Davidson homers and drives in three as Tigers win season opener

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by - Senior Writer -
Davidson celebrates his homer (Photo by David Grooms)
Davidson celebrates his homer (Photo by David Grooms)

CLEMSON – Logan Davidson and Michael Green homered and No. 14 Clemson overcame a slow start to defeat South Alabama 6-2 in the 2018 season opener Friday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Green had two hits, and Davidson drove in three runs. Reliever Mat Clark pitched three scoreless innings in picking up the win, while Carson Spiers pitched the final 1 1/3 innings in picking up the save.

The Tigers were 1-2 in season openers under Lee and had lost four of the last five overall.

"What a great Opening Day for us. Had a great crowd today and played a really good baseball game," Lee said. "I want to give credit to our pitching and our defense first and foremost. We had one free 90 on the day, one walk, and our defense was outstanding. I thought our infield defense played really well today and (Kyle) Wilkie did a great job today behind the play.

"Our pitching staff, Brooks Crawford gave us a great start. He gave up the two solo home runs but continued to challenge hitters and forced them to swing the bat. Brought Mat Clark in and he was outstanding. And then Carson Spiers, again made a big play to end the eighth against their best hitter. Just overall, I thought we pitched extremely well."

Starter Brooks Crawford was solid through three innings but ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. With one out, freshman Ethan Wilson lofted a deep fly ball to left for the first hit of his collegiate career and a 1-0 lead for South Alabama. The next batter, Wells Davis, cranked a 2-1 fastball over the wall in center for a 2-0 lead.

Crawford pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing just three baserunners and striking out one.

Clemson was limited to one hit through the first four innings. Jaguar starter Drake Nightengale held the Tigers in check through the first 4 1/3 innings but walked Sam Hall on a 3-2 pitch. Nightengale’s day was done after 89 pitches, and he was replaced by lefty Jared Proctor.

Proctor walked Green on a 3-2 pitch to put runners at first and second, bringing up Davidson. Hitting from the right side of the plate, Davidson smoked a bomb over the Chapman Grandstand in left for a 3-2 lead. The homer was the 28th of his Clemson career.

"Walking up to the plate, it's obviously going through your head that hey I can hit a home run right here and give us the lead," Davidson said. "Going into the weekend, we've got two righties starting so I was preparing a lot from the left side. So when I step into the right side of the box my head is kind of clear because I haven't been doing as much or thinking as much. I was looking fastball and he gave me one right there."

The Tigers added to the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Transfer outfielder Green, a sophomore that played at Florence-Darlington Technical College, smoked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for a 4-2 Clemson lead.

"I have to give Coach (Bradley) LeCroy the credit for that one," Green said. "He told me that guy was a slider pitcher, so he told me to step back in the box in a little bit. I did that and he threw me a slider and I got a hold of it. If I had been in my regular spot I probably wouldn't have been able to get my hands extended."

The Jaguars loaded the bases with two out in the top of the eighth, with Clark giving up a double, a single and a walk, and he was replaced by closer Carson Spiers. Spiers speared a comebacker and threw out the batter at first to kill the rally.

Clark pitched three innings, giving up three hits while walking one and striking out four. Clark picks up the win in relief.

Clemson put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth. Bryce Teodosio lined a two-out single to left, and Bo Majkowski stroked a single to left-center. Teodosio sprinted for third on the play, and Majkowski took second on the throw. That brought up Sam Hall, who smoked a 0-2 pitch to left-center that plated both runners for a 6-2 lead.

Due to forecasted inclement weather on Sunday, the series times this weekend at Doug Kingsmore Stadium have been altered. The final two games of the series were originally scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. The teams are now scheduled to conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m., with approximately 60 minutes in between games.

Tickets for Saturday’s originally-scheduled game will be valid for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Tickets for Sunday’s originally-scheduled game will be valid for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.


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