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What We Heard: Clemson 11, Western Carolina 5

On Wednesday the Clemson Tigers trailed Western Carolina by four runs going into the bottom of the seventh inning before rallying to score five runs off of a two-run RBI single from Chase Pinder and then a three-run home run from Weston Jackson.

Then Tigers then put five more on the board in the bottom of the eighth to secure an 11-5 victory over the Catamounts at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Head coach Monte Lee spoke after the game and although he mentioned it was not the prettiest win, there were some positives he took away from the game. Here is what we heard:

“Well it wasn’t pretty, but one thing’s for sure it was good to see our guys pick up some two-out hits with runners in scoring position,” Lee said. “It kind of started, and I gave Reed Rohlman credit in the third inning, he finally had a two-out single RBI to get us on the board.”

Rohlman’s RBI single up the middle scored Robert Jolly from second base.

“And then in the seventh inning we had the bloop hit from Pinder which gave Weston Jackson an opportunity to step up big and hit the three-run homer in the seventh inning. And then in the eighth inning Pinder delivered another blow with a double and two RBIs and then Grayson Byrd with a two-out double (cleared the bases),” Lee said.

Pinder was fully back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game after battling an illness that left him completely out of the lineup on Opening Day and as the designated hitter for this past Saturday and Sunday’s games against Wright State.

“It feels good. I’m not one to DH,” Pinder said. “I like being in the game and keeping up with the flow of the game. It makes me play much better so it feels good.”

Pinder went 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s game with 4 RBIs. Transfer graduate student, Weston Jackson also played a vital part in the Tigers’ seventh inning rally when he belted a three-run home run into the grand stands in left field, allowing Clemson to take a  6-5 lead.

“Yesterday all of practice we worked on being on time to the fastball,” Jackson said. “And going back to my at-bat before that I had a 3-1 count and I check swing. And that’s a big no-no with Coach Lee so in that at-bat I had 3-1 and I was just like, ‘I’m not going to get beat on this fastball. I’m going to be on time.’ And he threw me one up in the zone where I could do some damage with it.”

Clemson’s bullpen also assisted in the victory with Jacob Hennessy, Brooks Crawford and Ryley Gilliam making mound appearances after starting pitching, Tyler Jackson was taken out in the third inning.

“Also thought our pitching staff, you know we struggled. Tyler struggled,” Lee said. “He was just up. Everything was up in the zone and Western Carolina’s a really good hitting team. But Jacob Hennessy gave us a chance. A true freshman threw the ball exceptionally well. Probably burned him for the weekend, but we’ll worry about the weekend when we get there.

“We needed to find a way to stay in this ballgame and give ourselves a chance to win. And Jacob did that. He gave us a chance to win this game and Brooks Crawford and Ryley Gilliam were very, very good at the end of the game. So our bullpen threw the ball very, very well.”

Clemson will host Elon in a three-game series this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Game 1 of the series on Friday starts at 4 p.m.

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