MYRTLE BEACH - Jack Leggett said his Clemson baseball team needed to survive on pitching and defense early this season. So far, so good.
Josh Cribb went six strong innings Friday and his teammates played flawless defense behind him, as the Tigers (1-0) opened the 2005 season with a 7-2 win over West Virginia (2-1) at the Baseball at the Beach tournament in Myrtle Beach. The game was the opener of a four-team, round-robin event being played at Coastal Federal Field, home of the Carolina League (Class A) Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Cribb (1-0) scattered nine hits in his six innings of work, allowing single runs in third and fifth innings.
The only inning in which the Mountaineers threatened to do more damage was the fifth when, with two outs, doubled home Tyler Kuhn to cut Clemson's lead at the time to 6-2. Stan Pozluszny followed with a hard ground ball past the mound that seemed headed for centerfield, but freshman second baseman Taylor Harbin made a skidding, backhanded stop behind second base and threw out Pozluszny at first to save a run and end the inning.
Cribb pitched a scoreless sixth, then turned over matters to reliever Jeff Hahn. Hahn pitched two perfect innings, then gave way to Drew Fiorenza in the ninth.
Fiorenza found himself in a two on, two out jam in the ninth, but catcher Adrian Casanova picked off WVU's Michael Burger at first base for the game's final out.
Freshman Brad Chalk and junior Travis Storrer each drove in two runs to pace the Clemson offense. Chalk's two-run double highlighted a five-run second inning for the Tigers. Storrer had run-scoring hits in both the first and second innings.
Shawn Miller (0-1) was the starter and loser for West Virginia. Only two of the six runs he allowed were earned.
Clemson returns to action at 4 p.m. Saturday, facing Coastal Carolina in the tournament's second round.
Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.