Clemson wins pitchers duel 2-1
by Staff Reports
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Appalachian State's baseball team is getting used to playing teams from the ACC.
The scores are getting closer, but the Mountaineers are still falling short when it comes to winning the game. Appalachian State's 2-1 loss at No. 14 Clemson was another chance for the Mountaineers to knock off an ACC team, but a lack of extra base hits combined with some tough wind condition hindered their chances.
It was App State's fifth one-run loss of the season. Three of those losses have come against nationally ranked opponents.
Two other losses, both to Notre Dame, were in extra innings.
With wind clocked at nearly 25 mph to the west, all balls that were hit to left field floated, and all balls hit to right field died in the air and fell, which made outfielders' jobs difficult.
The game featured an old-fashioned pitchers' duel between Clemson's Jack Erwin and Appalachian State freshman Sean Mason. Erwin (1-0) allowed just one run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings and struck out seven en route to the win.
Mason nearly matched his adversary pitch-for-pitch. He worked all eight innings and allowed just two runs on four hits.
Mason needed only 98 pitches to work the complete game but suffered the tough-luck loss to fall to 0-1 on the season.
Clemson closer Matt Campbell struck out three of the five batters he faced to earn the four-out save, his second of the season. Appalachian outhit Clemson, 5-4, led by two from Jaylin Davis.
Appalachian State (4-13) scored its lone run in the fifth inning when Ozzy Gonzalez hit a solo two-out home run off Erwin to close the Tigers' lead to 2-1. The homer was Gonzalez's first as a Mountaineers and broke up a perfect game for Erwin, who had retired Appalachian's first 14 batters of the evening.
Clemson (10-5) took advantage of the windy conditions to score the game's first run in the bottom of the first inning when Garrett Boulware's single to left center floated into the gap drove in a run to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Clemson scored in nearly the same way that it did in the first to stretch its lead to 2-0. Tyler Krieger led off the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second on a fielder's choice.
One batter later, right fielder Steven Duggar singled to left field and Krieger scored from second, sliding under Gonzalez's glove on a close play at the plate to double the Tigers' advantage.
Appalachian State's best chance to pull even came in the eighth inning when it put together its first back-to-back hits of the game. Singles by junior Michael Pierson and freshman pinch-hitter Matt Brill put the tying run in scoring position with only one out.
Erwin countered when he got Preston Troutman to fly out to right field for the second out of the inning. Campbell came on to strike out William Head for the third out, ending the Mountaineer scoring threat.
Appalachian put the tying run on base again in the ninth when Davis poked a two-out single to left but Campbell struck out Alex Leach to end the game.
Appalachian State plays Michigan today in the College of Charleston tournament. The Mountaineers face Kent State on Saturday and College of Charleston on Sunday in the three-day event.
Appalachian State beat Michigan 4-1 on March 1 to pick up its first victory over the season.