The 12th-ranked Clemson Tigers improved to 3-2 after they squeaked by Elon 1-0 in extra innings on Friday, thanks in large part to brilliant pitching performances by Charlie Barnes, Ryley Gilliam and Brooks Crawford.
All three pitchers combined for zero runs, eight hits and a Clemson record 23 strikeouts (all while not allowing any walks).
The Tigers (3-2) needed every last pitch to claim the victory, especially since the offense sputtered the entire game up until Seth Beer hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the thirteenth inning.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee was very impressed with his pitcher’s performances on Friday.
“That’s about as good as it gets…Barnes, Ryley Gilliam was really good again and Brooks Crawford – just an unbelievable job by our pitching staff,” said Lee.
Barnes, who logged 7.2 innings with only six hits given up to go along with a career high 11 strikeouts, said the pace of the game helped him get into a rhythm.
“The tempo was definitely really good,” he said. “I was trying to get the signs and get the next pitch out as quick as I could…we just kinda got on a role there.”
Gilliam filled in for 4.1 hard fought innings where he recorded six strikeouts and only allowed one hit. He said practicing his game endurance last fall helped him last as long as he did in Friday night’s game.
“The scrimmages in the fall definitely prepared me because I went longer – three innings typically,” said Gilliam. “I just was comfortable, I was in a rhythm and I was just more on my ability to get in the zone.”
Crawford finished it off and got the win, striking out the side in a quick inning. He said being a part of the record was something special, especially sharing it with Barnes and Gilliam.
“I feel like it’s just something you dream about but I’ve gotta give credit to these two right here – without them striking out all those guys during the game we wouldn’t have that record,” he said.
Catcher Robert Jolly had nothing, but praise for his pitchers after the game. He also had himself an impressive game catching three different pitchers over 13 innings and getting on base with a full count in the 13th inning.
“A good catcher is nothing without a good pitcher,” the junior said. “I’m there to make these guys look good and I didn’t have to do that much to make them look good tonight. They were pounding the zone – they were just awesome tonight.”
After that record-breaking and extended inning performance, Clemson fans will not be seeing Gilliam or Barnes for the rest of the series against Elon.
The Tigers look to extend their two-game winning streak on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for Game 2 against Elon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.