Tigers take opener at Virginia Tech

by - Correspondent -
Davis Sharpe delivered another strong outing on the road.
Davis Sharpe delivered another strong outing on the road.

BLACKSBURG, VA - Another great start from Davis Sharpe (6 IP, 5 K, 3 H) and great hitting from Grayson Byrd and Bryar Hawkins lead the Tigers to a 6-4 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies on Friday night in Blacksburg.

Byrd went 3-3 with two walks, a homer, two RBI’s and two runs scored. Hawkins had two hits and an RBI. Clemson was on base for the majority of the game as eight of nine Clemson starters reached base.

In the bottom of the first inning, Sharpe got off to a rough start by hitting the first two players he faced. He settled down to get catcher Carson Taylor to hit into a double play and designated hitter Luke Hornaski to ground out to second base to end the inning.

Clemson started the top of the second inning off with an infield single by first baseman Grayson Byrd and a double down the right-field line by designated hitter Bryar Hawkins. After Bo Majkowski was called out for leaning into a pitch and Bryce Teodosio flew out, Elijah Henderson hit a two-RBI single past the shortstop for his first career hit.

Logan Davidson led off the third inning with a deep fly ball that looked like it was gone, but Virginia Tech center fielder Nick Biddison leaped up and robbed the would-be home run. Grayson Byrd promptly stepped up one batter later and hit a no-doubter, pushing Clemson’s lead to 3-0.

Virginia Tech got on the board first in the bottom of the fourth inning. Taylor worked a 3-2 count before ripping a double to center field for the Hokies first hit of the game. Horsanki walked but was taken off the base path by a fielders choice off the bat of Tanner Thomas. With two outs and runners on first and third, Thomas broke for second base and proceeded to get in a run-down. He stayed in long enough for Taylor to score the Hokies first run of the game.

Clemson answered big in the top of the fifth with three runs of their own. With two outs, Logan Davidson reached on a base hit and advanced to third on a base hit by Kyle Wilkie. Davidson scored on a passed ball, and Wilkie was plated by a single from Byrd for his second RBI. Hawkins hit the third consecutive single for the Tigers which scored Byrd to put Clemson up 6-1.

Virginia Tech added another run the bottom of the sixth after right fielder Kerry Carpenter singled and advanced to second on a throwing error. Carpenter eventually came around to score on a passed ball to close the gap to 6-2.

The Hokies continued to close the gap in the bottom of the seventh. Owen Griffith came in for Sharpe and gave up two walks to go along with two strikeouts. Ryne Huggins relieved Griffith and gave up a two-RBI triple to Kerry Carpenter to push the score to 6-4. Carson Spiers came in and got the final out of the seventh for the Tigers.

Clemson threated to build upon their lead in the top of the ninth when Davidson hit a two-out ground rule double. Wilkie and Byrd followed up with walks, bringing Hawkins to the plate with the bases loaded. He lined out to right field, and the Hokies got out of the inning unscathed.

Virginia Tech threatened in the bottom of the ninth as leadoff hitter Jack Owens hit a single to right field. He advanced to third base on a single to left field by pinch hitter Dalton Harum. Grayson Byrd then made an outstanding play at first base for the final out of the game. Horanski hit a screamer toward first base, and Byrd laid out to snag the ground ball. He got up and tagged first to give the Tigers a 6-4 win and a 1-0 series lead.

Clemson and Virginia Tech will face off again in Blacksburg at 3 p.m. Mat Clark will take the mound for the Tigers on Saturday with a chance to win the series. The Tigers and Hokies will face off at 3 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.

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