By Lee Lance.
The Tigers continued a stroll down skid row on Wednesday, losing their fifth consecutive game, falling to the Blue Hose from Presbyterian 4-3 in front of 1851 fans at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC.
The Blue Hose got the scoring started quickly, and scored in each of the first there innings. Andrew Williams got it started in the first inning, blasting a lead-off double to right center field. Tiger starter Will Lamb then struck out Mack Hite before the next batter up, Gabe Grammer, laced a ground ball double up the third base line, scoring Williams. Lamb would get out of the inning without giving up anymore runs.
After the Tigers were unable to put anything together in the first inning, Presbyterian struck again in the top of the second. The Blue Hose put together three hits and took advantage of a Tiger error by shortstop Jason Stolz, scoring one run and loading the bases in the process. Lamb was able to pitch out of the jamb though, striking out the last two batters of the inning with the bags full.
In the bottom half of that inning, the Tigers were able to get back half of the deficit, scoring one run after Shaffer led off with a single and moved to third on a double off of the Big Green Monster by John Hinson. Shaffer then scored on a sacrifice fly by Phil Pohl to right field, but then the Tigers themselves would go down on two consecutive strikes out, McGibbon and Stolz, to end the inning and strand Hinson on third base.
In the top of the third, Presbyterian once again dented the scoreboard, this time on Tiger pitcher Justin Sarratt who started the inning in place of starter Will Lamb. First baseman Brad Zebedis got it started for the Blue Hose by leading off with a double down the left field line, his second in as many at bats. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt, Zebedis scored on a routine ground ball that ate Tiger shortstop Jason Stolz up for his second error of the game. That run would be scored an RBI despite the error due to the fact that Zebedis appeared to be running on contact. Surratt got out of the inning without giving up any more runs, but the Blue Hose now led 3-1.
The game didn’t see any scoring in inning number four or the top half of the fifth, but in the bottom half of inning five the Tigers managed to quickly get right back in the game, this time started on a lead-off solo blast over the Green Monster in left field by catcher Phil Pohl. McGibbon followed that up with a single through the right side, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stolz. The next batter up, Steve Wilkerson, tied the game up by driving McGibbon in with a scorching ground ball back by the pitcher and into center field. With Wilkerson on first, Addison Johnson hit into a fielder’s choice that cost Wilkerson at second but allowed AJ to first base. Will Lamb then hit a shot back to the first baseman that got past him, allowing AJ to advance to third and Lamb to be safe at first base. The inning ended though on a ground-out by Schaus, stranding two runners on base but the Tigers had tied things up at three runs each.
Surratt made short order of the Blue Hose batters in the top of the sixth, sitting them down 1-2-3, all on swinging strikeouts, but the Tigers couldn’t manage any runs in the bottom of the inning either. The scored remained three-to-three at the end of six innings.
After facing two batters in the top of the eighth, Surratt was replaced by Joseph Moorefield with a runner on second base. Moorefield faced just one hitter, whom he walked. Alex Frederick was then called in with runners on first and second, after striking out the first batter he faced, he threw a wild pitch to the next one, allowing the runners to move up to second and third. The runner on third scored on another Tiger error, this one on Alex Frederick. The next batter flied out to center field, ending the inning and the threat but not before the Blue Hose had taken the lead, 4-3.
Alex Frederick stayed in to pitch the ninth for the Tigers and took a shot to the forearm off of the bat of the first hitter of the inning. That play ended with the batter on first base. Frederick stayed in the game after the hit and got out of the inning with two strikeouts and a ground out.
The Tigers had one last chance, heading to the bottom half of the ninth inning trailing Presbyterian by one run with the middle of the order due up, Hinson-Pohl-Epps. Hinson went down swinging with a strike out before Pohl roped a ground ball through the right side for a single. After reaching first on the hit, Pohl was pinch run for by Brad Miller but Miller was picked off on a throw over by the pitcher. The next batter up, Epps, struck out looking to end the Tigers last chance and the game.
The Tigers fell to the Blue Hose 4-3.
Stay tuned for more from TheClemsonInsider.