Weatherly Dominates Stony Brook In Tigers' 2-0 Win

Brad Senkiw

CLEMSON — Monte Lee called Sam Weatherly “effectively wild” after his Opening Day start last Friday against Liberty.

After the junior left-handed pitcher’s second start Friday against Stony Brook, one could say he was effectively dominant.

Weatherly recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts and allowed just one walk against the Seawolves in a 2-0 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

"He certainly made some improvements from last start to this start," Lee, Clemson's head coach, said. "We talked about getting to strike one and getting ahead of hitters. Out of the 21 batters that he faced, he got to strike one on 15 of them, which was outstanding."

The Howell, Michigan, native, who allowed six walks but struck out eight batters a week ago, lasted a career-high six innings, allowing no runs on just two hits in 89 pitches Friday.

"I put myself in counts where I could pitch for a punchout," Weatherly said. "Just getting strike one and being in the zone. Last week I was effectively wild. That was the goal and the key for me in the game, just throw strike one and work off of that.

"He looked like a dominating Friday night starter. One of the better starts I've seen here."

Clemson (5-0) remained undefeated on the young season with another low-scoring game. Although the Tigers racked up seven hits, it was the third time this season that they’ve scored three runs or less and the second shutout of the year. 

"Offensively we did some good things, had six leadoff runners reach base," Lee said. "We've just got to be able to do the little things situationally on offense to be able to score that third or fourth run because the pitching staff has been just absolutely outstanding."

Jared Milch (0-1) took the loss for the Seawolves (1-4) after giving up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.

The Tigers got all the offense they would need in the first two innings.

Clemson loaded the bases in the first with no outs for Adam Hackenberg, who hit into a double play. It still scored Mac Starbuck for a 1-0 lead.

In the second, freshman outfielder Dylan Brewer recorded his first career hit with a bloop single to center. He stole second and scored easily on shortstop Sam Hall’s triple to center that put the Tigers up 2-0. It was the only RBI of the game.

Stony Brook loaded the bases in the seventh against Clemson freshman reliever Carter Raffield, who gave up a double, hit a batter and allowed a walk. He was relieved by freshman Geoffrey Gilbert, who struck out the next two Seawolves to keep them off the board.

The Tigers worked around a late rally in the ninth as well. Closer Carson Spiers came in with two on and one out, and after the bases loaded on catcher's interference, the senior ended the threat with a strikeout and a ground out.  

"My heart was racing a little more than normal tonight," Spiers said. "It's good for us to have these challenges before we get to ACC play and have some of these younger guys see a moment like this. It was a good win."

Key play: After Stony Brook loaded the bases with a hit, hit-by-pitch and a walk with one out, Weatherly kept the Seawolves off the board when he induced a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the fourth inning unscathed.

"That was big," Weatherly said. "That was probably the play of the game. It kept me in the game."

Player of the game: Weatherly allowed just one base runner to reach scoring position in 21 batters faced. He struck out six of the first seven Seawolves and struck out the side three times.

"It makes playing behind him so much easier and so much more fun," Hall said. "We play more laid back and more relaxed because we know he's going to go out there and do his job."

Coach’s decision: Clemson second baseman Mac Starbuck made his first appearance at leadoff, where he went 0-for-3 with a run scored. Clemson's hottest hitter, outfielder Elijah Henderson, moved down to third, where he went 2-for-3.

Stat of the game: Clemson’s pitching staff came into the game ranked 19th nationally with 50 strikeouts. The Tigers added 19 more to that total Friday to put them among the best in the country in strikeouts.

"It certainly builds confidence, with the young group that we have too, to come out and pitch (well)," Weatherly said. "Gilbert and (Nick) Clayton and Carter...they go out with the confidence like they've been here for three years."

Up next: Game 2 between Clemson and Stony Brook is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.