Clemson’s baseball team completed something on Sunday few thought they could do when its weekend series with No. 4 Louisville began on Friday.
They completed a three-game sweep. It marked the first time in its seven-year ACC history Louisville was swept by a league opponent.
The Tigers got a three-run home run from Davis Sharpe in the first inning, while eight different players drove in at least one run in a 15-5 victory over the Cardinals at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
“We challenged our guys. Our guys were aware of it,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said after the game. “That is just a testament to how good Louisville has been and is. They have never been swept and we challenged our guys, ‘Hey! Let’s make history today.’ They have never been swept before. They have a great club.
“It was just a challenge to our guys, ‘Look we won the series and that is all fine and dandy, but we have a game to play today and lets have a sense of urgency to play good baseball today.’ And we certainly did that.”
The Tigers played great all weekend. Clemson outscored the Cardinals 31-12 in the three-game series.
“It just put a chip on our shoulder. We wanted to do something no one has ever done,” Sharpe said. “This was a big game for us, regardless of making history like that. It put a little more charge into our energy and I am glad we could do it.
“It’s a big weekend. We needed it.”
However, as good as things turned out, Sunday did not start off too well for the Tigers. Senior Mat Clark, who was honored before the game with nine of his teammates as part of Senior Day, gave up three home runs in the first inning.
Cooper Bowman, Henry Davis and Alex Binelas hit solo shots to give Louisville a 3-0 lead.
After Louisville (23-14, 14-9 ACC) had its three solo home runs in the top of the first, Clemson responded with five runs on six hits–five of which were singles–to take a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Caden Grice and Adam Hackenberg had back-to-back RBI singles with one out and then Sharpe hit his three-run bomb (374 feet) to left center field with two outs for the 5-3 lead.
“He hung a curveball and I hit it well,” Sharpe said. “It changed the momentum of the whole game, I think. Then we just kept tacking on runs. And, how about our lineup today? We hit the ball really well. We hit the ball really good all weekend.
“How about our pitching staff? We could not have asked for more from them.”
Louisville and Clemson combined for four home runs in the first inning and then finished the game with six. Binelas hit a solo shot in the top of the fifth inning and then Clemson’s Bryce Teodosio answered with a solo home run of his own in the bottom part of the inning.
The Tigers (21-18, 15-12 ACC) got four hits and two RBIs from Grice, bringing his weekend total to 12 RBIs. He had four home runs and 10 RBIs in the first two games of the series.
Grice was 4-for-4 at the plate and had two walks, one of which was intentional.
Hackenberg also had three hits and two RBIs, while James Parker had three as well and drove in a couple of runs. Kier Meredith had two hits and two RBIs and Sam Hall drove in one run and had two hits as well.
Clemson finished the afternoon with a season-high 18 hits, while its 15 runs were the second most this season. It scored 16 runs on March 26 at Boston College.
The Tigers will host USC-Upstate on Wednesday at 6 p.m.