With another dominating pitching performance from Charlie Barnes, paired with exceptional offense from freshman, Logan Davidson, the No. 4 Clemson Tigers defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies 12-1 in Game 1 of their three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Friday.
“Well great Game One in this series for our guys,” said head coach Monte Lee after the game. “I think every starter tonight on offense had a hit. We scored in six of eight innings on offense. We swung the bats very, very well.”
Clemson (26-5, 11-2 ACC) did just that, acquiring 16 hits in Friday’s game. Shortstop, Logan Davidson led the Tigers at the plate going four-for-five with three singles, two RBIs and a solo home run which was his third home run in the past seven days.
“Obviously I’m seeing the ball well right now,” Davidson said. “I’ve been seeing it well. I am staying within my approach and getting balls in the strike zone. Not chasing out of the strike zone. Seeing balls up and taking my best swing has really helped me.”
Lee was very complementary of Davidson after the game not only with how he has been performing but also on his work ethic and practice habits.
“He was the only shortstop we recruited in that class,” Lee said. “We felt like he was the guy we wanted to come play for us when we lost Eli (White). We thought he was going to be not only one of the best freshmen in college baseball but one of the best shortstops in the country. But the thing I like most about Logan is that he is the same guy every single day. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He shows up to the ballpark. He plays hard. He works hard. He’s very consistent emotionally and he just does an unbelievable job.”
Left-handed pitcher, Charlie Barnes was the other crucial factor in Friday’s victory against the Hokies. Barnes went 7 2/3 innings while only giving up four hits and one run. He also struck out 11 batters for the third time this season, which is his personal best in one game.
“Fastball and changeup were kind of my go-to tonight,” said the junior. “I didn’t throw too many breaking balls. But my fastball was really good tonight. So was my changeup. So those were probably the two pitches I used the most tonight.”
When asked what Barnes’ mindset was going into this game knowing Virginia Tech has hit 57 home runs on the year Barnes responded,
“Coach (Andrew) See and I talked about that a little on Thursday and when I was scouting I kind of saw they were a really good hitting team and they take really big cuts, especially on balls up in the zone. So I knew I had to come in and keep the ball down.”
Aside from the outstanding pitching efforts and offense from the Tigers, there was also some added “excitement” when Lee was ejected in the eighth inning. Early in the game he received a warning from the home plate umpire for arguing balls and strikes, but was later ejected for arguing a check swing that went against Barnes. After the game second baseman, Jordan Greene was asked if the ejection contributed to the huge eighth inning the Tigers had, scoring six runs in that inning alone.
“Sometimes it just takes a little spark to get us riled up. Stuff like that happens,” he said. “We score, however many it was, six or something, but when you got people like Logan who are seeing refrigerators at the plate. And I don’t know if y’all could see it but Charlie’s changeup today was absolutely gross. I mean it was moving that much. Playing behind these guys and with these guys is really easy. When we get a spark we just keep the train rolling.”
Greene was also a beneficial part of the game going two-for-three at the plate with two walks and two RBIs. He made several excellent defensive plays as well.
Clemson and Virginia Tech will play the second game of the series at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.