Clemson Loses for the First Time in 2020 to ETSU

Zach Lentz

The Clemson Tigers (7-1) have not struggled to get outs in the 2020 season, as their pitching staff entered Wednesday night's game against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers with a 0.70 ERA, good enough to be ranked second in the nation. Instead the struggles have come at the plate.

The Tigers rank 247 out of 294 teams nationally in runs scored. Their inability to score runs finally caught up to them, as they fell for the first time by a final score of 5-3 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

The victory snapped the Tigers' 11-game winning streak in the series dating to a 10-6 Buccaneer win at Johnson City, Tenn. on March 12, 1985.

The Buccaneers plated single runs in the first and second innings on singles by Jake Lyle and Ben Jackson gave ETSU a quick 2-0 lead. 

Tiger starting pitcher Mack Anglin had his worst outing of his young career, as he allowed two runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of work. Anglin, who also amassed four walks and a wild pitch in his second outing of the season, left the game in the top of the third inning for true freshman Nick Hoffman.

The Tiger broke through in the third inning. After a singles by Pierce Gallo, Kier Meredith and Davis Sharpe loaded the bases, the Tigers — who have struggled to score runs and get timely hits with runners in scoring position through their first seven games — plated two runs on the back of Adam Hackenburg's double to right field.

With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, a one-out double by David Beam gave the Buccaneers a 3-2. The Buccaneers added to their lead in the top of the seventh inning, as a bases-loaded walk by Tiger reliever Holt Jones plated a single run. A strikeout by Jackson Lindley ended the threat and limited the damage to only one run.

The Tigers added a single run in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Meredith's single plated Elijah Henderson and cut the lead to 4-3. 

A single by Markell Graham in the top of the eighth extended the Bucs' lead to 5-3.

Buccaneer starter Tucker Rogers (1-0) earned the win, as he yielded six hits, two runs and no walks with three strikeouts in 5.0 innings pitched. Nathaniel Tate pitched the final 2.0 innings to record his first save of the year. Tiger reliever Nick Hoffmann (1-1) suffered the loss.

Key play: Hoffman gets out of early jam: Tiger reliever Nick Hoffman entered the game with the bases loaded with two outs, and the Tigers already down 2-0. Hoffman proceeded to retire the first batter he faced on three straight pitchers.

Player of the game: Kier Meredith: Meredith continued his hot start to the season, as he finished the game with four hits in five at-bats with one RBI and one run scored. 

Coaches decision: Lee pulls Anglin in the third inning. Head coach Monte Lee wasted little time pulling starting pitcher Mack Anglin in the top of the third inning after it became apparent that he was struggling to find the strike zone.

Injury Update: Sheldon Reed, who left Saturday's game against Stony Brook with an apparent arm injury, will get "scanned on Thursday" and the Tigers are unclear whether they will have the results of the scan "...that day or the following," but should know by Friday. 

James Parker, who had been out since last Wednesday's game against Furman, took ground balls today and also took batting practice. The Tigers will attempt to progress him to full practice Wednesday, but he is still "day-to-day."

Stat of the game: The Bucs improved to 7-21 all time against the Tigers and 5-19 on the road. The series began in 1969 and Clemson had won the last 11 contests, the most by any team in the series. 

Up Next: The Tigers (7-1) face South Carolina in a three-game series at three different sites, beginning Friday at Founders Park in Columbia at 7 p.m. on SEC Network+.

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