Opposed on the mound by Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright, the projected No. 1 pick in this year’s Major League Baseball draft, Clemson’s Charlie Barnes hoped to put his best foot forward in Game 4 of the Clemson Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday and go toe-to-toe with Wright in a battle of aces.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Barnes instead tied a career high with seven earned runs allowed and gave up a career-high 13 hits over 5.2 innings pitched in their 9-4 loss to the Commodores.
“They did a good job of battling with two strikes, battling with two outs,” Barnes said. “They just had a really good approach and executed it.”
Barnes began the contest with three scoreless innings, but was tagged for three runs in the fourth inning and four more in the sixth before being replaced by reliever Patrick Andrews.
Five of the hits against Barnes came with two strikes, seven of the hits against him came with two outs and five of the runs scored against him came with two outs. Overall, Vanderbilt had a .471 batting average (8-of-17) with two outs and six two-out RBI.
Clemson, meanwhile, went 2-for-10 with two outs against Wright, who surrendered just three runs on seven hits over seven strong innings while striking out nine and walking only one.
“At the end of the day, it was about Vanderbilt’s starting pitching and their bullpen, and their ability to extend innings with two outs and come up with big two-out hits and two-strike hits,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “So, that was the story of the ball game and that’s why they won the game.”
Clemson, the No. 1 seed, will play No. 4 seed UNC Greensboro again in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Tigers beat the Spartans 5-4 on Friday night in the two teams’ opening game of the regional.
The winner of the rematch between Clemson and UNC Greensboro will face Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. tonight.
“Our season is on the line (today) at 1 o’clock,” Lee said. “We need to put together a good game, need to compete for nine innings and find a way to win game one and force a game two.”