the highly-regarded prospect at any level.
“This is the longest I’ve ever pitched in my entire life,” Gossett said, adding with emphasis, “and my body is tired.”
Duke sophomore southpaw Trent Swart had a few more heart-stopping moments for the Blue Devils’ dugout, but was effective early.
Swart scattered nine hits with three strikeouts through 5 1/3, but a combination of pesky Tiger bats and poor fielding got the best of him in the sixth.
A center fielder Thomas Brittle single kick-started the Clemson rally, and he scored later on a fielder’s choice RBI via third baseman Jay Baum – another run scoring on the play on a throwing error.
Right fielder Steven Duggar’s RBI single delivered the final blow for Swart’s day. He finished with three earned runs to his name, allowing 11 hits and five runs total. Swart had allowed 11 hits combined in road starts and Duke wins at both Miami and Florida this season.
The complete team effort, throwing zeros on the scoreboard in errors and opposing runs and the comfortable lead given only helped Gossett.
Clemson 7 Duke 0 wrap-up
“Defense was outstanding all night,” he said. “And then we put runs on the board, it’s easy to go out and pitch when you have an awesome defense behind you and you know you’re going to put up runs.”
Gossett’s full-game stint also helped when it comes to the rest of the series, which is set to conclude Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 12:30 p.m. Game three is slated for 4:30 p.m., or 45 minutes after the first.
“It was good for us,” Leggett said. “We didn’t need to go to anybody in the 5th-6th-7th innings and we have a lot of baseball in a 24-hour period.
“We’ll have everybody rested.”
Clemson (14-7, 4-3) broke a scoreless tie in the fourth on a two-out Brittle RBI single, and the two-out luck continued the next inning, sophomore catcher Garrett Boulware’s RBI single making it 2-0 Tigers.
Brittle went 4-for-4 with two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI. He recently moved from leadoff spot to down in the order, batting eighth Friday, and has 14 hits in his last 24 at-bats in the stretch. His coach will certainly take it.
“We did the same thing last year – moved him down and he started to hit. So we’re going to leave him there for a while,” Leggett said with a laugh.