CLEMSON – The bottom of the order came through in the clutch for Clemson, with Chris Williams and Jordan Greene producing the necessary runs for the Tigers’ 4-3 series-clinching victory over Pittsburgh at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Greene, a 5-8, 170-pound freshman third baseman, entered Sunday with five hits and three RBIs in 10 appearances this season. Hitting in the No. 7 spot in the lineup, he poked an infield single on a 3-2 count with one out in the eighth to plate Reed Rohlman for the decisive run.
It was a true act of small ball; Rohlman drew a leadoff, full-count walk, moved to second on Weston Wilson’s sacrifice bunt and hustled to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a position to come home on Greene’s stroke that couldn’t be handled by Pitt shortstop Charles LeBlanc.
“I couldn’t let my teammates down, so I tried to put a good swing on it and luckily I got the job done,” Greene said. “I got that opportunity a couple innings earlier, and luckily Chris picked me up when I struck out.”
Earlier, with Clemson trailing 3-1, first baseman Chris Williams (batting eighth in the order) delivered a 2-RBI, 2-out single in the sixth to make sure Clemson did not squander an inning that began with the bases loaded and nobody out.
Williams struggled badly the first part of this season, but is heating up with three multi-hit efforts in Clemson’s past six games. Williams has raised his batting average from .135 on March 19 to .225.
“It helps a lot to have my teammates behind me,” Williams said. “They’ve been taking the pressure off, telling me to relax and have fun playing baseball the way you’re supposed to.”
Both Greene and Williams have only recently earned their starting jobs at the corner infield spots. Greene filled in this week for the slumping Adam Renwick (.141, six errors) while Williams, the Opening Day starter at first base, has regained the position from Andrew Cox, who broke his foot March 19.
“That’s really big for us any time 6 and down in the order can give us some production,” head coach Monte Lee said. “Chris has been swinging the bat well ... and Jordan’s getting his opportunity and he’s running with it.”
Reliever Pat Krall was stellar as he’s been all season, earning the pitching victory and closing the game all by himself. Krall (3-0, 0.56) pitched the final 4 1/3 innings Sunday, retiring the first 13 batters he faced and striking out a pair on 45 pitches (33 strikes.)
“We were fortunate that (starter Alex) Eubanks came out and kept us in the game close against a good offensive team,” Krall said. “My focus was keeping them right where he left them and giving our offense a chance to do what they do situationally.”
Freshman designated hitter Seth Beer’s single in the sixth inning extended his hitting streak to 24 games, tied for the sixth-longest in school history. Beer came around to score the tying run on Williams’ single.
Since going 0-for-4 in the season opener Feb. 19 vs. Maine, Beer has hit safely in every game in which he’s logged a plate appearance. Beer went 1-for-4 Sunday, ending a stretch in which he drove in a run in 14 of his past 15 games.
Clemson (21-7, 7-5 ACC) improved to 14-2 at home, and hits the road for seven of its next eight games, including next weekend’s ACC series at Duke. Pitt was dropped to 13-11, 5-7.