Sixth-ranked Clemson fell to Nevada 7-5 on Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, tying the three-game series. The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the eighth for three runs, but fell short in their comeback attempt.
Following the game, the media spoke to head coach Monte Lee, freshman shortstop Logan Davidson and junior outfielder Chase Pinder.
Here is what we heard:
Lee explained in order to win games like this, his team has to perform at a higher, more consistent level early on in the ballgame. The Tigers’ shortcomings early in the game allowed Nevada to win the game.
“The first half of the ballgame was tough for us today,” Lee said. “We really didn’t do anything, in any part of the game very well. They did a really good job of executing.
“We tried to make a run there in the end. In the eighth we had the big inning, we just couldn’t come up with the big blow there at the end to try to tie it up or push across. The bottom line is, we have to do a better job earlier in the ball game and all phases of the game and that’s what got us beat today. It’s my job to make sure our guys are prepared, and that’s definitely on me as well. I have to do a better job to find some different answers. I’m going to keep searching and we’ll keep fighting. Hopefully we can put together a better game for the first half of the game tomorrow. Hopefully we will find a way to win this series tomorrow.”
Pinder, although disappointed, gave credit where credit was due.
“It’s tough because of the way we lost,” Pinder said. “You have to give credit to them, they played a good game and they had a bunch of hits. I think it was 13 or 14 hits. It was just us not executing early in the game. We tried to catch up late. We’ll get better and come back tomorrow strong.”
Lee noted in order for his team to be in a good position heading into post-season play, as they have nine regular season games remaining, every player must play with a sense of urgency.
“We are trying to do everything we can as a coaching staff, but we are 40-plus games into the season,” Lee said. “Our guys have to understand this sense of urgency that we have to have here at the end of the season to try and put ourselves in a good position.”
Davidson agreed with his coach, hitting on the point that each and every guy has to stay focused on every game to win out the rest of the season.
“We need to make sure we stay focused on our games no matter who we’re playing,” Davidson said. “Whether it’s Nevada or it’s Louisville next week, we need to stay focused on that and stay on the right track to get back to where we need to be.”
Lee assured the media his team is showing up to practice with hard-working attitudes and passion. After losing their last five of seven games, the Tigers have to work through this time of struggle to get to where they want to be.
“We talk about all of those things and try to be honest with our guys with the focus and the sense of urgency and the passion we have to have every single day,” Lee said. “We are coming out and playing as hard as we can. It is there, but we have to find a way to play good baseball.
“We have played really good baseball for the majority of this season, but we have been struggling here lately. We have had some injuries, but that is not going to be an excuse for us. We are not going to use those as excuses. We are going to find a way to get the next man in there and the next man has to step up for us.”
Clemson and Nevada will decide the series winner today in the rubber match at noon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium,