CLEMSON BASEBALL

Tigers slam Musketeers to win season opener in a rout
Cooper Blauser (4) reacts after hitting his homer (Photo by Merrell Mann).

Tigers slam Musketeers to win season opener in a rout


by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The boys of summer are back.

Clemson pounded out two grand slams and hit three homers as part of a 14-hit attack in defeating Xavier 14-3 in the season opener for both teams at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Friday afternoon.

Newcomer Alden Mathes and Nolan Nawrocki each hit grand slams and Cam Cannarella just missed one of his own – it was a three-run double – for the Tiger attack. Every Clemson starter tallied at least one hit and scored a run. Cannarella led the way with three hits while Mathes walked three times.

Xavier touched Clemson starter Billy Barlow for two runs to lead off the first. An error, two singles, a passed ball, and a sacrifice fly, led to the quick 2-0 lead, a lead that was short-lived.

Cannarella, Will Taylor and Blake Wright hit laced back-to-back-to-back singles to lead off the bottom of the first, loading the bases for Mathes, a Richmond transfer. Xavier starter Luke Hoskins jumped ahead of Mathes 0-2, but Mathes rallied and launched a 1-2 pitch deep over the wall in right-center for his first homer as a Tiger, a grand slam that gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

Three singles and two outs later, Cannarella walked to the plate with the bases loaded and he laced an opposite field double off the wall in left-center, scoring all three runs for a 7-2 Clemson lead after just one inning.

Hoskins, the starting for Xavier, allowed seven earned runs just once last season when he allowed seven to Cincinnati, in March. That was over three innings.

Cooper Blauser, the son of former Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs shortstop Jeff Blauser, led off the bottom of the third with the first hit of his Clemson career, a solo homer over the wall in left-center, and the Tigers led 8-2.

The Tigers poured it on in the bottom of the fourth. Jimmy Obertop walked, Andrew Ciufo reached on a fielders choice (that forced Mathes, who walked to lead off the frame), and Blauser walked to load the bases. Nawrocki waited back on an 0-2 pitch and blasted a grand slam over the wall in left-center for a 12-2 lead. The homer was the first of Nawrocki’s Clemson career.

Barlow earned the win with his five innings of work. After the first inning, he allowed just one more hit and finished by striking out two with no walks. Drew Titsworth pitched 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while Rocco Reid closed out the final 1 1/3, allowing one run.

Clemson added a run in the bottom of the eighth. Nathan Hall laced a single through the hole between short and third to score Mathes for the 13th run.

Game two is Saturday at 2 pm, with Tristan Smith on the bump for the Tigers.


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