Freshman makes solid debut as Tigers take series

Freshman makes solid debut as Tigers take series

Baseball

Freshman makes solid debut as Tigers take series

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Clemson goes up 2-0 on Cincinnati with Saturday's win

Though he was pitching in his first college game, Ty Olenchuk did not look like a guy who was making his first college appearance.

The Clemson freshman pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday, helping the 25th-ranked Tigers down Cincinnati, 5-2, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

“I don’t know if I could have asked for more from Ty Olenchuk in his first career start,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said after the game. “He was calm. He was cool and collected, but he is also a very intense competitor. I thought he did an outstanding job.”

Blake Wright led the Tigers at the plate with a double, which later led to a run. He also drove in a run during the afternoon game.

However, the story of the day belonged to Clemson’s freshman pitcher. Olenchuk allowed just two hits in his first start. He threw 61 pitches, as the righty recorded three strikeouts, while walking one batter and hitting another. The Irmo, S.C. native threw 43 strikes overall.

“It was really fun to watch his teammates congratulate him when he came out of the game,” Lee said. “For a true freshman, you just don’t see many guys where all of his teammates just respected him as much as they do. They have a lot of respect for Ty Olenchuk. They know what kind of competitor he is and how hard of a worker he is.

“I was very, very pleased with his first start.”

The first time through the order, Olenchuk threw first-pitch strikes to seven of the nine batters.

“Coming in, I was a little nervous. I am not going to lie. First start, first outing playing at Clemson,” he said. “But after the first pitch … I think I threw a ball up, and the second pitch was in the zone and from there it just took off. I was very confident after that one.

“My arm felt good. I have had a little bicep tightness, but overall, I felt like I pitched really well. I was really consistent with my fastball and slider. Overall, it was a lot of fun. I feel like I did pretty well.”

The Tigers, who clinched the series with the victory, broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to base hits from Bryar Hawkins, Pierce Gallo and Bryce Teodosio, which all came with no outs. The latter was an RBI single to centerfield by Teodosio that scored Hawkins for a 2-0 lead.

Wright then drew a walk on a full count to score Gallo and Dylan Brewer flew out to right field, which brought Caden Grice home for a 4-0 lead.

Clemson (2-0) got its first run in the bottom of the first inning, when Wright led off the day with a double and later scored on an Elijah Henderson grounder to second base.

After Olenchuk was pulled for Evan Estridge with two out in the fifth inning, the Bearcats finally got on the scoreboard in the three-game series. Right fielder Paul Komistek hit a home run to centerfield in the top of the sixth inning for the first run of the season for Cincinnati.

Clemson beat the Bearcats 5-0 in Game 1 on Friday and allowed just three hits in 14 scoreless innings to start the series.

Cincinnati (0-2) pulled within two runs at 4-2 in the top of the seventh after Eric Santiago and Griffin Merritt hit back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning. Merritt’s double down the left field line scored Santiago, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 4-2.

Wofford transfer Rasesh Pandya then entered the game with no outs and cooled off the Bearcats’ rally by retiring the side. Geoffrey Gilbert came on in the eighth to earn the save.

The Tigers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-out single through the right side by catcher Jonathan French, scoring Brewer, who drew a one-out walk earlier in the inning.

Clemson and Cincinnati will conclude the series on Sunday at 1 p.m., as the Tigers go for the sweep.

–Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics Communications

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