Generally, pitching in temperatures that are in the upper 30s and lower 40s can hurt a pitcher’s production. However, that was not the case for Clemson pitcher Alex Eubanks on Sunday.
For the second time in three weeks the righty shut out an opponent. This time it was ACC foe Notre Dame as the ninth-ranked Tigers’ completed a three-game sweep of the Irish with a 4-0 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“Once I get out there, it was not too bad,” Eubanks said afterwards. “I feel like my ball runs a little bit more when it is cold and I feel like that kind of helped me today.”
Using his fastball, Eubanks held the Irish to four hits in seven innings of work. He also had seven strikeouts and walked just two batters.
“He threw the ball very well today and he had command. He had really good stuff,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
Since losing his first outing of the season to Wright State, in which he gave up five earned runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings of work, Eubanks has been sensational.
In his next start against Elon, he gave up just three hits in seven scoreless innings, while also striking out seven batters to just one walk. And though he did not have his best stuff against then No. 4 South Carolina in Columbia, he kept the Gamecocks at bay just enough in six innings of work in which he allowed three runs on eight hits. Clemson came back to win that came 5-3 in 11 innings.
“He is a bulldog,” Lee said about Eubanks. “He is a guy that is extremely aggressive and he pitches with a quick tempo. As a hitter you do not have very many comfortable at-bats against him. As soon as you put your feet in the box, he is throwing a pitch.
“He kind of controls the temp of the game and of the at-bat of the hitter and he did that today. He did a good job of moving the fastball in and out and he had command of all of his pitches. He did not make very many mistakes up in the zone. He was as good as he could have been.”
Eubanks controlled the tempo of the game right from the start as he needed just nine pitches to get out of the first inning.
“It is just the work that we put in during the week,” the sophomore said. “It just the stuff we focus on in my bullpen and stuff. That has helped me a lot.”
It also helped that the Tigers (12-3, 3-0 ACC) quickly got a run in the first inning on a Chris Williams’ RBI hit through the left side. They added another run in the third inning and then two more in the bottom of the fourth.
That’s all Clemson needed the rest of the afternoon as Eubanks took care of the rest in earning his second win of the season.
“When the offense jumps on the scoreboard early, it makes it that much easier,” he said. “You can just go out there and pound the zone. You already have a lead so you can just let the defense work after that.”