In a game where you only get three strikes and you are out, Seth Beer was not about to get caught a third time for No. 19 Clemson on Sunday. The freshman, who struck out just four times all season prior to Sunday’s third game against No. 22 Boston College, had already went down swinging twice when he came up to the plate with two outs and the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Boston College pitchers Jacob Stevens and Justin Dunn used a low curveball to get to get Beer out in his previous two at-bats. But after John Nicklas missed on a low fastball with two outs, the Eagles went to the well one too many times against Clemson’s phenomenal freshman.
Beer took Nicklas’ low hanging curveball over the Cajun Café in right field for a walk-off, 3-2, victory over Boston College at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“They were beating me to death the last two bats with the low curve ball so I was expecting something like that after his take fastball was low,” Beer said afterwards. “I was expecting something that was going to be off-speed and I just put a good swing on it.”
The Tigers rallied to score three runs in the last four innings to sweep the three-game series with the Eagles. Clemson has now won seven straight games overall, but Sunday’s was the most difficult as it rallied from a 2-0 deficit through the first six innings.
“Oh man! What a game! What a game,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
Clemson (16-3, 5-1 ACC) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning when first baseman Chris Williams, who was playing for the injured Andrew Cox, singled to second base with one out, allowing K.J. Bryant to come home from second. Bryant was running for Robert Jolly, who got a one-out hit up the middle. It was the first of three hits in the inning.
It appeared the Tigers were going to win the game at that time when Chase Pinder singled through the right side with two outs, but Eli White, who was on second when Pinder made contact, was gunned down at home by right fielder Donovan Casey.
The Eagles (12-6, 2-4 ACC) had runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the 10th inning when Nick Sciortino hit a grounder to short. White’s throw to first was low, but Williams was able to dig the ball out of the ground to save two runs from scoring.
“If he does not pick that ball right there, that changes the game. It tells you how big the little things are in this game when it comes to defense,” Lee said.
Beer then won the game with his home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was his ninth home run of the season and his 25th RBI.
“I have to think that they were trying to throw him a breaking ball in the dirt. I don’t think they were trying to pitch to him, but he did what really good hitters do,” Lee said. “He struck out a couple of times today, but when you give him a pitch to hit, and he can handle it, he is going to make you pay.”
Boston College pitcher Jacob Stevens came into Sunday’s game against Clemson without allowing an earned run this season. He kept it that way through the first six innings and a third of the seventh, but White ended the streak of 29 innings without an earned run when he blasted a shot to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning.
It was a solo home run for White, his first of the season.
“Our guys kept fighting and kept competing and then Eli gave us some life,” Lee said. “He had a really good day for us. He hit the home run, and I don’t know if he gets the credit for how good he is playing defensively. I know he has been struggling a little bit with the bat, but he has not taken his frustration out on defense. He has played excellent defensively.
“But he came up huge with a big home run to put us within one (run).”
Stevens finished his day with six and a third innings of work. He had three strikeouts and no walks in the no decision.
Clemson had an opportunity to break Stevens’ streak in the bottom of the third inning when Chris Okey reached on an error with two outs. Beer then doubled down the left field line as the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Third base coach Greg Starbuck waved Okey home, but left fielder Dominic Hardaway and shortstop Johnny Adams made perfect throws to get the Clemson catcher out at home to end the inning and keep the Tigers off the scoreboard.
The Tigers looked as if they might get a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Okey led off the inning with a base hit to right field. Beer worked Stevens to a full count, but he swung at ball four and Okey was thrown out at second base while trying to execute a hit-and-run play.
The Eagles grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Casey doubled down the right field line with one out to score Joe Cronin, who had singled up the middle earlier. They made the score 2-0 in the second as this time Jake Palomaki singled up the middle to score Gian Maselli, who had doubled to right centerfield to open the inning.
Those were the only two runs allowed by Clemson starter Alex Eubanks as he pitched the next four and two thirds without allowing a run. The righty struck out 10 batters with no walks. He allowed seven hits.
Pat Krall came on with two outs in the seventh inning and allowed just two hits while striking out two in an inning and a third. Alex Bostic, who earned the win, closed the game by coming in with one out in the ninth inning. Clemson pitching had 15 strikeouts overall and no walks.
The Tigers will host Presbyterian on Tuesday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.