Clemson Tigers Baseball Win Series over Florida State

Clemson sophomore Caden Grice (31) hits the ball during the bottom of the first inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Sunday, March 6,2022.Ncaa Baseball South Carolina At Clemson
Clemson sophomore Caden Grice (31) hits the ball during the bottom of the first inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson Sunday, March 6,2022.Ncaa Baseball South Carolina At Clemson /

The Clemson Tiger’s baseball team secured a 2-1 series win over the Florida State Seminoles, earning the team’s first ACC series win of the season.

These games were defined by aggressive gameplay, big risks on the base paths, and clutch pitching performances from both sides. In a hard fought series which could have swung either direction, the Tigers were able to get the job done against their hated rivals in Tallahassee.

GAME 1: Seminoles win 5-1

The biggest question for Florida State coming into this series was whether or not their pitchers could contain Clemson’s bats.

FSU’s Jackson Baumeister answered that question with authority Thursday night. Through 7 innings of work, the sophomore allowed 0 runs, just 4 hits, and only 2 walks. The young right hander struck out a career high of 14 batters in the process, and carried the Noles to a 5-1 win over the Tigers.

Tiger’s pitcher Austin Gordan did not enjoy the same success in his start. After giving up a lead off single to DeAmez Ross, Gordon left a first-pitch fastball high. FSU outfielder Jaime Ferrer sent the first pitch flying over the left field wall, and gave the Seminoles a 2-0 lead before even recording their first out.

Florida State’s barrage did not slow down from there. Ferrer again drove home Ross via a single to left in the 3rd. In the 4th, Cam Smith reached on a fielding error, and would later score thanks to a double by Jordan Carrion. James Tibbs III would homer in the 5th to give the Seminoles a commanding 5-0 lead.

Gordan would be pulled following the bottom of the 6th, exiting with a line of 4 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks, with 7 strikeouts.

Despite a less-than-ideal start by Gordan, the Tiger’s bullpen did well to prevent the Seminoles from building on their lead. B.J. Bailey retired the side in order in the 7th, and Ty Olenchuk allowed just one single in the 8th.

Despite trailing by multiple runs since the bottom of the 1st, Clemson had an opportunity to make things interesting in the late innings. After four walks, various pitching changes, and an RBI flyout by Wright, the Tigers would bring the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the 8th. Amick hacked at a 2-0 pitch and drove it to deep right field, but outfielder Treyton Rank was able to track it down and keep the Tigers from pulling any closer.

Clemson had opportunities to get back into this game, but clutch pitching by Baumeister and Mountgomery kept the Tigers at bay, stranding a total of 10 batters on base in the game.

The Seminoles would enjoy the 5-1 victory and take a 1-0 series lead over their conference rivals. Furthermore, the win snapped their 10 game loosing skid, which had been the longest such streak in program history.

POTG: Jackson Baumeister; 7.0 innings pitched, 0 runs, 4 hits, 14 Ks, 2 BB

GAME 2: Tiger’s bounce back to win 8-1

Game 2 shifted the tide in this series, due to both excellent pitching performances as well as aggressive gameplay by the Tigers.

With two on and two out in the top of the 4th, FSU starting pitcher Conner Whittacre left a changeup high, which third baseman Blake Wright promptly sent into left field, bringing home  Cooper Ingle from second and plating the first run of the game.

Wright would continue to make standout plays for the Tigers. One of the best moments of the game for Clemson came in the bottom of the fifth inning. A lead off double by Cam Smith, followed by a well placed bunt by De Sedas, placed FSU’s potential tying run only 90 feet away with just one out. However, Wright carefully hid the ball from Smith’s view, and, as the runner stepped off the bag to take his lead, Wright tagged him out.

The “hidden ball” trick would prove essential, as the following at-bat resulted in a routine fly ball to center field, which would’ve likely allowed the tying run to tag and score. Instead, it served as the final out of the inning, maintaining the Tiger’s slim one run lead.

Wright continued to produce offensively. With runners on first and second in the 6th, the Tiger’s third basemen sent a shot into shallow center, bringing home Taylor, and advancing Grice to third as Wright pulled into second.

In the following at bat, Bertram laid down a bunt to bring Grice home, and (as the throw went to first) Wright aggressively rounded third and forced a play at the plate. Though he was initially called out, a review would show his hand beat the tag, and the Tigers would take a 4-0 lead into the late innings.

