Pat Krall had been here before. Through four innings of Clemson’s game against Virginia on Sunday, he was pitching well. However, the fifth inning was the moment of truth for the lefty.
In his three previous outings, Krall had not pitched to the level he expects to pitch at. In 5 2/3 innings against Elon on Feb. 25 he allowed five runs on nine hits. He pitched five innings the next week against South Carolina, this time giving up four runs. Then against Notre Dame last week, he pitched just 4 1/3 innings, again giving up five runs on nine hits.
So when the ninth-ranked Tigers found themselves up four runs heading into the top of the fourth inning in Sunday’s 12-1 victory, doubt started creeping into Krall’s mind. It did not help matters that Charlie Cody homered with one out to right field and then Andy Weber singled to first base on a play that Krall appeared to beat Weber to the bag for the putout.
“I just kind of smiled,” Krall said. “I just kind of said to myself, ‘this is where you are either going to make or break. You are going to get past everything you have been through and you are going to keep rolling.’ I did so I was very confident out there and it was good to see I got myself out of that jam and I continued to roll.”
Krall (3-0) had his best outing of the year, as he held the Wahoos to one run, while scattering five hits. Virginia had runners in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Krall pitched his way out of both jams.
In the sixth inning, the Cavaliers had runners on first and second with no outs, but Krall got Pavin Smith to fly out to left field. He then got Cameron Simmons to pop up to second base for the second out and Jake McCarthy to strike out swinging.
Virginia had runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning with two outs, but he got Justin Novak to fly out to left field to end the threat.
“Our bullpen has been unbelievable so if we can save them as long as we can, then we will,” Krall said. “Charlie (Barnes), (Alex Eubanks) and I did everything we could this week to save them. To just keep rolling on the mound … I think we have a really good body language and mindset to us and we are just going to keep it going.”
Krall’s outing on Sunday was his best since going the distance in a win over NC State on May 8 of last year.
“Every aspect of the game was unbelievable for me today,” he said. “For me, to know everything was rolling, that just helped me roll real easy.”