By Will Vandervort.
By Will Vandervort
The Clemson baseball team likes to joke around and call Matthew Crownover Tommy Glavine from time to time.
The sophomore pitcher likes to take it in stride. After all, there is nothing wrong with being called a Hall of Fame pitcher who won Cy Young Awards and a World Championship.
“That’s the thing about being a Saturday guy,” Crownover said. “Everybody jokes with me, calling me Tommy Glavine or Andy Pettitte. That’s what Andy Pettitte did when he pitched for the Yankees. Clements would get beat in the playoffs and (Pettitte) would come back and get them a win.”
After 13th-ranked Clemson dropped its season opener to Eastern Michigan on Friday, Crownover came in Saturday and got the Tigers their first win of the season. The lefty, who went 7-3 last season with a 2.19 ERA, allowed two runs on four hits in five innings of work in a 5-3 victory in Game 2 of the three-game series.
“You have to be able to create some energy for your team and get them going and I think I did an okay job of that,” Crownover said. “Hopefully, Jake Long goes out there and gets us another win tomorrow.”
Clemson and Eastern Michigan will play the rubber match of the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Eagles won 6-5 in 10 innings in Game 1.
As for Saturday’s game, Crownover definitely gave the Tigers (1-1) energy when he struck out nine of the 20 batters he faced and allowed no walks.
“It is kind of crazy. We had a lot of good moments (Friday),” he said. “We hit the ball extremely well. I felt we were just one hit away and we really pitched the ball well besides those three pitches in that one inning in the six.
“Goose pitched well. I thought we pitched really well. That’s the thing when you play well on a Friday night game and you get beat, you have a downer.”
But there was no downer when third baseman Jay Baum got Clemson going with an RBI in the second inning to tie the game and then Garrett Boulware drilled an RBI double to left centerfield in the bottom of the third inning.
After that, shortstop Tyler Krieger led the charge with three more hits and two RBIs to lead a Clemson offense that finished with 10 hits overall. Right fielder Steven Duggar also had three hits and had one RBI.
“Obviously, we did not get off to the start we wanted, but we expect to win every game that we play in,” Krieger said. “I expect to win every game that I play in. Last night, maybe I did not have my best game, so bouncing back and having a good game was important. I have to continue to come focused every single day.
“I’m coming here to get better and win games and we are doing that as a team, too. We are coming here to get better every single day and win games. Losing is not acceptable at Clemson and we expect to win every game that we play in.”
Clemson head coach Jack Leggett was glad to see his team show some resiliency early in the season and bounce back to get a win.
“This is a long season. It is all about bouncing back and being resilient,” he said. “It’s about letting one game go and being ready for the next game. All of those things come into play all the time. We are still playing three freshmen out there with a sophomore in right, a sophomore at short and a sophomore on the mound. So we still have some young players that have to feel their way through it.”