Sharpe stays sharp, Tigers continue homer barrage in sweeping doubleheader

by - Senior Writer -
Sharpe slides home with the Tigers' first run (Photo by David Grooms)
Sharpe slides home with the Tigers' first run (Photo by David Grooms)

CLEMSON – Clemson was supposed to win with speed and station-to-station baseball in 2019. Through the first six games of the season, the Tigers are still winning with the long ball and pitching.

Davis Sharpe continues to impress, pitching six strong innings, and the Tigers hit three more homers in defeating VMI 8-2 Saturday evening at Doug Kingsmore in the second game of a doubleheader. Clemson won the first game 8-6 and will go for the series sweep Sunday at 1 p.m.

Adam Hackenberg, Grayson Byrd, and Bryar Hawkins all homer for the Tigers, who now have 14 after six games. That includes a two-run shot by Jordan Greene in the first game. New Mexico St. hit four homers Saturday and leads the nation with 17, while Clemson is second with 14.

Clemson improves to 5-1 with the win while VMI falls to 2-5 with the loss.

The teams were scoreless through three innings, and it was Sharpe who helped the Tigers break out in the fourth. Clemson was held hitless through the first three innings, but Sharpe singled through the left side with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Byrd then laced a double into the gap in left-center, scoring Sharpe for the 1-0 lead. Jordan Greene followed that with a walk to put runners at first and second, but Chad Fairey flew out to center for the second out.

That brought up Hackenberg, who smoked a 1-1 pitch well over the wall in left for a 3-run shot, his second homer of the season. Through four innings, Clemson led 4-0.

Byrd joined the long ball party in the bottom of the sixth, hitting a high fly into the Cajun Café in right for his first homer of the season and a 5-0 Tiger lead.

Sharpe’s day was done after six innings. He gave up a hit to lead off the game, but the Keydets failed to scratch out of a hit after that, and he finished with two walks and 11 strikeouts to earn the win. Through the first 11 innings of his collegiate career, Sharpe has pitched 11 innings, given up three hits, no runs, walked three and struck out 19.

Owen Griffith replaced Sharpe in the seventh, and the Keydets finally got on the board with three walks and an RBI groundout. With runners at second and third and two out, Griffith extricated himself from the jam by getting a strikeout.

The Tigers piled on in the bottom of the frame. Bryce Teodosio hit a one-out infield single, and then things got a little weird. Sam Hall lofted what looked like an easy fly on the infield, but the first baseman battled the lights as Teodosio broke for second. Teodosio scrambled back to first, and just as he arrived back at the base, the ball fall fair and untouched just off the first base line behind the bag. Teodosio then broke for second, and even though he should have been thrown out easily, the first baseman couldn’t get a handle on the ball, and all the runners were safe.

Bryar Hawkins pinch-hit for Michael Green, and Teodosio broke for the third on a steal attempt but was called out. The Tigers challenged the call, and the replay showed that the third baseman never tagged the runner, putting runners at second and third with one out. Hawkins made the Keydets pay by launching a long three-run homer to right-center for the first hit of his collegiate career. After seven, Clemson led 8-1.

The Keydets added a run in the eighth against reliever Luke Sommerfeld, who stranded runners at the corners to end the inning.

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