College Roundup: Chase Pinder Spurs Clemson Comeback

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Clemson limped into Wednesday’s game with Western Carolina, fresh off losing its opening weekend series to Wright State. The Tigers trailed 5-1 at the seventh inning stretch, staring a 1-3 start in the face, but then their offense finally roared to life. While Seth Beer (1-for-4) had a rare quiet night, center fielder Chase Pinder spearheaded the comeback, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs. Weston Jackson, a graduate transfer from Presbyterian, smashed the go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, his first as a Tiger, as Clemson scored five in the frame to take a 6-5 lead and then added five more in the eighth to win 11-5.

(1) Texas Christian: off
(2) Florida State: off
(3) Florida: CCD vs. Jacksonville
(4) Louisiana State: won, 8-1, vs. Hofstra
(5) South Carolina: off
(6) Louisville: won, 19-3, vs. Eastern Kentucky
(7) Cal State Fullerton: lost, 5-4, vs. San Diego State
(8) Oregon State: off
(9) Vanderbilt: won, 7-4, vs. Evansville
(10) Washington: off
(11) East Carolina: won, 10-0, at Campbell
(12) North Carolina State: off
(13) Virginia: off
(14) North Carolina: won, 11-1, vs. Gardner-Webb
(15) Clemson: won, 11-5, vs. Western Carolina
(16) Louisiana-Lafayette: off
(17) Georgia Tech: off
(18) Coastal Carolina: won, 16-7, vs. College of Charleston
(19) Arizona: off
(20) Oklahoma State: off
(21) Texas Tech:off
(22) Mississippi: off
(23) Stanford: off
(24) UC Santa Barbara: off
(25) Wright State: off

Elsewhere in the Atlantic Coast Conference, 14th-ranked North Carolina’s pitching depth continued to shine in an 11-1 win against Gardner-Webb as the Tar Heels moved to 4-0. Sophomore righthander Cole Aker worked six strong innings, allowing only one run on three hits, and three UNC relievers put in a scoreless inning each. Offensively, Kyle Datres and Zack Gahagan each homered, and the Heels put up a five-spot in the bottom of the first and never looked back.

Getting back to our theme of teams shaking off poor opening weekends, Coastal Carolina and East Carolina responded to their own tough starts with decisive wins against College of Charleston and Campbell, respectively. College of Charleston went into the night flying high after winning a series at Southeastern Conference foe Georgia opening weekend, but the Cougars’ defense imploded, committing five errors, while Wood Myers and Dalton Ewing homered to pace Coastal’s offense in the 16-7 win.

Meanwhile, East Carolina responded to getting swept by Mississippi with a resounding 10-0 win at Campbell. Chris Holba (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO) and three relievers combined on a two-hit shutout, and center fielder T.J. Riles’ four RBIs led the offense. The Pirates end their season-opening four-game road trip at 1-3, but they have a chance to get on a roll now with 10 of their next 12 at home, starting with this weekend’s three-game set with winless (0-4) La Salle.

Ranked teams went 7-1 on Wednesday, and the night looked like it would be devoid of upsets until San Diego State knocked off Cal State Fullerton, 5-4, at Godwin Field. After the teams traded runs early, SDSU took the lead for good on Tyler Adkison’s sac fly in the top of the seventh, while Hayden Petrovick threw three no-hit innings out of the SDSU bullpen to keep the Titans from answering. C.J. Saylor closed it out in the ninth, pitching around a pair of walks to strand the tying run at second base. The Titans fall to 2-2 and now are faced with eight straight road games against Nevada-Las Vegas, Houston and Arizona State.

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