Cammy Pereira saw a tweet earlier in the week that talked about the importance of women sports and if anyone cares. If there was anything Pereira learned from Wednesday afternoon at Clemson, she did not need a tweet to tell her if anyone cares about women’s sports.
Clemson’s second baseman saw it firsthand as Tiger fans packed the Clemson Softball Stadium, not once, but twice to see the athletic department’s new program play its first two games in Clemson.
“Look at us, we have a sold-out crowd at 2:30 on a Wednesday. I think that is pretty neat,” Pereira said. “All of us just came from class and people probably took off work to come to see this game. So, we are super appreciative of our fan base. It is pretty awesome to see all of that.”
More than a 1,000 Clemson fans packed the new stadium to get their first official glimpse of their new team. The Tigers did not disappoint, either. Despite losing a close game in Game 1 of the doubleheader Wednesday, they bounced back to mercy rule Western Carolina, 8-0, in Game 2.
“It was awesome to hear the cheers from the stands and just the enthusiasm the fans had about the game of softball,” Clemson head coach John Rittman said. “We have scrimmaged here, but we have not played with the scoreboard on, so there were just a lot of emotions and a lot of things going through everybody’s mind.”
In the second game, Clemson got a no-hitter from pitcher Logan Caymol, while Pereira went 3-for-3 and drove in a run. Centerfielder Valerie Cagle, a true freshman, went 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the victory.
“It was super cool. Not a lot of people get that opportunity, especially a first-year program like this. It really meant a lot to us to have that kind of fan base and that support,” Cagle said.
Clemson (3-4) officially had 1,616 fans in Game 1 against Western and it appeared to have come close to that attendance in Game 2.
“It was really special. I think the fans here are just outstanding,” Rittman said. “We knew from fan day that we were going to get a lot of support and we are really appreciative of that support. To feel the environment and excitement of the fans was so special. It is something that we will never forget.”
The Tigers look to get similar enthusiasm this weekend when they host the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Clemson will play Maryland at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
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