CLEMSON Clemson third baseman Grayson Byrd struck out during the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night against Charleston Southern and received one of the loudest ovations of the evening as he walked back to the dugout.
Byrd’s final plate appearance might have ended in disappointment, but the junior earned the applause after homering in his first three trips to the plate. He drove in all five runs in Clemson’s 5-0 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
“That was my only ovation after a strikeout that I’ve had in my career,” Byrd said laughing, adding that it was the first three-homer game of his career. “I hit two, I think, when I was 10, but I’ve never hit three.”
Byrd entered the game with no home runs this season and one home run in his college career before going 3-for-4 with three homers and five RBIs on Tuesday. He was the 14th player in Clemson history to hit three homers in a game.
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It was an otherwise quiet night for both offenses as the fifth-ranked Tigers (16-1) finished with six hits and Charleston Southern (6-12) managed only four.
“It was Grayson Byrd’s night,” Tigers coach Monte Lee said. “We didn’t swing the bat particularly well tonight ... Luckily for us, Grayson was locked in and hit the ball well, and we pitched extremely well.”
Clemson starter Holt Jones (2-0) struck out the first seven batters he faced and pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
Travis Marr and Mat Clark added a scoreless inning of relief. Ryley Gilliam pitched 2/3 of an inning without allowing a run, before Bo Gobin closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Tigers will face N.C. State in a top 25 showdown this weekend.