Sixth-ranked Clemson got back on the baseball field on Saturday and it got back to hitting too. Chris Williams and Chase Pinder both hit long balls to left field to lift the Tigers to a 5-2 victory over Nevada in Game 1 of their three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“Offensively, we did just enough,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “We took advantage there in the fourth inning with a big inning which all started with Chris Williams’ two-strike double. We hit a couple of home runs. Chris hit a big home run and Pinder hit a big home run so that was just enough so overall it was good to get a win there in Game 1 and hopefully we can build a little momentum going into Game 2.”
Starting pitcher Charlie Barnes earned the win and improved to 5-3 on the season. He also improved his ERA to 2.93. The win snapped Clemson’s three-game losing streak.
“Charlie did a nice job for us,” Lee said. “We were able to keep his pitch count down a little bit, but he got us into the sixth inning. After giving up a lead-off home run, he settled down and threw the ball really well.”
Clemson finished the game with eight hits. Reed Rohlman had two hits for the Tigers, while Williams finished with three hits.
Williams led off the Clemson second inning with a bomb to left field to tie the game. The solo home run allowed the Tigers to tie the game at 1-1. Nevada’s Justin Bridgman led off the game with his first career home run on the third pitch against Barnes.
Williams, who was 3-for4 with 2RBIs, now has 13 home runs this season, which leads the team. He had to leave the game in the seventh inning after injuring his shoulder after being picked off first base in the bottom of the sixth. Lee said after the game he does not expect Williams to catch on Sunday in Game 2, but they are hoping he can at least DH for the team.
“We will see,” Lee said. “We are not real sure right now about the extent of the injury. I will probably talk to our doctors and our trainers and kind of see the nature of what we are looking for. He will be pretty sore tomorrow so he is questionable until we kind of see.
“It will probably be more about how he feels in the morning when he gets up. How sore is he?”
Clemson (35-11) extended its lead to 4-1 on Nevada in the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double from Williams and an RBI single from Seth Beer.
Following a lead-off double by Reed Rohlman to start the Tigers’ fourth, Pinder was hit by a pitch and Williams followed with a double down the left field line to score Rohlman from second base. Beer then drove in Pinder for the Tigers’ third run of the inning with a single to right field which moved Williams to third.
Though Andrew Cox hit into a double play at second base, Williams was still able to come home from third to make the score 4-1.
Pinder led off the Clemson sixth inning with a home run to left field to extend the Tigers led to 5-2. It was the third lead-off home run of the game.
Barnes went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He had seven strikeouts to one walk. He also hit a batter.
Clemson will host Nevada in Game 2 on Sunday at 4 p.m.