For the first 22 innings in Pittsburgh, Clemson’s pitching staff couldn’t have been more dominant.
Two runs allowed and 21 consecutive scoreless innings thrown to almost midway through game three Sunday afternoon.
Walks can be contagious, however, and 12 of them (and four hit batters) were instrumental to the Panthers staving off the sweep in a 13-4 win.
Pittsburgh (17-22, 9-12 ACC) snapped an eight-game losing streak. The Tigers (24-15, 12-8) missed an opportunity to sweep their first road series since April 7, 2013 (at Boston College).
Clemson took the early lead after a Tyler Krieger leadoff double in the third inning – coming home on catcher Chris Okey’s RBI grounder.
The No. 22 Tigers managed to strand six runners in the first five innings as well, leaving the door ajar to a Pitt rally.
After cruising early, Clemson junior righty Jake Long lost the strike-zone in the bottom of the fifth.
A Panther in scoring position for just the third time all game, Long issued his first walk of the frame and Pitt left fielder Boo Vasquez broke the long scoreless streak with a two-run double down the right field line. After recording his fifth strikeout, Long matched that total in walks to load the bases and walked a third-straight batter for Clemson to trail by two runs.
After Jack Leggett came to get the ball, junior reliever Clay Bates gave up another run-scoring free pass.
Scoring to start the inning, second baseman Matt Johnson knocked through a two-run single to complete the six-run frame.
Long (2-2) gave up six earned on three hits and six walks. For the Anderson native, it was a troubling trend continued – only two walks in his first three starts and 15 innings and 23 base on balls in his last seven appearances and 25 2/3 innings.
Okey answered with a solo shot to left field in the top of the sixth, but the Tigers left a third runner on in scoring position. The freshman has a team-best 36 RBI (top-five in the ACC).
The Panthers’ onslaught picked back up in the bottom half with the first four reaching base, extending their lead to 8-2.
In the seventh, they added five more runs on four hits and three walks.
Pitt, which came into the weekend last in the ACC in runs (33 from the nearest team too), had scored two runs or less in nine of their last 10 games. They posted six runs or more in just 11 of their first 38 games.
Pitt's Vasquez, going 3-for-6 at the plate, and Johnson, 2-for-4, each had three RBI.
Pittsburgh senior right-hander Matt Wotherspoon (4-5) scattered eight hits over 5 1/3 innings for the win.
Krieger was substituted out for an apparent injury after his second double of the game in the fifth. He was 10-for-17 with three doubles in the Tigers’ 3-1 week.
Clemson plays the first in a five-game week on Tuesday (6:30 p.m.) in a rematch with Liberty, which beat the Tigers twice to end their season in Columbia last year.