Following Sunday’s loss to Virginia, Clemson coach Monte Lee said the Tigers needed to do a better job of finishing at all phases of the game … pitching with two strikes, playing defense with two outs and picking up runners at the plate with two outs.
Unfortunately for Lee, his team did not show much improvement on Tuesday in a 13-6 loss to the College of Charleston at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said.
With the loss, Clemson lost its third straight game overall and fell to 3-3 in midweek games this season.
Against the Cavaliers the Tigers (15-14) gave up eight two-out hits, allowing them to score five of their six runs in those situations. Clemson was 2-for-11 with two outs and failed to bring runners home in scoring position in a one-run loss.
On Tuesday, the Cougars (13-14) did not kill it on two outs like Virginia did, but they did score three runs–on a passed ball and a bases-clearing-double by Ari Sechopoulos–in the decisive fifth inning to blow open the game.
The also added six more runs in the top of the ninth inning to add insult to injury.
The four-run fifth inning by Charleston, coupled with Clemson’s inability to pick up runners after getting the lead-off man on was the difference in the game.
“We got to get out of our own way,” Lee said. “Some of our guys are putting too much pressure on themselves to perform outside of just going out there and being aggressive and competing.”
Clemson got the lead-off man on in the second-seventh innings, but scored just two runs in doing so. The Tigers were just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position prior to the eighth inning.
“The bottom line is this game boils down to guys that can pitch with runners on base and hit with runners on base,” Lee said. “That’s what it boils down to. Your high leverage relievers are guys that can pitch with runners on base. And your high leverage hitters are guys that can hit with runners on base.
“The difference in the game, and you look, we had just as many hits as they did tonight. But the difference is we have to hit with runners on base and we have to pitch our way out of spots with runners on base.”
James Parker hit a solo home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, cutting the Charleston lead in half at the time, 2-1.
The Tigers finally picked up the lead-off runner and brought him home when Parker hit up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to score Max Wagner, who led off the inning with single through the right side.
Parker’s base knock cut Charleston’s lead to 7-2 after seven innings. Wagner had an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to produce the Tigers’ third run.
Jonathan French came on to pinch hit with two outs and two on in the bottom of the ninth inning and drilled a three run home run to straighway center field. That cut the Charleston lead to 13-6.
After scoring on a fielder’s choice in the top of the third inning, the Cougars got solo home runs from Tanner Steffy to lead off the fourth and Luke Stageberg to start the fifth inning.
Freshman Ty Olenchuk suffered the loss for the Tigers, while William Privette earned the win for Charleston.
Clemson will travel to Miami on Friday to start a three-game series in Coral Gables, Fla. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
–Photo courtesy of Clemson Athletics Communications