One game doesn’t make a season.
No. 12 Clemson came into the first game of the college baseball season losers of its past three opening days.
The Tigers made that four in a row Friday when Wright State outhit the home team to pull out a 6-4 win in front of 5,683 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“It was a tough one,” Clemson coach Monte Lee said. “I think every time we made a mistake, (Wright State) made us pay. They did an unbelievable job of hitting with runners in scoring position, coming up with big hits with runners on base. Ultimately, that was the difference in the ball game. We just couldn’t come up with that big hit with runners on base and they did.”
The Tigers (0-1) have lost five of the past six openers, a run the program hasn’t seen since dropping five in a row from 1961-65, but they’ve also made the NCAA postseason every year since 2008 and won the ACC tournament last season.
“Have you ever heard of an undefeated baseball team? I haven’t,” said Clemson star Seth Beer, who went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. “You’re going to win some and lose some. It’s whoever gets back up and gets back up after you fall, those are the true champions.”
Clemson had more quality at-bats, but it also stranded three more runners than Wright State (1-0). Clemson had a runner tagged out trying to score from third on a bunt in the second inning, and Beer struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth.
“We just have to execute,” said Lee, whose team looks to even the series at 2 p.m. Saturday. “I think that’s the bottom line.”
Logan Davidson had a successful Clemson debut. The true freshman shortstop went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Grayson Byrd had three hits and one RBI in his first game as a Tiger.
K.J. Bryant went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Tigers.
Clemson reliever Tyler Jackson (0-1) picked up the loss after allowing two earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched. Tiger starter Charlie Barnes lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Jason Foster (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Trevor Swaney. Foster gave up one hit and collected two outs.
“I really saw some good things out of our club, but in tight ballgames, it really boils down to who is going to make mistakes,” Lee said.