CLEMSON- The Clemson offense exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, breaking a 2-2 tie, on their way to claiming a 13-7 win over Notre Dame in the ACC opener for the Tigers.
"The thing that I'm most proud of is six through nine in our order scored nine runs tonight," Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. "So we had great offensive production from everybody in the lineup and, you know, and we needed it."
The Tigers got on the board first in the bottom of the third when Caden Grice led off the inning with an infield single. Next up was Bryce Teodosio, who lined a home run over the right-centerfield wall, giving Clemson a 2-0 lead.
The Fighting Irish would get to starting pitcher Davis Sharpe in the top of the fifth, plating two runs on two hits. Sharpe also walked three in the inning but was able to escape any further damage by stranding runners at all three bases.
However, the Tigers answered with seven runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Dylan Brewer and James Parker had RBI singles, before Max Wagner connected on a two-run home run to left, giving Clemson a 7-2 lead.
Jonathan French then drew a walk before the freshman Grice launched a 421-foot shot to right, making it 9-2.
"So far our offense has been pretty dang potent," Lee said. "We've got a lot of guys in that lineup who are swinging the bat very, very well. So it just shows you the depth of our offense right now and I'm glad we're swinging the bat, you know the way that we are."
Notre Dame was able to cut the lead to 9-6 in the sixth, but Clemson got a two-run home run from French in the seventh to push the lead to 11-6. Then Keir Meredith singled in two more runs in that seventh, giving the Tigers more insurance and a 13-6 lead.
"We need to pitch better, there's no doubt about that," Lee said. "I think everybody knows that, but it's like one inning. We got to be able to get through those.. middle innings seem to be, you know, kicking us in the teeth a little bit right now there in the fifth to the sixth. We got to get through that threshold a little bit and breakthrough right there. Either the starter got to be able to get us through the fifth or sixth inning or that first guy out of the pen's got to be able to shut them down a little bit. Because if we do that, we got a chance to be really good."
The Irish would put runners on the corners with no outs in the eighth, but Monte Lee would then bring in closer Geoffrey Gilbert and he was able to get out of the jam, allowing just a sacrifice fly.
Sharpe (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, going 5.2 innings and allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, while uncharacteristically walking 6. Gilbert pitched two innings of scoreless relief to finish off the Irish and pick up his second save of the season.
"I thought actually through five innings he threw the ball very well," Lee said of Sharpe. "We wanted to run him back out there in the sixth inning and let him try to get into their order for a third time. That was kind of the idea and he struggled just locating pitches there and we had to get him out of the game."
Clemson improves to 5-2 on the season and 1-0 in ACC play, while Notre Dame drops to 2-2 overall and 2-2 in league play.
Player of the Game: In just his second game in the lineup this season, Meredith was 4-5 at the plate, with a double, two RBIs and a run scored.
Stat of the Game: Clemson hit .391 (9-23) with runners on in the win.
Injury Report: After making his debut at DH on Tuesday against ETSU, Keir Meredith got the start in LF for the first time this season. The Tigers are still waiting on catcher's Adam Hackenberg and Cooper Ingle to return to health, as well as infielder Sam Hall and pitcher Keyshawn Askew.
Up Next: Clemson hosts Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon for the second of a three-game weekend set at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the game will be televised on ACCNX.