The Clemson baseball team kicked off its 2011 season last weekend with a three-game series against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
The Tigers came into the series ranked as high as No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and won two of the three games against the Eagles.
Chris Epps got the season started off with a bang in Game 1 by leading off the bottom of the first inning with a homerun to left-center. Clemson tacked on three more runs in the first off Eastern Michigan starter Kandall Lewis.
However, the Eagles got back into the game in the top of the second.
Eastern Michigan’s Robert Wendzicki connected on a three-run homer off Clemson starter Scott Weisman to cut the Tigers’ lead to 4-3. That was as close as the Eagles would get though, as Weisman did not allow any more runs in the outing.
Spencer Kieboom and Will Lamb each responded with an RBI in the bottom of the third, and the Tigers scored three runs to expand the lead to 7-3.
From there, the rout was on.
Clemson tacked on three runs in the fourth, one in the sixth and three more in the seventh to get the victory 14-3.
Kieboom finished with four RBI on the day, while Brad Miller and John Hinson each scored three runs.
Weisman pitched well for his first outing, going five innings with four strikeouts and only allowing three runs.
Game 2 did not start out nearly as well for the Tigers, as Eastern Michigan scored three runs in both the second and fourth innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead.
Clemson cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jeff Schaus singled home Jason Stolz and Epps scored on a wild pitch.
The Tigers were able to score three more runs in the sixth inning when Kieboom connected on a double just off the center fielder’s glove to score Hinson and Phil Pohl.
Kieboom then scored on a bases-loaded walk of Schaus. Pohl tied the game up for the Tigers in the seventh with a single up the middle that scored Miller.
However, the Eagles regained the lead for good in the top of the eighth inning. Daniel Russell led off the inning with a double for Eastern Michigan, and he came around to score on a wild pitch with two outs.
That run gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead that would turn out to be the final score.
Kieboom went 4-4 on the day for the Tigers with two runs and two doubles, and Shaus went 1-2 with two RBI.
The Tigers scored the first runs of the day in Game 3 in the second inning on Kieboom’s RBI groundout that scored Miller.
Clemson added to its lead in the third when Epps hit a two-run homer, his second of the season. The Tigers extended the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning when Kieboom came up big again with a single to center that scored Hinson.
Eastern Michigan cut into the lead in the sixth when Russell tripled and then scored on a fielder’s choice to first baseman Richie Shaffer by Tucker Rubino.
However, that was the only run the Eagles would manage all day.
Addison Johnson provided the final scoring play of the day for the Tigers in the eighth when he doubled home Hinson to make the score 5-1.
Hinson led the Tigers at the plate on Sunday by going 3-4 with two runs and two stolen bases.
Clemson starter Kevin Brady earned the win on the mound with a masterful performance against the Eagles.
Brady pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing only two hits, one walk and one run while striking out a career-high 10 batters.
David Haselden also threw well, pitching the final three innings to record the save. Haselden allowed no runs, two hits and struck out two.
The Clemson baseball team is back in action this weekend with matchups on Friday and Saturday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The Tigers face Cincinnati at 4 p.m. on Friday and Charleston Southern at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Clemson then faces Michigan State on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fluor Field in Greenville.