Tigers rally late beating Winthrop, extend midweek streak to 16
Seventh-ranked Clemson (8-0) struggled in the midweek against Winthrop (3-6) in advance of this weekend’s series with South Carolina but pulled off a 9-8 extra inning win on a walk off single from Sophomore Kyle Wilkie.
The win extended the Tigers’ midweek win streak to sixteen with the last loss coming in May of 2015. This is the third time Clemson has started 8-0 in this century, in 2002 and 2010 the Tigers made it to the final four in Omaha.
After a rough start totaling just two hits through the first five innings, Tiger hitters rallies finishing the game with 10 hits.
Wilkie bounced back despite struggling early in the season, entering the game batting .091, finishing the day 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. Head Coach Monte Lee was proud of the way Wilkie played after a rough start to the season.
“Wilkie had a huge day for us, with the two out hit in the sixth cutting it to 8-6 and obviously the huge walk-off hit,” Lee said.
Wilkie thought today was what the doctor ordered to break out of his slump.
“It’s always fun to hit a walkout, that’s my first one here,” he said. “Everybody goes into a slump and they say just keep hitting and it will all work out,” said Wilkie.
In the first seven games, Tiger pitching looked sharp with a 2.39 ERA, .183 opponents’ batting average, and 4.47 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Tuesday afternoon it gave up eight runs, 14 hits, and walked six.
Clemson utilized the long ball to take a 4-0 lead after one inning off a pair of long balls.
Winthrop took full advantage of the struggling Tiger pitching staff and stormed back scoring eight unanswered runs. The Eagles scored a run in the second, four in the third, two in the fourth, and another in the sixth to garner an 8-4 lead.
Clemson came roaring back in the sixth scoring three runs and cutting the Winthrop lead to a single run. It started with Chris Williams’ single to lead off the inning before Wharton’s RBI double and Grayson Byrd’s RBI single.
With the Tigers down to their final two outs Patrick Cromwell delivered a solo home run over the Cajun Café tying the game at eight and sending it into extra innings.
In the bottom of the tenth, Wharton reached on a lead off walk and advanced to third when Grayson Byrd showed bunt, pulled back, and slapped a single through the hole.
Wilke punched a hit over second base scoring Wharton and securing the win.
The Tigers are back in action Friday at 7 p.m. in Columbia against rival South Carolina.
“We are the Yankees and Red Sox in the state of South Carolina, it is great to be a part of the greatest rivalry in all of college baseball,” Lee said.