On Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium the Clemson Tigers defeated the Elon Phoenix 1-0 in 13 innings on a bases loaded walk off base hit by sophomore, Seth Beer.
Clemson’s pitching dominated the game as Charlie Barnes, Ryley Gilliam and Brooks Crawford broke a school-record with 23 strikeouts in one game. The record prior to Friday was 21.
After the game, the three pitchers, along with head coach Monte Lee, Seth Beer and Robert Jolly, spoke to the media. Here is what we heard:
“What a crazy game. Extra innings on a Friday night,” Lee said. “It sure was a Friday night pitching staff performance. That’s about as good as it gets in 13 innings. We set a school record with 23 strikeouts tonight.
“But what’s even more impressive is no walks. We did not walk a batter and struck out 23. Just really, really impressive. Barnes and Ryley Gilliam was really good again and Brooks Crawford. Just an unbelievable job by our pitching staff.”
Barnes started on the mound Friday for the Tigers. He pitched exceptionally well going 7.2 innings, giving up six hits, no runs and striking out 11. When Barnes was asked what was working for him he responded, “Pretty much everything was going and I felt good out there.
“I really just tried to come in and pound the zone. My pitch count got a little high last week and I didn’t make it as deep as I wanted to. So my focus going into the week was to try to get hitters out as quickly as I could. And did a good job of that so really everything was working.”
From there Gilliam took to the mound throwing just as well. He went 4.1 innings, gave up one hit, no runs, and struck out nine. After the game Gilliam was asked how comfortable he felt going that deep.
“The scrimmages we had earlier in the spring and the fall, they definitely prepared me because I went longer,” Gilliam said. “I went three innings in those typically. I was just comfortable. I was in a rhythm. I think it was just more my ability to stay in the zone and I was just locked in.”
Brooks Crawford concluded the pitching domination going in for the 13th inning. He only gave up one hit and his three strikeouts broke the all-time Clemson record for most strikeouts in a game. He also got the win in Friday’s game and now has a season record of 2-0.
Crawford mentioned how he was very happy to be a part of something so special.
“I feel like it’s just something you dream about almost,” he said. “I mean I give credit to these two right here (Barnes and Gilliam). Without them striking out all those guys in the beginning of the game we wouldn’t have that record.”
Catcher, Robert Jolly spoke on behalf of his pitchers and really credited them for such outstanding performances.
“It was just unbelievable. A good catcher is nothing without a good pitcher,” said Jolly. “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 and they were awesome tonight.”
Finally, in the bottom of the 13th inning, with the bases loaded Beer hit the game-winner to center field that allowed Clemson to take the first game of a three-game series with Elon.
“In that moment being able to see that guy two times before or I guess in the second at-bat and being able to see all of his pitches was really key to that at bat,” Beer said. “Just kind of adjusting to what I had to make adjustments to the at-bat before and just keying on those things. Just sticking to a better approach and just trying to work up the middle. That’s exactly what I was trying to do. I was not trying to do too much.”
The second game of the series will be played today at 2:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.