By Will Vandervort
Georgia Southern was pretty much in trouble Friday night after Daniel Gossett stepped off the mound last Saturday.
Rarely has Clemson’s ace had two bad outings in a row and that was again the case in the 15th-ranked Tigers’ 7-1 victory over Georgia Southern at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The right-hander pitched 7 1/3 innings, while giving up one run off two hits.
“That just shows his maturity,” Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware said. “He knows how to handle adversity and he knows how to overcome it.”
Gossett was overcoming a disappointing start against Maryland in which the Terrapins ran him off in just 2 1/3 innings of work in a 7-2 loss. But he was sharp from the start on Friday.
“I had all week to let it sit on me, but I used it to get better,” Gossett said. “I had a whole week of preparation to try and get it out of my mind and know I have better stuff than that and come out and let the ball go and know where it is going. When I do that, it is a good feelng.”
The sophomore was in control from the beginning on Friday as he recorded nine of his 12 strikeouts through the first five innings. He now has 80 strikeouts, 44 more than anyone else on the Clemson team.
“I had know idea,” Gossett said. “I actually came into our dugout and was talking to one of our catchers and I was like, ‘What happened to the first two batters of our inning?’ It is all about having a short memory with the good and the bad. You have an outing you are not too proud of, you have to have a short memory, but then if you are rolling a little bit, you can’t reflect on that. You have to be ready to get the next guy.”
The Tigers (35-15) gave Gossett enough run sport to improve his record to 8-3 as Mike Triller, starting for just the second time this season, recorded two hits and two RBIs.
Triller hit a double to left field in the bottom of the fourth after Eagles’ left fielder Scooter Williams dove and missed the ball, allowing Tyler Krieger to score from second and Thomas Brittle from first. The double gave Clemson a 4-0 lead at the time.
“(Jack Leggett) likes to mix us up a little bit, but he called on me today and I figured I would go out there and give it my best shot,” Triller said.
The Tigers also got an RBI single from Garrett Boulware in the bottom of the first inning, fielder’s choices RBIs from Krieger in the fourth and a Jon McGibbon RBI on a grounder to first base in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After Georgia Southern (25-24) added a run in the sixth inning, Boulware extended the lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning with base hit to left field to score Wilkerson and then Kennedy tripled off the fence in left center field to score Boulware for a 7-1 lead.
“We had a good hit-and-run by McGibbon that helped us and we ran the bases pretty good and aggressively,” Leggett said. “I think we did some good things. We laid down a bunt that got us a run. We did some good things offensively… It was a complete night for us.”
Clemson and Georgia Southern will play Game 2 Saturday at 6:30 p.m.