Twelfth-ranked Clemson got out to a hot start in Wednesday night’s 8-5 victory over No. 11 Coastal Carolina with a six-run first inning, but just like any good team does, the Chanticleers chipped away early and kept the game in arms reach.
But it was right-hander Owen Griffith who entered in relief of Jackson Lindley to keep Coastal Carolina at bay and secure his first win of the season.
Griffith entered in the third inning after Lindley went two complete innings giving up four runs on four hits. Griffith then pitched three complete innings allowing just three hits and one run (no earned runs), with a walk and six strikeouts.
“Jackson threw well tonight,” Griffith said after the game. “They were just hitting his pitches really well so I was just trying to go in there and throw strikes, try to force contact, get quick outs, get the game under control and let our offense do what they do. They put up runs and helped me out.”
After running into some trouble with his fastball early in the season Griffith said he’s added a slider and changeup to his repertoire and has really started to see the success with those pitches.
“I kind of struggled with the fastball early in the year so I’ve developed a slider and changeup to go along with my curveball,” he said, “and those pitches really helped me out tonight.
“Especially against lefties with the changeup. So, just throwing those pitches for strikes early is what really helped me out tonight.”
Head coach Monte Lee was extremely pleased with Griffith’s outing and the way he calmed things down when he entered the game.
“To me the biggest difference in the ballgame was when we went to Owen Griffith,” Lee said. “Owen deserves a lot of credit with our win tonight because he really settled everything down when he came in and threw as well as he possible could have. So, he deserves an awful lot of credit.”
The victory over the Chanticleers was Clemson’s fifth straight and fourth consecutive over a top-15 team. Finding success against tough opponents this early is a good start for the Tigers’ young team.
“Like Coach (Lee) said, (Coastal Carolina) has a lot of guys who can really swing it,” Griffith said. “Playing against these guys these past few years they’ve always been able to swing it so that’s why they’re ranked as high as they are.
“But what we try to focus on is just getting ahead in the count and expanding the zone late and I think that’s what really worked well for us tonight.”
Clemson will host Notre Dame in a three-game series this weekend starting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium