Slam Dunk: Tigers hit three homers to take game one over No. 8 Louisville

by - Senior Writer -
Share improved to 5-1 with the win (Photo by David Grooms)
Share improved to 5-1 with the win (Photo by David Grooms)

CLEMSON – Clemson homered three times against one of the best pitchers in college baseball and Davis Sharpe turned in a dominant performance as No. 13 Clemson defeated No. 8 Louisville 5-1 Friday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Logan Davidson, Kyle Wilkie, and Elijah Henderson all homered for the Tigers.

The loss broke a six-game winning streak for Louisville, which falls to 23-7 overall and 9-4 in the ACC. Clemson improves to 23-7 overall and 10-3 in the ACC, a game behind ACC Atlantic leader NC State, which improved to 11-2 in the league with a 6-5 win over Boston College Friday.

The Cardinals took advantage of a “free 90” to score the game’s first run. Alex Binelas was hit on the back foot by a 2-2 pitch from Sharpe and hopped down to first. He was called back to the plate by the umpire, who ruled Binelas wasn’t hit by the pitch, but a video review changed the call to Binelas back on the bag at first. Justin Lavey then roped a double into left-center to score Binelas, and the Cards held a 1-0 lead.

Louisville starting pitcher Reid Detmers was dominant early, using just 17 pitches (14 for strikes) to cruise through the first two innings. That all unraveled in the third. Bryce Teodosio doubled off the wall in left to lead off the inning, but Detmers recorded two quick outs, and it looked like he would get out of the frame. However, Sam Hall walked on a 3-2 count to put runners at first and second for Davidson. Davidson also worked a 3-2 count, then blasted a fastball over the wall in left for a 3-run homer and a 3-1 lead. The homer was Davidson’s 8th of the season.

Next up was Kyle Wilkie, who hit Detmer’s first pitch over the wall in left-center for a 4-1 lead and his first long ball of the season.

Elijah Henderson added to the damage in the fifth, lining a leadoff homer down the line in left for a 5-1 lead and his first homer of the season. Detmers entered the game having given up no homers in 49 innings on the season but gave up three in the first three innings Friday.

For the month of March, the lefthanded Detmers went 4-1 with a 0.98 ERA. Detmers recorded 62 strikeouts in just 36.2 innings while walking only four batters and was named the National Pitcher of the Month. That hot streak ended with his first start in April. Detmer finished the night by pitching six innings, giving up five runs (all earned), walking two and striking out 10.

Sharpe continued to keep the Cards at bay but tired in the 7th. A single and a walk put runners at first and second with two out, and Sharpe was replaced by Holt Jones. Jones’ first pitch to Jake Snider was smoked to first, but Byrd scooped up the grounder and touched first for the final out.

Sharpe was brilliant in his outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, an earned run, he walked one and struck out seven in 107 pitches (67 strikes). He earned the win and improved to 5-1 on the season.

The Cardinals missed a chance to score against Jones in the 8th. A walk and a stolen base had Trey Leonard at second, and a wild pitch went to the screen. Leonard broke for third as Wilkie walked to retrieve the ball, and when Leonard saw Wilkie’s lack of speed, he broke for the plate. Wilkie recovered in enough time to tag out the runner as Leonard slid into the plate.

Jones pitched the final 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run to earn the save, his third of the season.

Game two is scheduled for 5:00 pm Saturday with the finale set for Sunday at noon.

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