For the first time this season, Clemson softball was tested in not one, but two games in a split doubleheader with Northwestern and Ohio State.
The Tigers had outscored their opponents 69-9 over the first 7 games of the season, reaching double digits in hits in each game.
That ended Saturday, but the Tigers came away with two wins on a beautiful day on the Clemson campus.
In game one, Valerie Cagle’s 2-run home run in the first staked the Tigers to an early lead and the Tigers added an insurance run in the top of the 5th, which proved to be the difference in the game.
After starting pitcher Millie Thompson ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth, Cagle came in to record the final out on one pitch to earn the save.
Thompson improved her record to 3-0 on the season in the 3-2 win and it was Cagle’s first save of the season.
The second game featured more Cagle than Ohio State ever wanted to see. Cagle came to the plate with two on and Clemson nursing a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth and promptly deposited and 0-2 pitch deep into the night over the left centerfield fence to make it a 5-1 game, which was the final score.
Clemson softball superstar Valerie Cagle is off to an incredible start in 2023
Cagle also pitched a complete game, giving up only 3 hits and 1 run, while striking out 7 and walking 1 to move to 5-0 on the season with a 0.92 ERA.
At the plate, Cagle is batting .517 with 5 HR 11 RBI, OBP .576 and is slugging 1.207, in what has been a remarkable start, even by Cagle’s standards.
Clemson’s team batting average took a bit of a hit in the two games, but their still at a robust .403 and slugging at .710 through the first 9 games.
The Tigers conclude the ACC/Big 10 Challenge by hosting Ohio State at 12:30 p.m. at McWhorter Stadium on the Clemson campus.