CLEMSON — College of Charleston starting pitcher Matt Pegler was raised 30 miles from Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Greenville. He grew up a Clemson fan, dreaming of pitching for Jack Leggett’s team.
The right-hander was lightly recruited by Clemson at Riverside High as the Tigers preferred Pegler first go to junior college where they might consider him after a season or two of further evaluation. Pegler elected instead to attend the College of Charleston. And on Monday Pegler got his revenge. The junior pitched six solid innings in a 4-2 College of Charleston win at Clemson, the Cougars’ first win in program history against the Tigers.
College of Charleston entered 0-23 against Clemson, 0-17 as a Division I program.
Pegler allowed five hits and two runs, helping the Cougars (32-15) to avoid being swept.
Clemson fell to 28-20. “I came in with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to beat these guys,” Pegler said. “I was a huge Clemson fan growing up. I wanted to come here, it never happened.
“I wanted to prove myself (Monday).”
Pegler also accomplished something else few starters have done in recent weeks, he kept Clemson’s Thomas Brittle off the base paths during his six innings of work. Brittle was able to extend his hitting streak to 21 games with a single in the eighth inning.
Cougars coach Monte Lee said he considers Pegler, who improved to 8-2 on the season, one of the best No. 3 starters in the country.
“That’s what he’s been doing all year long for us, he’s been giving us a quality start,” Lee said. “Pretty much every Sunday out he throws strikes. He changes speeds and knows how to pitch.”
Was it important to end the streak against Clemson?
“Well all that streak stuff, no, the big thing is for our ball club is we have 10 games left and we are trying to play well down the stretch,” Lee said. “After a couple tough losses, to be able to bounce back and get a win and some momentum going is a good thing.”
A strong close to the season is important for both programs as they are jockeying for postseason position. C of C was 38th in simulated RPI entering Monday, Clemson ranked 24th. SEBaseball.com’s latest projection has Clemson as a No. 3 at LSU in the NCAA Tournament and the College of Charleston as a No. 2 seed at Chapel Hill, N.C.
In the winning effort Monday, Pegler was supported by multi-hit days from Daniel Aldrich, Rob Harding and Bradley Goodson in a 4-2 victory.
In the fourth, Aldrich hit his seventh home run of the season and Brandon Glazer scored from third on field on a fielder’s choice to give the College of Charleston a 3-2 lead. C of C added another run in the sixth on Harding’s RBI single to take a 4-2 lead.
Clemson starting pitcher Jonathan Meyer left the game in the sixth, pitching 51/3 innings, allowing four runs, two earned.
Meyer earned the starting assignment as Leggett was down a starter following Kevin Brady’s hamstring injury last weekend.
Brady said his hamstring is feeling better though he expects to miss the final two weekend series. He hopes to return in time for the ACC tournament.