CLEMSON - Clemson got the starting pitching it wanted and the clutch hitting it needed.
But many more bullpen falters like this and it will be a frustrating 2014 for the Tigers, who coughed up an early cushion in Friday's 6-5, 10-inning defeat against visiting Eastern Michigan on opening day at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Daniel Gossett picked up where he left off last year, quickly and efficiently dispensing five innings of four-hit, one-run ball while Clemson (0-1) built a 4-1 lead. Gossett fired 71 pitches, 52 of them for strikes.
But after being replaced to start the sixth inning, Gossett couldn't pick up the victory when Kevin Pohle got pelted for three hits and three runs in the sixth inning, seeing the Eagles (1-0) take over with a 5-4 lead.
Clemson senior Mike Dunster saved the day, temporarily, with a pinch-hit blast with one out in the bottom of the ninth, his first career home run to equalize the game at 5. But all it bought was one more inning, and Eastern Michigan pushed across an unearned run in the top of the 10th against reliever Clate Schmidt.
Freshman Eli White struck out to end the game with the tying run on second. But earlier in the game, rookie designated hitter Chris Okey earned a 2-out, 2-run single in his first career at-bat, giving Clemson a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. Cleanup hitter Steven Duggar also had an RBI single with two outs in the third.
Okey, the prize of Clemson's recruiting class, went 2 for 5. Redshirt freshman Andrew Cox, starting in left field, was 2 for 4.
The Tigers will host the Eagles on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. following Clemson's home basketball game against Virginia at noon across the street. The series wraps up Sunday at 1 p.m.
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