Clemson University

Clemson holds off Wake Forest for first series win in more than a month

Clemson coach Monte Lee recaps Game 2 win against Wake Forest

Tigers held on for first series win since early April
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Tigers held on for first series win since early April

Jacob Hennessy started the season outside of Clemson’s starting rotation. He ended the regular season delivering one of the biggest starts of the Tigers’ season.

Hennessy tied a career high with 7 1/3 innings pitched and allowed two runs as the Tigers (33-22, 15-14) held off Wake Forest for a 10-9 victory Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The win gives Clemson its first series win since the first weekend of April when the Tigers won two out of three games against Louisville. The series finale is scheduled for Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

“We desperately needed a great start out of Jacob Hennessy. We needed him to step up and he gave us the biggest start really of the year, probably,” Tigers coach Monte Lee said. “This was a huge game for us. We all know the implications of this game. And he gave us a tremendous start.”

Hennessy, a junior, improved to 4-1 on the year with the win. The lefty struck out seven and allowed six hits while making his fifth start of the season.

Friday night’s game marked only the second ACC start for Hennessy this year, and he recorded his first ACC win of the season. The Moore native started 14 games for the Tigers a season ago before losing his starting spot entering 2019.

“I’m just gonna do whatever I need to do that’s best for the team,” Hennessy said. “I think when my name’s called I’m just ready to go. That’s the mindset I’ve taken this whole year and will take the rest of the season.”

Freshman Davis Sharpe was scheduled to start Friday night’s game, but Sharpe was feeling some soreness and the training staff thought it would be best to give him an extra day of rest. He is expected to start Saturday’s series finale.

With Sharpe needing an extra day, Lee was confident Hennessy would pitch well.

“He always thinks that he’s ready and wants the baseball when he’s called upon. I’m glad he delivered today. We certainly needed him,” Lee said. “We know that Jacob’s going to give you confidence when he goes out there. He thinks he can beat anybody in the country and he certainly was dominant for us today.”

Clemson pounded out 16 hits in the victory, led by Michael Green, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs.

Grayson Byrd, Kyle Wilkie, Bryar Hawkins and Justin Hawkins also had multiple hits for the Tigers, with Byrd hitting his 14th home run of the season.

Wake Forest took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Tigers responded with five runs in the second. Clemson opened the second with seven consecutive hits to grab control.

The Tigers pushed across three more runs in the fourth inning and led 8-1 entering the eighth before the Demon Deacons rallied.

Wake Forest trailed 10-4 in the ninth but plated five runs, with four of them coming on a grand slam by Chris Lanzilli with two outs.

Bobby Seymour, who had a three-run homer for the Demon Deacons in the eighth inning, flied out to deep center to end the game.

“It’s big for us,” Lee said. “I don’t think we’ve solidified anything. We need to find a way to win tomorrow’s game. Tomorrow’s really a two-game swing. There’s a big difference bteween being 15-15 (in the ACC) and 16-14. You win tomorrow you’re two games over .500 and if you don’t you’re .500.”