Freshman records home run, 3 stolen bases, triple in his first weekend of play
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — It has been five months since Kier Meredith has played in a baseball game. It sure did not look like it.
The Clemson freshman had one of the best debuts in the program’s history this weekend at Notre Dame. Meredith, who missed the first half of the season due to injury, went 4-for-10 at the plate in the three-game series with a home run, triple, 2 RBIs, 3 stolen bases, 2 walks and 2 hit by pitches.
“I’m just excited to be out there playing,” Meredith said to The Clemson Insider after Sunday’s doubleheader in South Bend. “It has been five months since I have played baseball so I’m not really worried about results. I’m just going out there and trying to do the best I can do to help my team win.
“I’m just having fun.”
Thanks to Meredith, the Tigers (25-7, 10-5 ACC) had fun too. Meredith produced his first career home run in Game 2—a 6-3 Clemson victory—and then drove in another run in Game 3—a 5-2 victory—as the Tigers swept the doubleheader Sunday from the Irish to claim the series.
Meredith also had a triple in his Clemson debut on Saturday and was 2-for-3 with a stolen base in the Game 1 loss. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native was awarded for his play in Game 1 by being moved up to the lead-off spot in Game’s 2 and 3.
“Kier Meredith! How good was he this weekend,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said after the game. “Offensively, for us, he just gives us a different animal up there at the top of the order today.
“He can really run. He finds a way to get on base and he can hit, too. He is just a weapon for us in that lead-off spot. He did a great job.”
In Game 2, Meredith followed Jordan Greene’s third home run of the year with his first career home run in the third inning. The solo shot was a bomb over the wall in right field.
“That was huge,” the freshman said. “The pitcher left the ball up-and-in and I just put my swing on it and it got out of here.”
In the Game 3, Meredith singled through the right side to score Patrick Cromwell for a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. He later in the same inning helped make the score 3-0, when he stole his third base of the series, forcing an errant throw from Notre Dame catcher David LaManna, which allowed Greene to come home with the third run.
Meredith’s presence wasn’t just a difference maker at the plate. He was also making plays and tracking down fly balls in centerfield all weekend.
“He is incredible,” said Brooks Crawford, who got the win on the mound in Game 2 for the Tigers. “Anything hit in the outfield, I have complete confidences he is going to get it.
“His bat kind of surprised me. Hitting that home run today, it was a bomb! So he has a lot of tools for us. I’m excited he is playing now.”
Crawford might have been surprised by Meredith’s power at the plate but Meredith wasn’t.
“I’m not surprising myself at all,” he said. “I try to stay as humble as possible and stay within myself and just have fun out there. It is a game at the end of the day, and I just go out and try to have fun.”