Throughout most of the game, 12th-ranked Clemson held a solid lead over 24th-ranked Coastal Carolina, who only brought in one run through five innings of play.
But after Coastal Carolina rallied for seven unanswered runs to take their first lead of the game in the eighth inning, the Tigers produced quality at-bats including Seth Beer’s grand slam to right field, which lifted the Tigers to an 11-8 victory over the Chanticleers at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
Following the Tigers’ victory, the media spoke to head coach Monte Lee and players including Seth Beer, Chase Pinder, and Grayson Jackson.
Here is what we heard:
Lee praised his team for their determination and will to succeed during the momentous final innings. When his players were called to produce quality plays and at-bats, they did just that.
“Everything went just as planned,” said Lee jokingly. “What a great game. Obviously, it was tough in a lot of ways there, but we really swung the bats well for the first five innings of the ball game. We were really, really good offensively.
“Today I charted quality at-bats per inning vs. quality at-bats per inning and really tried to emphasize to our guys to win innings. We won five out of eight innings, which is the key in why we won the ballgame. We scored in four out of the first five innings.
“Bottom line is, is in the eighth inning, when we desperately needed to put together some good at-bats, we did,” Lee finished.
After Coastal Carolina rallied the six unanswered runs and took the lead in the eighth inning, the Tigers had all the reason to lose hope. Instead, they came together.
Clemson was able to push ahead of Coastal Carolina thanks to Beer’s grand slam, which lifted Clemson to an 11-8 lead. Beer said it was an experience he will never forget.
“When I saw it go over the fence and into the bleachers, I just lost it,” Beer said. “Coach told us to play with some emotion today, so I told myself it was okay to lose it. Coming into my teammates all freaking out at you, it was an incredible experience and it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Lee couldn’t contain his excitement for Beer’s 13th home run of the season and went on to say Beer is built for those moments.
“Seth Beer did what great players do,” Lee said. “I’m so happy for Seth. It’s been quite a while since he’s hit one, and man, it really was the difference-maker for us.”
Lee and a few players touched on the fact that the Tigers really needed the win after facing a tough few weeks. A win over the defending national champions was ultimately a confidence booster.
“We needed a win. That’s the bottom line,” Lee said. “We have obviously been struggling, but the one thing I will say is what’s happened in the past doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is right now and today, and that was our message to the team today.
“We certainly hope that the wave of emotion from the way we won tonight can get our guys going back in the right direction mentally and confidence wise.”
Pinder nonetheless agreed with his coach and also said this win could benefit the Tigers entering the ACC tournament that is right around the corner.
“This is a big win for us,” Pinder said. “It’s big going in because it’s our last ACC series this weekend and right after that, I think two days later, we’re in the ACC Tournament. So, obviously a big boost going into next week and hopefully it translates.”
Despite a tough few weeks, Jackson explained the Tigers can learn from their mistakes and can ultimately ride on the emotions of this Coastal Carolina victory into this weekend’s series and the ACC Tournament.
“We had talked about our losses earlier. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t learn from them,” Jackson said. “You can look at them and let them weigh you down or you can learn from your mistakes. This one definitely give us some energy going to the big weekend and the ACC tournament.”
The Tigers head to Raleigh, N.C. today to prepare for a three-game series vs. NC State starting on Thursday night at 6:30 pm.