GREENVILLE — The only thing pressing about Wednesday’s game against Michigan State was where Clemson leftfielder Seth Beer was going to hit the baseball when he came up to bat with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning at Greenville’s Fluor Field.
Everyone in the stadium knew if Spartans’ pitcher Keegan Baar made a mistake it was not a question of if Beer would hit a home run, but rather where it might go and what zip code it would land in. With the count full, Baar made that mistake with a fastball inside which the Clemson hitter turned on and sent out of the ballpark for a grand slam.
Beer’s home run gave the ninth-ranked Tigers a seven-run lead at the time as they cruised to a 9-2 victory in front of 3,176 fans at Fluor Field. It marked the third straight game in which he hit a home run.
“His fastball had some depth to it so you have to play that into it,” Beer said. “I just tried to hit some where it was pitched and tried not to do so much in that kind of situation. We were swinging the bats and getting on base really well so I felt like I had no pressure on me. The team has been feeling it a little bit with the bats and that’s been a good thing so I just stepped in there and tried to do my job and get a guy in.”
Last Saturday, against rival South Carolina, Beer launched a similar home run on the Gamecocks. However, that was just a two-run shot that probably landed somewhere in Spartanburg when it finally came down.
Beer also had a solo home run in Sunday’s win over USC in Columbia. That one also came on a full count with two outs.
“He is locked in right now,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “It seems like the bigger the situation, the better he hits.”
On Wednesday, the Tigers (9-3) loaded the bases when Spartan pitching walked three straight batters—Jordan Greene, Patrick Cromwell and Logan Davidson—and then hit Reed Rohlman to score one run. Beer then crushed Baar’s 3-2 offering to right field to extend the lead to 8-1.
“I was sitting down and I got to see the ball go down the right field line and he hooked it pretty good and actually hit it on a line,” Lee said. “I think it is just him and his confidence right now and what he does at the plate in those big moments because he does not get a lot of them. He doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to come up there and hit with a lot of guys on base, but when he does, he sure does do some damage.”
Clemson took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second when Chris Williams ripped a double down the third base line to score Chase Pinder and Weston Jackson for the first two runs. Pinder opened the inning with a base hit and then moved to second on an infield single to third by Weston Jackson which set up Williams’ two-run double.
The Tigers increased their lead to 3-0 moments later after Andrew Cox bunted Williams to third and reached on an error, allowing the junior to score when Jordan Greene hit into a double play.
Pitcher Tyler Jackson earned the win for Clemson, his second straight. The righty went six and 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. He struck out nine batters and did not issue a walk.
Williams finished the night with two hits to go with his two RBIs. Weston Jackson also had two hits and scored a run.
The Tigers will host Notre Dame to open up ACC play on Friday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.