Tigers focused in sweep of Maine

Tigers focused in sweep of Maine

Baseball

Tigers focused in sweep of Maine

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By Will Vandervort.

By Will Vandervort

It took Clemson 37 pitches to wear Maine starter Scott Heath down, then they wore down the rest of the Black Bears.

The 13th-ranked Tigers scored four runs in the bottom of the first and four more in the third inning in rolling to a 10-2 victory Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The win allowed the Tigers to sweep Maine, the same squad that won at No. 17 Miami last weekend.

“I think it speaks a lot about us, but I don’t think they played their best game, either,” Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware said. “They are definitely a good team and they did not have their best weekend. But we were just hitting.

“Every one of us from one to nine was hitting. Guys on the bench hit home runs. Everything was working for us. Everyone was hitting. The pitchers were playing great and they were holding them down. It was a combined team effort.”

Boulware did his part in Sunday’s win. He went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs to lead a Clemson offense that produce 12 hits overall. Clemson scored 23 runs and 30 hits in the last two games of the series.

“We have good energy. We have some good leadership on the team. We have some guys that love to play and love to practice. That’s always fun to be around,” Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said. “I thought overall we played good baseball.

“If we forced them into a mistake, we took advantage of those mistakes. We pitched, played defense and swung the bats real well this weekend.”

Leggett was excited to see the outing he got out of Long on Sunday. A week after getting run off by Eastern Michigan last weekend, the redshirt junior improved his ERA by pitching six good innings in which he gave up two runs on six hits. He did not walk a batter and he struck out three.

“He pitched well and our relief pitching was really good today. All the guys we had that got in the ball game did a nice job,” Leggett said.

Clay Bates relieved Long to open the seventh inning and struck out all three batters, including the last two on 95 mph fastballs.

“I liked the way Bates looked and I liked the way (Matt) Campbell looked at the end there. (Patrick) Andrews, I thought those guys did a nice job for us. Jake was on point and we played really well offensively all weekend long.

“We swung the bats. We were aggressive on the bases. We have some depth, which is good for us and we have some inner-squad competition and we have been playing pretty good defense.”

Clemson (5-1) eventually ran off Heath in the third inning as he allowed nine runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings of work. Besides Boulware, the Tigers got RBI hits from Tyler Slaton, Chris Okey, Steven Duggar, Steve Wilkerson and Weston Wilson, who drove in two runs.

“(Heath) had a good weekend last week against Miami so we expected a challenge out of him. We had a good approach, we looked for the ball in the strike zone, we hit it the opposite way and we hit the ball through the middle,” Leggett said. “That was a good start to it. We had a really good approach and we made him come to us and we did not try to do anything special with it. We did not try and yank it and we did a real good job hitting the ball the other way.

“I was pleased with our focus all weekend long.”

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