Crawford’s right arm kept Clemson afloat

Crawford’s right arm kept Clemson afloat

Baseball

Crawford’s right arm kept Clemson afloat

While Clemson’s offense struggled to find itself in Game 2 of the Clemson Regional Friday, Brooks Crawford kept the Tigers in the game.

Pitching against one of the country’s best hitting teams, the righty kept Morehead State at bay for much of the night until his teammates finally picked up a couple of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Clemson eventually rallied all the way back to beat the Eagles, 4-3, in 10 innings, thanks to Jordan Greene’s walk-off single through the left side to score Drew Wharton from second base.

“They have a pretty aggressive approach to the plate,” Crawford said afterward. “If I threw it around the strike zone, I knew they were going to put it into play just because of how their averages were.”

Morehead State, now 0-6 all-time vs. Clemson, came into the Clemson Regional with eight of its nine starters in its lineup hitting .314 or better. However, against Crawford they managed just three hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.

The Eagles (37-25) finished the night with just six hits overall.

Though they did get three runs off the Tigers’ pitcher, two of their runs were unearned as Clemson booted the ball around twice in the second inning, allowing the unearned runs to score.

“It kind of went through my mind that they were batting over .300 and that kind of worried me just a little because I am a strike-thrower,” Crawford said. “They were a pretty good team. They put the ball in play and gave us a run for our money tonight.”

Though Crawford did not earn a decision Friday night, Clemson (46-14) improved to 14-2 in his 16 starts this season. At one point, the junior retired 10 straight batters.

“Brooks has been just so consistent all season long,” Lee said. “That’s kind of what he does every time out. Brooks hasn’t had a start all year long where we had to go get him in the third. Almost every time he goes out there he’s going to be able to get you two times through the lineup, and even a couple of times here lately a third time.

“He is getting better and better as the year is going on.”

Clemson hopes to get the same kind of performance on the mound tonight from lefty Jake Higginbotham when it takes on Vanderbilt at 7 p.m., in the winner’s bracket game of the Clemson Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

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