By Trey McCurry.
By Trey McCurry
COLUMBIA — Here is a look back at Clemson’s 10-2 win over Saint Louis in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon at the Columbia (SC) Regional.
Steve Wilkerson hit two homer runs and had five RBI while Daniel Gossett was solid on the mound, allowing just two runs in 6.0 innings, as #2 seed Clemson defeated #4 seed Saint Louis 10-2 on Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium.
The game changing moment came in the top of the fourth inning. With the Tigers already leading 3-1, they added three more runs in the fourth to give Gossett and reliever Kyle Schnell all the runs they would need. As Saint Louis Head Coach Darin Hendrickson noted, the key point was a one-out walk to nine-hole hitter Tyler Slaton that was followed two batters later by Wilkerson’s second homer of the day.
The Clemson offense came back to life, scoring 10 runs on 10 hits, and the pitching staff had a solid day, allowing just two runs on seven hits.
A key turning point in the game came in the top of the third inning. With the Tigers trailing 1-0, Thomas Brittle worked a leadoff walk and Wilkerson hit a towering two-run homer to right to give Clemson a 2-1 lead. Three batters later, Shane Kennedy followed with a shot over the left field wall to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish.
What went right?
Wilkerson and Kennedy led the offensive attack with five of the team’s 10 hits and showed that this team has some power in the bats with three homers. Gossett battled all day, throwing 115 pitches (71 strikes) in 6.0 innings while Schnell earned his second save of the season with 3.0 scoreless innings. The Clemson defense also rebounded from a shaky day yesterday as they did not commit an error and made several difficult plays in the field.
What went wrong?
The Tigers again found themselves in an early hole by allowing a first-inning run. While the offense had a good day, there were a few struggles early on as Clemson loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning and was unable to push a run across.
They said it.
Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett
“We played a good game today. I thought Goose was good for us on the mound, he wasn’t exceptional without his stuff as far a command, but he battled through for us. His pitch count got up there a little earlier than we were hoping, but Schnell came in and did a great job for us. Pitching was really good for us. I thought we played great defense. We got some timely hits, some guys had some big days for us, we got some men on base and we got some hits with men on base. I thought our running was good, our offensive game was good today
Clemson Second Baseman Steve Wilkerson
“It’s always big to break the ice, get that first run across the plate that creates energy in the dugout and kind of gets everyone going. I think after we scored that first run we just kept passing it to the next guy and kept building on each other and we started swinging for the rest of the day.”
Clemson Third Baseman Shane Kennedy
“Seeing more pitches helps in a couple of different ways; it allows guys to walk and things like that, but at the same time it gets the pitcher’s pitch count up. That’s a big thing to be able to get that pitcher out of there.”
Clemson Starting Pitcher Daniel Gossett
“I wouldn’t say I was trying to press too much. I was just worried about a few little mechanics issues. I was able to make some adjustments. I talked to Pep when I needed to, and he helped me out. I didn’t feel like I was pressing. I felt like I was just pitching the same baseball game. But you’re bound to get those little mechanical flaws and just made some adjustments.”