Additional RBIs by Grice and Wright in the 8th would tack on two more runs for the Tigers. Wild pitches allowed Wright to advance to second, third, and home, adding a 7th run to the total. The Tiger’s outburst was capped by a solo shot to right by Cannarella in the 9th, bringing the Tiger’s tally to 8 total runs.

Clemson pitcher Ethan Darden, who made his first ACC start in this game, stifled the Seminoles in five scoreless innings. Likewise, Tristan Smith allowed 0 runs and 0 hits in two impressive innings of relief for the Tigers.

Nick Hoffman retired the side in order in the 8th, but ran into a bit of trouble closing the game out in the ninth, giving up a walk and three hits in the inning, including an RBI single by Barrett. That run, however, would be the lone run to cross the plate for the Seminoles that evening, as Hoffman would work out of the bases loaded jam via an infield fly that was ceremoniously caught by the star of the game: Blake Wright.

In his postgame comments released by Clemson Sports Information, head coach Eric Bakich spoke on the team’s impressive showing in game two.

"“Good response from the group today, complete performance in all phases. I thought [it was] maybe our most complete game yet at a time we probably needed it the most…Very proud of the way we competed tonight, it was something I thought was lacking from yesterday’s game.”"

With the series knotted at a game a piece, both teams would enter Saturday eyeing an ACC series win over their division rival.

POTG: Blake Wright; 3-4, 3 RBI, 2 Runs, 1 Awesome Hidden Ball Trick

GAME 3: Clemson takes the Series with a  6-2 Win

Clemson was off to an early start in this Saturday morning matchup. A lead-off single by Cannarella was amplified two outs later by Grice’s infield hit. A fielding error allowed the batter to reach first safely and Cannarella to advance to third. Picking up where he left off from game two, Wright promptly ripped a double into left center, picking up his 5th RBI of the series and giving the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

Clemson continued to apply pressure throughout the early goings. A walk by Hall followed by fielder’s choice allowed Blackwell to reach safely in the second. Singles by Cannarella and Ingle allowed him to score a second run for the Tigers. After a four pitch walk to Taylor, FSU starter Andrew Armstrong found himself facing Caden Grice with the bases loaded.

Grice spit on the first-pitch and, knowing Armstrong had thrown 5 straight balls, set his sights on a center-cut fastball. When he saw it, he unloaded, launching a 412 ft. bomb to right center, giving the Tigers an early 6-0 lead by way of a grand slam.

Armstrong was promptly replaced by Montgomery, but for the Noles, the damage had been done.

Caden Grice protected his lead on the bump for the Tigers. Through 6 .1 innings of work, the 6’6 southpaw displayed an excellent stat line, allowing only 4 scattered hits, 0 runs, and 5 strikeouts.

Grice’s day was immaculate until the 7th. With one on and one out, Grice left a pitch high, which Cam Smith pulled to left field for a two run homer that put the Seminoles on the board.

Grice’s day on the mound would end following the home run, putting a damper on what otherwise was an excellent start for the junior.

While his grand slam eclipsed any other takeaways from this game, Grice’s pitching performance should not go uncelebrated. Barring the single mistake to Smith, Grice kept the Seminoles bats at bay for the majority of the game.

After replacing Grice, Nick Clayton struggled to close out the inning. With two on and two out in the 7th, the reliever left a pitch high and in, which Ferrer hit deep to left field. The Tigers counted their blessings, however, as the pitch that would’ve made it a one-run game hooked just foul. Clayton would fan the batter to close out the inning and preserve the Tiger’s 4-run lead.

Clayton would work through the eighth allowing only a walk, and close out the game in the 9th to secure the Tiger’s first ACC series win of the season!

POTG: Caden Grice; 2-4, 4 RBI, Grandslam, Single, 6.1 IP, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 5K, 2 BB


This series was offensively defined by aggressive base running and small ball play. It seemed both managers felt these games could be decided by a single run, and, realizing the importance of the series, worked to manufacture those runs by way of stolen base attempts, bunts, and pushing for extra bases.

While both defenses played well throughout the series–there were several double plays turned and numerous diving catches–the pressure applied by the offensive aggressiveness forced mistakes which ultimately cost FSU the series.

This ACC series is the first the Tigers have won this season, and their first under coach Bakich. It is an important milestone the new coaching staff will hope to build on going forward.

The Tigers will have Easter Sunday to rest from the series, but will be back in action on Tuesday, April 11th in a road game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Check back for a preview of that matchup!