By Trey McCurry.
No. 4 Clemson used a dominant performance by Kevin Brady and defeated Eastern Michigan 5-1 Sunday afternoon in front of 3,985 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. With the win, the Tigers took the series and moved to 2-1 on the season.
Red-shirt sophomore Brady (1-0) was brilliant on the mound as he allowed just two hits, one run, and one walk with 10 strikeouts in 5.1 innings to earn the win. David Haselden pitched the final three innings to earn the save. Eagle starter Steve Weber took the loss as he allowed six hits, four runs, and two walks with three strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched. Clemson got the scoring going in the bottom of the second inning. Brad Miller had a one-out walk and moved to third on a single up the middle by John Hinson. Spencer Kieboom followed with a groundout to short to score Miller and put the Tigers up 1-0 after two innings.
Clemson struck again with two runs in the bottom of the third. Jason Stolz led off the inning with a single to right field and Chris Epps followed with his second homer of the year, a deep shot to right center. However, the next three Tigers were all retired to keep the lead at 3-0 after three innings of play. After the Eagles stranded two runners in the top of the inning, Clemson added another run in the fourth. After a Hinson hit a one-out single and stole second, Kieboom came through again with a single to center to score Hinson. The Tigers continued to threaten as Addison Johnson singled and stole second followed by a Stolz walk, but Clemson was unable to capitalize and there lead after four innings stayed at 4-0.
Daniel Russell got the top of the sixth started for the Eagles with a triple to left center and scored on the next play when Tucker Rubino reached on a fielder’s choice. The Eagles continued to threaten, but Jonathan Meyer relieved Brady and shut down the threat to keep the score at 4-1. Hinson got the Tigers started again in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, he doubled down the left field line then stole third on the very next pitch. After another out, Johnson doubled down he left field line to score Hinson. Clemson continued to threaten with a Stolz hit-by-pitch and Epps walk, but pinch hitter Phil Pohl popped out to end the inning and the scoring for the game.
Hinson led Clemson at the plate by going 3-for-4, while Epps and Kieboom each had two RBI. Hinson and Miller also each had two of the Tigers five stolen bases on the day. Zach Leonard led the Eagles with two hits.With the win, head coach Jack Leggett moved into a tie with Jay Berman for 20th place in all-time wins as a Division I head coach. Leggett who has 1,148 wins in 32 seasons as a head coach is seventh on the active list among Division I coaches.
The Tigers will now have the week off before participating in the First Pitch Invitational next weekend. Clemson will host Cincinnati Friday at 4:00PM, Charleston Southern Saturday at 1:00PM, and travel to Greenville Sunday to face Michigan State at 1:00PM.