Long ball helps Tigers snap 6-game skid

Long ball helps Tigers snap 6-game skid

Baseball

Long ball helps Tigers snap 6-game skid

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Clemson beats Georgia State, 7-2

Thanks to a four-run sixth inning to blow open the game, Clemson snapped a six-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over Georgia State Tuesday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

The Tigers got home runs from Jonathan French and Bryce Teodosio to get back in the win column for the first time in two weeks. They also got a double and an RBI from Kier Meredith, while Elijah Henderson and Caden Grice were credited with RBIs as well.

Georgia State lost its eighth straight game.

“It was just great to a win tonight,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said after the game. “We played a complete ballgame.”

Clemson (6-8) broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring four runs on three hit and one Panthers’ error. Teodosio got the big hit of the inning when he blasted a 2-2 offering with no outs to centerfield for a two-run homer, which also scored Bryar Hawkins, who led off the inning with a drawn walk.

Meredith and Henderson scored later in the inning thanks to a throwing error and a sacrifice fly from Grice. Clemson led 7-2 after six innings.

The Tigers carried a one-run lead, 3-2, into the bottom of the sixth thanks to Teodosio, who made a-two-out-over-the-shoulder catch while tumbling into the wall in left centerfield. The junior then stepped up to the plate with a runner on and no outs in the bottom frame to give Clemson control of the game.

“If he does not catch that ball, they tie the ballgame right there and they have the (go-ahead run) in scoring position,” Lee said. “I don’t know the whole country, but I would be hard press to say that I don’t know a better pure centerfielder in the country than Bryce Teodosio. He is pretty special out there.

“And when he has a productive offensive game for us down there in the bottom of the order, that is huge for us. (His catch) was the turning point in the game right there.”

It was a confidence boosting sixth inning for the Tigers’ bats, who have struggled to pick up runners or make many hits at all during the six-game skid. Clemson’s three hits in the seventh inning matched the number of hits it had the entire game against UNC this past Sunday.

Clemson had just seven combined hits in the last two games against the Tar Heels. The seven runs on Tuesday night marked the most in a game for the Tigers over the last seven games. Four was the most they had scored prior to Tuesday during the losing streak.

“We needed it. We needed the big inning there in the sixth inning,” Lee said. “We put together some good at-bats. It was just a matter of time for us. The guys were incredibly excited. The energy was phenomenal throughout the whole game in the dugout.”

Five Clemson pitchers combined to allow just four Georgia State hits. They struck out 14 batters and walked three.

Nick Hoffmann (2-0) earned the win. The righty came in for starter Ricky Williams with one out in the third inning. He pitched two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit, while striking out two.

“Out of the first seven batters he faced, he was six out of seven first-pitch strikes. He did a heck of a job,” Lee said.

Rasesh Pandya, Nick Clayton and Alex Edmondson also helped with the victory on the mound. Clayton had five strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings of work.

“I thought Nick Clayton was dominant,” Lee said. “He struck out the first five hitters he faced. You talk about trying to win the last nine outs of the ballgame, a guy comes in and pitches like that, it is pretty dang impressive.”

Clemson will return to action on Friday when its host Virginia Tech in Game 1 of a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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