For some it was just a routine opening weekend but for the Tigers it was far more than that. This weekend had the Tigers baseball team opening the 2020 season with a series vs Liberty, as well as the Tiger’s Softball team hosting the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.
The softball tournament saw the Clemson playing Maryland and Michigan State in their brand new stadium beside the Doug. And they did not disappoint.
Sunday, the baseball team got underway at 1pm while the softball team started at 1:30pm. Both would have a little drama mixed in, but they both ended the way fans wanted, with the Tigers winning.
The baseball team had five pitchers combine to hold Liberty to just five hits. Meanwhile, Adam Hackenberg had a big game at the plate with three hits and drove in three runs as the Tigers completed a sweep of the Flames with a 6-2 victory
Clemson broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when Elijah Henderson got a one out double down the left field line and Kier Meredith had an infield single that moved him over to 3rd. James Parker then walked to load the bases and Adam Hackenberg sent a 2-0 pitch into right center field for a two run single.
This is when Mat Clark replaced Spencer Strider on the mound and had no problems in the 4th. He did run into trouble in the 5th though, giving up a single to Brady Gulakowski, followed by a Ben Highfill two run HR over the wall in center.
The Tigers took the lead back in the bottom of the inning when James Parker lined a 1-2 pitch into left for a two out single, then quickly stole 2nd. That brought up Hackenberg, who hit a single through the left side, scoring Parker easily for a 3-2 lead after 5 innings.
Clemson later added another two out run in the 6th, when Mac Starbuck got a hustle double down the left field line and Elijah Henderson lined a run scoring single to center that made it 4-2.
They then added another run when Parker led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homer into the Chapman Grandstand to make it 5-2. The Tigers finished the scoring when Bryce Teodosio doubled to lead off the 8th, and moved to 3rd on Starbuck’s sacrifice bunt. Henderson then lofted a fly ball into center, and Teo beat the throw to the plate to make it a 6-2 game.
On the softball side, they had a little more if a back and forth affair, but it ended well and Clemson got the win. The Tigers jumped on Michigan State with three first inning runs.
This continued a big weekend for junior Marissa Guimbarda, who had a solo HR in the first, and Valerie Cagle (also the starting pitcher) who had a two run dinger in the same inning. Grace Mattimore then got an RBI double to right in the top of the 2nd that gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Clemson ran into a little trouble in the 3rd, when they saw a series of Michigan State grounders that gave the Tiger infield trouble. MSU would bring three runs home on 3 hits and 3 errors. Only one of the balls left the infield.
Cagle saw her day end in the 5th. After the first two Spartans reached, she then gave up her first earned run. Logan Caymol then came on and hit two Spartans with pitches, to bring in the tying run. She wouldn’t allow a hit over the next 3 innings.
The Lady Tigers got their winning rally started in the 6th inning. It came on an odd play when the MSU second baseman dropped the ball on an infield fly rule play with two Tigers on.
The runners moved up and a tag wasn’t applied (thinking it was a force play) to the runner. Cagle was then intentionally walked, and senior MK Bonamy’s grounder was mishandled at first. This allowed the go ahead runs to score. Guimbarda then registered a two run double to add some insurance, giving the Lady Tigers an 8-4 lead.
The Tiger Baseball team starts the season 3-0, while the Lady Tigers have now improved to 7-4 early in their inaugural season. These games capped off a great weekend for both the softball and baseball teams in Tigertown. Maybe we got just a glimpse of great things to come on the diamonds in Tigertown!