After Clemson took a week off for exam week, the sixth ranked Tigers took the field on Saturday afternoon, snapping a three-game losing streak by defeating Nevada 5-2.
Chris Williams’ and Chase Pinder’s long balls and starting pitcher Charlie Barnes’ performance from the mound allowed the Tigers to secure a victory over the Wolf Pack at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
Following the win, the media spoke to head coach Monte Lee, as well as Chase Pinder, Charlie Barnes, and Chris Williams.
Here is what we heard:
“Fortunate to get a win here in game one,” Lee said. “Charlie Barnes did a nice job for us. We were able to keep his pitch count down a little bit, but he got us into the sixth inning. After giving up the lead-off home run, he settled in and threw the ball really, really well.
“Tyler Jackson, on his bullpen day, was able to come in out of the bullpen and did a nice job. And Jeremy Beasley threw the ball very well at the end, so that was good to see. Defensively, we played a pretty solid ballgame. Had a couple things to clean up, but overall, I thought we pitched very well. Offensively, we did just enough. We took advantage there, I believe it was in the fourth inning, with a big inning, kind of started with Chris Williams’ two strike double. Hit a couple home runs, Chris hit a big home run and Pinder hit a big home run, so that was just enough. Overall, good to get a win here in game one and hopefully we will be able to build a little of momentum going into game two.”
A fresh and rested Barnes was able to push the Tigers to their victory over Nevada. Due to an inconsistent schedule coming up, the coaching staff decided to lower Barnes’ pitch count to allow him to rest and remain healthy, which Barnes said is a nice break.
“I felt really good out there today. I’ve been feeling healthy. It was nice today to take a few pitches off with a little shorter pitch count,” he said.
On top of elite pitching, Williams and Pinder’s home run’s set the tone for the day.
Pinder said he worked hard this week hitting from the machines and in the cages, and the practice served him well. His home run in the sixth inning lifted the Tigers to a solid lead over Nevada. He said he felt the perfection of the hit right as the ball left the bat.
“It’s a good feeling when you hit home runs. We haven’t hit as many as last year, I felt like that was all we did last year,” Pindar said while laughing. “We worked hard this week on the machine and in the cages.”
Another player who had an outstanding day was Williams as he hit a home run to start the second inning, raising his home run count for the season to a team-high 13. He finished the day with three hits in four at-bats.
“It just felt perfect off the bat,” Williams said. “My main focus is to win every pitch. I feel like that helped a lot today.”
Despite his great game, he had to leave early after injuring his shoulder in the bottom of the sixth while trying to get back to the bag at first base on a pick-off play.
“It didn’t feel right when I slid back on the bag,” he said. “I didn’t think anything of it, it was just a little sore. But when I went back on the field, I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to be able to finish this game out the way my shoulder feels.’”
Lee said he highly doubts Williams will be able to catch today due to the injury. Clemson will host Nevada in Game 2 at 4 p.m.