After two straight losses by Clemson baseball, the Tigers’ streak continued against the College of Charleston on Tuesday night. In a 13-6 defeat, Clemson had a strong leadoff hitting performance, getting 6-of-9 leadoff hitters on base, but failed to score enough runs to keep up with the Cougars’ 13 runs.
The story of the game for the Tigers was once again not finishing off innings; as head coach Monte Lee said, “The bottom line is this game boils down to guys that can pitch with runners on base and hit with runners on base.”
To Lee’s point, the Tigers had 10 men left on base by batters, as opposed to Charleston’s six.
“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 Tigers opened the game with Ty Olenchuk pitching. Although he started the game giving up zero runs in the first two innings, that trend did not last long, as he ultimately gave up three runs before being pulled for Rasesh Pandya in the fifth inning.
After a 43-minute lightning delay in the top of the fifth inning, Ari Sechopouloshit hit a two-run double down the right-field line that gave Charleston a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. For the Tigers, Bryce Teodosio hit a leadoff single to right field, but despite that hit and having three men on base in the inning, Clemson struggled to find home plate and ended up scoring no runs.
In the top of the seventh inning, Charleston’s Tanner Steffy hit a home run to center field, extending the Cougars’ lead to 7-1. However, with James Parker’s single for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh, Bryar Hopkins was able to cross home plate, and the Tigers shortened Charleston’s lead back to six runs.
Clemson continued to cut into Charleston’s lead in the eighth inning, scoring another run. Still, Charleston exacerbated the outcome for the Tigers, scoring six more runs in the top of the ninth. That inning seemed to be the nail in the coffin and yet another example of the Tigers failing to successfully finish off innings and games.
From the players’ perspective, it seems that they are putting a significant amount of pressure on themselves to perform at an elite level.
“We just put so much pressure on ourselves individually to where we hinder ourselves to be able to make a play,” said Clemson’s Sam Hall.
The Tigers now sit at 15-14 on the season, leaving plenty of room for improvement. However, that improvement will have to come quickly, as the Tigers have a three-game stint at the Miami Hurricanes beginning on Friday.