CLEMSON — Tigers junior right-hander Daniel Gossett has had his share of bad luck this season.
Clemson has had its share of bad luck with FSU two-sport star Jameis Winston on the other side.
Four-plus innings into the Friday night series opener, both trends appeared to be on that ominous track.
Down 3-0 through four frames, the No. 2 Seminoles inserted Winston in left field — he of four touchdowns and 446 yards in reigning national champion Florida State’s win in Death Valley last year. He was also a member of a FSU baseball team that won their first series over Clemson since 2009 last year as well.
Clemson 9, FSU 3
More known for his role in relief in 2014, Winston — batting .188 in 17 plate appearances previously — knocked through an RBI single to cut into the Clemson lead.
Laboring, Gossett recovered for a pair of strikeouts — and on pitch 21 of the inning, FSU shortstop Justin Gonzalez popped weakly to short to end the threat with two on.
Clemson’s first two went down in order in the sixth. Center fielder Tyler Slaton lined a double to left. Then shortstop Tyler Krieger brought him in on a double to left as well.
Three more two-out hits later — Clemson had a commanding 6-1 lead that was more than enough for the Tigers’ ace to hold in a 9-3 series-opening win.
“We just kept following (Slaton) with good at-bat after good at-bat,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “We were able to put three runs on the board and those were three big runs.”
“We got a little momentum early offensively. I thought we had a really good night offensively. We played great defense. The combination of those three things can help you play against a good team.”
For a sixth consecutive start this year, Gossett was given an early lead — 3-0 after three frames. He had also suffered four no-decisions — leaving eligible for the win in three of them.
Making his second appearance off a knee injury, senior first baseman Shane Kennedy lined his first RBI of the season off FSU righty ace Luke Weaver in the second inning.
Junior Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware powered out his second homer of the season to center field to make it 3-0 after three.
After the fifth-inning rally, Gossett stranded another pair of Seminoles — getting Winston out this time on a weak grounder in front of Boulware. He retired five-straight FSU batters to finish with 7 1/3 innings and 124 pitches.
“He was not up there not pressing,” Boulware said. “Just doing what he knows what to do. When we can let him just work, you saw him tonight. He was throwing awesome and you can’t work better. He helped us out a lot. He let us have the same rhythm because he was working quick.”
Gossett (2-0) struck out eight total with four hits and four walks allowed — and given the opponent and his fate of late, the Byrnes product says he hasn’t pitched much better in three seasons as a Tiger.
“I had one of the best — if not the best game in my career against the best team in the nation,” said Gossett. “I knew they were going to be swinging the bats and they’re a great hitting ball team. I knew their pitcher would be great so I figured I would at least match it. I just had everything rolling tonight.”
The ACC’s reigning pitcher of the week, the FSU right-hander Weaver (4-2) gave up a season-high six earned runs on 11 hits.
After a midweek loss to rival Florida, the Seminoles (17-4, 5-2 ACC) suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season.
Boulware scored twice and knocked in two runs going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Krieger went 2-for-4 as well with three RBIs.
“Mentally it helps give us our confidence,” Boulware said. “We were certainly struggling against Georgia Southern. Coming out here and getting this win is awesome. We’ve been struggling and we need this momentum. And we need to get (more) tomorrow.”
The Tigers (14-7, 6-1 ACC) will go for the win and sweep in a doubleheader today that starts with game two at 2 p.m. and game three at 3 p.m. Tickets for Sunday’s game will be honored in the early matchup.
Clemson has won three of the last four series against Florida State.