Clemson's season teetering following another loss

Clemson's season teetering following another loss

Baseball

Clemson's season teetering following another loss

By

CHARLOTTE – The wait begins.

And it will be a nerve-wracking one for Clemson’s baseball team.

The Tigers’ postseason chances clashed with a virtual must-win scenario Thursday after Clemson dropped its ACC Tournament opener to North Carolina two days earlier. But top-seeded Virginia Tech made sure the Tigers left the Queen City empty-handed in their bid to enhance a bubbly resume for the NCAA Tournament.

Max Wagner tied a program record with his 27th home run of the season, but it was one of the few highlights for Clemson (35-23) in a tournament finale in which the Tigers trailed from the start. Tech (41-11) swatted six homers against five Tiger pitchers, including four as part of a seven-run third, in handing Clemson an 18-6 loss Thursday at Truist Field. Beginning the week with an RPI ranking in the high 30s but just 13 ACC victories, the Tigers were outscored 27-8 in its tournament losses.

Now they’ll be sweating and hoping their body of work is good enough for a regional berth when the 64-team field is announced Monday. Clemson is in danger of missing consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time since the Reagan administration.

“We’re right there, but ultimately we didn’t do some things that we needed to do all in all over the course of the season to leave no doubt,” Lee said of Clemson’s at-large chances. “I think that’s the main thing. It’s disappointing.”

Tech finished with 15 hits and had 10 runs less than three frames in against a Clemson pitching staff with an earned run average north of 4.6 coming into the tournament. The Hokies scored in each of the first three innings against freshman right-hander Billy Barlow (2-4), who allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits and walked three in his 13th start of the season.

Carson Jones ended Barlow’s night with a no-doubter to right with two outs in the third. Clemson coach Monte Lee brought on another freshman, Austin Gordon, but Tech kept the long balls coming, hitting back-to-back-to-back jacks off the right-hander in the inning to push its lead to 10-2.

Wagner brought Will Taylor home in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run homer to left-center, tying the record set by Khalil Greene in 2002 for the most home runs in a single season.

“Really my approach was just attack first pitch no matte what is is and just hit pitches that I’m getting that are in the strike zone,” Wagner said. “That’s what I did tonight. Took some really good wings on some balls.”

Freshman outfielder Camden Troyer got the Tigers a little closer with another two-run shot in the fourth, but the Hokies blanked Clemson over the final five innings while the Tigers’ pitching continued to struggle. Senior Jackson Lindley walked three of the four batters he faced in the fourth as Clemson issued 10 free passes on the night.

Geoffrey Gilbert, who started each of the previous five games he pitched, came on with one out in the inning for his first relief appearance since April 20. His 2 2/3 innings of work tied the longest outing of the night for a Clemson pitcher, though he yielded two more runs on three hits, including Nick Biddison’s solo shot in the seventh.

“Geoff, transitioning from reliever to starter, it’s taken a little bit of a toll on him from a recovery standpoint. He did not feel comfortable starting,” Lee said. “He felt like he could probably give us two to three innings, and he felt more comfortable coming out of the bullpen where he would have a little more time to get ready to come in to pitch. He just didn’t feel quite at 100%.”

Jones tagged Tech’s final homer off Ryan Ammons as part of a four-run ninth for the Hokies. Ammons allowed four hits and walked one over the final two innings.

“Obviously our offense is the discussion of that game,” Tech coach John Szefc said.

Troyer finished with two of Clemson’s six hits. Biddison went 3-for-3 with five RBIs for Tech.

Congratulations! You did it! You graduated! Now is the time to preserve your diploma in a custom frame. Here at Clemson Variety & Frame, we build all our frames in-house – from the frame to the mats and etchings to the installation – to guarantee the quality. You worked hard for your degree. Trust us to show your diploma in the best light possible.

Latest

2hr

A former Clemson football star in the NFL is at the top of an impressive list. The Atlanta Falcons showed some love to A.J. Terrell via Twitter on Saturday, posting a graphic on the former Tiger and (…)

More The Clemson Insider