On Friday night the ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-1, in the first game of ACC play at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Starting pitcher, Charlie Barnes had another excellent performance on the mound to get the win and freshman Jacob Hennessy came in to shut Notre Dame down to earn the save.
After the game head coach Monte Lee, along with Barnes, Hennessy and first baseman, Andrew Cox, spoke to the media. Here is what we heard:
“Well we had great pitching tonight,” Lee said. “Charlie Barnes was really, really good again for us. Jacob Hennessy came in and did an outstanding job behind him. We made one error and it was a tough ball. The ball was hit pretty good. And only walked two batters and hit one. So our free passes were under five which is our goal every single game. And we struck out ten so pitching wise we were really, really good. Only used two guys.”
“Pitching wise right now we have one of the best pitching staffs in the country,” Lee continued. “We have a pitching staff that is under a three E.R.A. wise and had 130 strikeouts I believe coming into this game in twelve games.”
Barnes pitched 6 1/3 innings. He only allowed one run, four hits, two walks, and struck out seven batters.
“I’m excited to finally get the win I’ve been excited all season for,” Barnes said. “So just happy to come out and give my team another chance tonight and we did what we had to do offensively in a big game.”
Hennessy then took the mound with one out in the seventh inning. Pitching 2 2/3 innings, Hennessy allowed no hits, no runs, and struck out three.
“It feels really good to know they (the coaching staff) have that confidence in me and I was really just focusing on getting ahead in the counts,” Hennessy said after the game. “Using my fastballs, and once I get to that 0-1, I can start pitching and using my off speed a little more. So that was something that was really working for me today.”
Cox had a nice night at the plate for the Tigers with two hits and two RBI’s. After not originally starting in the lineup at the beginning of the season, Cox was asked after Friday’s game what it felt like to not only be back at first again but also about how he has been producing so consistently.
“I just try to come to the field every day with a good mind set, a positive outlook on things,” he said. “Work hard and give my team energy and support whether I’m in the lineup or in the dugout. You just always have to stay ready. Whenever your opportunity comes you have to cease it and so far I’ve been playing okay. I’ve been playing well and I’m in a good spot right now and just taking each day for what it is.”
Clemson and Notre Dame will face off in the second game of the series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday.