Crawford had one of Clemson’s best starts of the year

Crawford had one of Clemson’s best starts of the year

Baseball

Crawford had one of Clemson’s best starts of the year

Righty records a career-high 10 strikeouts in Tigers’ victory over Austin Peay

Prior to Clemson’s road series at Wake Forest last month, Brooks Crawford decided to make a change with one of his pitches.

The righty, who has been No. 2 in the Tigers’ rotation all year, decided to go back to the way he was throwing his curveball in high school.

“It was my old grip back in high school so I get more on top of it and it has more of a twirl-six action,” he said. “That has been working for me lately.”

It definitely worked for the junior in Saturday’s win over Austin Peay. Crawford struck out a career-high 10 batters, the best total by a Clemson pitcher all year, as the fifth-ranked Tigers downed the Governors, 10-1, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

“Brooks had one of the best starts of the year,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “Austin Peay is a very formidable offense. They have a number of guys that can play anywhere in the country. I thought Brooks was as good as he has been all year long.”

Since the before-mentioned Wake Forest game, Crawford has won four consecutive starts. He improved to 7-2 as a starter thanks to Saturday’s win, a game in which he allowed just four hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings of work.

It was his second longest outing of the year and for the fourth game in a row he did not walk a batter.

“Everything was kind of working,” Crawford said to The Clemson Insider. “My fastball kind of dropped off a little bit. I think I got kind of tired by the heat today. It was the first game where it was 90 degrees, but the curveball was working well.

“I kind of introduced it at Wake Forest.”

The curveball worked against one of the best hitting teams in the country on Saturday. Austin Peay is one of the nation’s best in hits, average, runs scored and home runs. The Governors were coming off a 6-3 win on Friday night over the Tigers, a game in which they had 10 hits and two home runs.

“It goes through your mind a little bit because they are a hot hitting team,” Crawford said. “If you look through their lineup, they have a bunch of guys hitting over .300 and one guy has eighteen home runs so when you look at their lineup, they are pretty tough to pitch to.

“So I just came out and competed as best I could against them and made some good pitches.”

Lee thought his pitcher was outstanding.

“He is the biggest reason why we are back in this series,” the Clemson coach said.

Crawford’s clutch pitching lately is one of the reasons why Clemson is in first place in the ACC, too. It’s a good thing he changed things up with his curveball when he did.

“Hopefully, it keeps working for me so I look forward to keep throwing it,” he said.

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