Jordan Pandy, Correspondent (@ on Twitter)
TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – The no. 4 Clemson Tigers edge the Florida State Seminoles in a game that was a lot closer than it should have been. Clemson senior Seth Beer drove in four runs, including the final two runs of the game to give the Tigers the final lead 12-10.
“It was a good ballgame, it was a great ballgame – I hope everybody enjoyed that one,” Florida State head coach Mike Martin said, admittedly, sarcastically after the game, but he was not wrong from a fan’s perspective.
The last time these two teams met was in the ACC championship game last year where Clemson won in an 18-13 offensive showdown. This game did not quite have as many runs scored as the last meeting, but it was just as much, if not more, fun.
This game looked like it was going to be a laugher early. The Tigers (30-5, 14-2) put up 10 runs through four innings including a seven-run 2nd inning where we saw five straight Clemson RBI doubles. Florida State (21-15, 7-9) starter Cole Sands had a dreadful outing lasting only 1.2 innings giving up six runs on six hits, but the game, somehow, was far from over.
After the second Seminole relief pitcher Grant Stewart gave up a homerun on his first pitch in the 4th inning to make the score 10-1, he as well as the rest of the pitching staff calmed down the Clemson bats. After scoring in four straight innings, the Tigers did not score again until the final two runs in the 9th. Then, the Seminole bats came – slowly but surely, but still came.
Hits were hard to come by early for the Noles, as Clemson starting pitcher Charlie Barnes did not allow a hit until the 3rd inning. Once the Seminoles batted around the order, they started to look more comfortable at the plate and started to get some contact on the ball.
After not scoring a run – or recording a hit – in the first two innings, the Seminoles found some rhythm offensively, scoring in five straight innings. Thanks to a good day at the plate from second baseman Matt Henderson who went 3-for-4, with four RBI and a run scored, and third baseman Dylan Busby who hit 2-for-4 brining in three runs, two of which were the game-tying runs in the 7th inning after a single up the middle.
In the first game of a series, it’s easy to pack it up and look ahead to the next game when down by so much so early, but this Florida State team showed a lot of grit to climb back into this game.
“Really you’re never out of a game,” said junior infielder Busby. “We were down pretty big early. It shows we can fight; it shows how we can come back from 10-1 and really make it a ballgame. It shows that we’re just as good as everyone else in the conference – just going through a little rut.”
The Noles have lost seven of their last 10 games – now four straight – but Martin was still proud of how his team fought back tonight against a great Clemson team.
“I have never been prouder of a group of guys,” said Martin. “I hurt for them because of the fact that they did not win. We got after it, things didn’t go our way – you tip your hat to Clemson. There is a reason they’re [Clemson] whatever they are in our league [No. 4].”
Tyler Holton (4-1, 2.47 ERA) will get the start tomorrow at 2pm against the Tigers in a game the Noles should be fired up to play in. Florida State proved that they can compete with the best teams in the country and will try to improve on their game tonight.