Second seed Vanderbilt took down No. 1 seed Clemson, 9-4, in Game 4 of the Clemson Regional on Saturday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers will now have to fight to keep their season alive. They are scheduled to play UNC Greensboro at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon in an elimination game. The winner will then play Vanderbilt at 7 p.m.
After Saturday night’s game the media spoke with head coach Monte Lee, starting pitcher Charlie Barnes and first baseman Andrew Cox. Here is what we heard:
“I give Vanderbilt a lot of credit tonight,” said Lee. “They played a very, very good baseball game led by their starting pitcher, Kyle Wright. He was as good as it gets. Pounded the strike zone. Pitched at the bottom of the strike zone. Had a good mix.”
Wright, who is projected to be one of, if not the overall top pick in next week’s Major League Baseball draft dominated the game.
“He (Wright) has a good mix of all of his pitches,” said first baseman Andrew Cox. “He throws them all for strikes in different counts. He’s the ace of their staff for a reason. He has good stuff but we have to find a better game plan to compete and try to string together some good at-bats tomorrow because our season is on the line.”
As what seems to be a reoccurring issue at the plate for the Tigers, Clemson was just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position Saturday night.
“We just could not put together any sort of inning offensively where we could score some runs,” Lee said. “We had some opportunities. Had a couple of guys on base early in the ballgame and just couldn’t come up with a hit with runners in scoring position.”
Starting pitcher Charlie Barnes went 5 2/3 innings Saturday. He gave up 13 hits, seven earned runs and struck out four.
“Like Coach (Lee) said, they did a good job of battling with two strikes,” said Barnes. “Battling with two outs. I would not credit it too much to them stepping out (of the box). They just had a really good approach and they executed it.”
Andrew Cox was 1-for-4 Saturday with a two-run double that put Clemson on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“You can’t dwell on tonight,” Cox said. “Tomorrow we are fighting for our lives. We’re not promised anything except one game tomorrow. We’re promised nine innings for the rest of the season. So I think you have to come out and try to put together as good of a nine innings as you can.”
“You can’t look forward and you can’t look behind,” he continued. “You have to stay in the present moment and compete every pitch. Stay in that moment and appreciate every opportunity you have. That’s the way we have to go about it.”
It all comes down to the Tigers finding a way to get it done on Sunday or their season is over.
“The bottom line is we have to find a way to win the game,” said Lee. “Our season is on the line and we have to find a way to win the game. That is the bottom line. We have to do everything we can tomorrow to win that game and keep our season alive.”