Bye-bye Byrdie: Grayson Byrd homers three times as Tigers win again

by - Senior Writer -
Byrd is congratulated at home plate after his homer in the second
Byrd is congratulated at home plate after his homer in the second

CLEMSON – Byrd’s fly best when the wind is blowing.

Grayson Byrd homered three times as No. 10 Clemson defeated Charleston Southern 5-0 on a cold and windy night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Tuesday night. Clemson improves to 16-1 with the win while Charleston Southern falls to 6-12 with the loss.

Byrd’s three-homer game marked the 14th time the feat has been accomplished in Clemson baseball history. Byrd entered the game with just one homer in his collegiate career, that coming last year at Georgia Tech. The last time a Clemson player hit three homers in a game was in 2010 when John Hinson went 5-for-6 with three home runs against USC Upstate in a 22-4 Clemson win.

The Tigers managed just six hits in the cold conditions, and Byrd had three of those, all with the long ball. Matt Cooper got the start at designated hitter and had two hits.

Clemson head coach Monte Lee said Byrd and the Clemson pitching staff were the difference.

“Offensively it was Grayson Byrd’s night driving in every run and hitting three homers,” Lee said. “Luckily for us, Grayson was locked in and hit the ball well. Today was all about our pitching staff. Holt Jones was outstanding in his first start, striking out his first seven had a heck of a first start.”

The Tigers got on the board in the second, and it was Byrd that got the fireworks started. He fell into an early 0-1 hole and then lofted a fly ball down the left field line that carried in the wind. The left fielder fell down, and the ball cleared the wall near the foul pole for his first homer of the season and a 1-0 lead.

Byrd was a big part of the scoring in the fourth. Seth Beer walked with one out and moved to second when Chris Williams was hit by a pitch. Drew Wharton flew out to deep left for the second out, bringing up Byrd. Ahead 1-0 in the count, Byrd turned on an inside fast ball and drove it deep into the Cajun Café for a 4-0 lead.

Holt Jones was more than up to the task in his first career start. Holt struck out the first seven batters he faced and wound up pitching 5 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out eight. He didn’t allow a run and didn’t allow a hit until the sixth. He was replaced by Travis Marr after that single and Marr pitched out of further trouble.

Jones picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Marr gave up one hit in one inning of work, Mat Clark worked a perfect inning, Ryley Gilliam. Bo Gobin pitched the ninth.

Clemson returns to action Friday, hosting NC State in the first game of a three-game ACC series. First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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