CLEMSON – Clemson got its second strong performance from a starting pitcher in as many days Saturday afternoon.
And this time the Tigers got something to show for it.
Zack Erwin allowed just four hits and one run over six innings as Clemson eased past West Virginia 4-2 in front of 5,215 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
In the Tigers’ season-opening 2-0 loss on Friday, starter Matthew Crownover got no decision after allowing just three hits over six innings.
Saturday’s victory evened the series at 1-1 and enabled the Tigers to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 1983.
“This was huge,” Erwin said. “What we did today could put us into a groove. We want to win every series.”
The Tigers will get that chance Sunday when the series concludes with a 1 p.m. game at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Junior right-hander Brody Koerner will get the start for Clemson.
Erwin certainly made the most of his start on Saturday, striking out five and walking just one batter.
Clemson gave the junior lefthander a 1-0 lead in the first when Tyler Krieger singled and Steven Duggar singled and Krieger scored on a throwing error.
Erwin showed some mettle by pitching his way out of trouble in the third, allowing only a sacrifice fly after the Mountaineers’ first two batters reached on a single and double.
“He was in command of all his pitches,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said. “That could’ve been a tough situation there (in the third), but he did a good job.”
The Tigers pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Tyler Slaton opened the inning with a double and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Duggar, then extended their lead to 4-1 in the seventh.
Eli White opened the inning with a double and scored when Slaton hit into a fielder’s choice that was misplayed by for an error. Slaton stole third base and scored on Chase Pinder’s sacrifice fly.
After Alex Schell came on to toss two innings of hitless relief, Drew Moyer started the ninth and surrendered a one-out, 400-foot home run to the Mountaineers’ Jackson Cramer and consecutive singles to Justin Fox and Kyle Davis.
But he got out of trouble when Clemson catcher Chris Okey caught Fox off base at third and by striking out Tucker Cascadden to end the game and record his third career save.
Ross Vance (0-1) took the loss for the Mountaineers. He allowed five hits and one earned run over five innings.
“We did a much better job with situational hitting today,” Duggar said. “Offensively we’re going to get there. When we get some more at-bats we’re going to be alright.”