CLEMSON — Spencer Strider and Carter Raffield both made successful returns from Tommy John surgery Sunday, as the Tigers beat Liberty by a final score of 6-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
The win gave Clemson a three-game sweep of the Flames.
Strider got his first start since 2018, going three scoreless innings, with four strikeouts and a walk. Raffield pitched a 1-2-3 seventh in his first action in more than a year, and both topped out at 98 mph on the stadium's radar gun.
"That (throwing strikes) is kind of my game plan," Strider said. "I know what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are."
Five Tiger pitchers combined to limit the Flames to just two runs on five hits. They also combined to strike out 13 batters, while issuing just two walks.
Mat Clark (1-0) earned the win in relief in 3.0 innings pitched. Flames starter Joe Adametz III (0-1) suffered the loss, as he gave up eight hits, three runs and one walk with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
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Play of the Game: James Parker's deep home run to left in the seventh gave Clemson some much needed insurance.
"It felt good," Parker said. "I was just looking for a pitch up to hit, 3-2 count, and I am just glad we have been able to take such a good approach."
Player of the Game: Adam Hackenberg had an outstanding day at the plate. The Tigers catcher went 3-4 and knocked in three runs on the day.
"It's tough to match their work ethic, even as a position player," Hackenberg said regarding the pitching staff. "We are always competing with them throughout the year, and now we are finally getting to put it together. They are unbelievable."
Coach's Decision: Monte Lee had made it clear that Strider would be on a strict pitch count and the Tigers head coach backed that up, pulling his starter after just 45 pitches.
"We were going to let him go 50 max," Monte Lee said. "And we felt like we were in a really good spot, and it was a good time to turn the ball over to Mat Clark."
Up Next: The Tigers continue their homestand with two midweek games at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, starting Tuesday at 4 p.m. against The Citadel on ACC Network Extra. Fans can purchase a ticket for only $2.