Crawford, Spiers flourish on mound

Crawford, Spiers flourish on mound

Baseball

Crawford, Spiers flourish on mound

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Thursday night it was fourth-ranked Clemson’s bats that led it to a win over Pittsburgh. However on Friday afternoon, it was the Tigers’ pitching and defense that earned them a 4-1 victory over the Panthers at Charles L. Cost Field.

Right-hander Brooks Crawford started on the mound and earned the win as he pitched 5 1/3 innings while allowing just five hits, one run and one walk with five strikeouts.

“I felt good,” Crawford said after helping Clemson clinch the ACC Atlantic Division Championship. “I felt like I was in control from the first pitch on. I filled up the strike zone as much as I could…it was a good win, I’m glad we clinched today and I’m looking forward to the ACC tournament.”

Crawford recently started going back to throwing his curveball the way he originally did so in high school and since doing so, he has found success with that pitch every time.

“My curveball (was working again),” Crawford said. “That’s been my go-to pitch the last few outings. It’s something I’ve been working on the past few weeks. It’s been coming along really nicely.”

When sophomore Carson Spiers took the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out and two men on Friday to relieve Crawford, he picked up right where Crawford left off. The righty pitched 2 2/3 innings and retired each of the eight batters he faced.

“My fastball was moving a little bit so I felt like I just had to get ahead on each hitter,” Spiers said. “I just let my fastball work. My off-speed was good today too so I felt really good on the mound.”

Clemson head coach Monte Lee agreed.

“I thought Carson Spiers was huge for us,” Lee said after the game. “He came into the ballgame, faced eight hitters, seven of those guys were first pitch strikes and he got every guy out. He did an amazing job for us.”

Now that the Tigers (42-13, 21-8 ACC) have clinched the Atlantic Division, they are all looking forward to finishing the regular season strong with their last game today and then moving on to the ACC Tournament which begins next week in Durham, N.C.

“We feel good (going in to the tournament), Spiers said. “Obviously we were two and done last year but we feel like this team is a little different. We feel like we have mojo going into the ACC tournament and we want to win (today).

“We want to play our best baseball to get us going into that ACC tournament and right now we’re sitting pretty in the number one spot in our division so that’s awesome for us and we have a lot of confidence going into that tournament.”

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