Berken Fights Illness, Allows No Runs

CLEMSON – As Clemson baseball coach Jack Leggett gave his pre-game speech everyone was attentive except for scheduled starting pitcher Jason Berken. Instead of listening and preparing to take to the mound, Berken was doing all he could not to lose his lunch.

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The junior had a vicious upset stomach and was doing everything in his power not to reveal to Leggett and his teammates that he was getting sick all over the place.

No matter how he felt, Berken wanted to take the mound.

Who could blame him considering this was scheduled to be Berken's second start after missing an entire year following Tommy John surgery to his right elbow. After something like that, an irritable stomach, no matter how severe, wasn't going to stop him.

Berken did make it to the mound and despite ferociously sick in the clubhouse after the first inning, he led top-ranked Clemson to a 5-1 victory over Mercer Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Berken improves to 2-0 after throwing 78 pitches over four scoreless innings. He allowed five hits, struck out three and had no walks. It was just another typical outing.

"I don't know what it was," Berken said. "I was throwing in the bullpen and I was sweating really bad. … In the whole first inning, all I kept telling myself was, ‘Don't throw up on the mound. Just don't throw up on the mound.' Luckily I got through it.

"After the inning, I went into the locker room and (got sick) for 10 straight minutes. And they said they were going to put somebody else in and I and said no. I felt better after I threw up and I wanted to pitch."

Berken's graphic account of the first inning and before is all that needs to be known as to just how good this Tigers team truly is. Even when their top pitcher is under the weather, he holds the opposition scoreless.

In fact, as a team Clemson (4-0) has allowed just two earned runs in 36 innings of work. No question about it, this team is loaded to the gills.

"Obviously we're pitching well right now," Leggett said. "But you've got a long season to go. … Our pitching staff has been solid and they're throwing strikes."

If there is a semblance of a downside, it's the fact that the offense hasn't produced big numbers.

Against Mercer (8-3), Clemson managed just seven hits. However, they were big hits.

In the third inning, second baseman Marquez Smith, playing for Taylor Harbin, who was held out of his second straight game with a sore hamstring, cracked a two-out, two-run double to put the Tigers up 2-0.

Two innings later, left fielder Tyler Colvin hit a two-out solo home run to center field to make it 3-0. It was Colvin's fourth blast of the season after he had only seven in his previous 117 games.

Clemson iced the game in the seventh when it scored two more runs on a double down the left field line by right fielder Travis Storrer.

There weren't a lot of runs scored, but it was still more than enough.

"I expect to pitch and play defense every single game," Leggett said. "Our hitting will come along."

Box Score
Mercer 1 (8-3)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Sean McCahill 2b.........  3  0  0  1   1  2  0  5   0
Eric Renfroe cf..........  5  0  1  0   0  0  2  0   1
Shawn Barrett 1b.........  3  0  1  0   1  0  8  0   1
Josh Thompson c..........  2  0  0  0   2  1  5  1   1
Andrew Einert dh.........  2  0  1  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Mark Jarvis ph..........  1  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Jason Lowey lf...........  4  0  1  0   0  1  4  0   0
Tyler McCarty 3b.........  2  0  2  0   0  0  1  1   0
 Mike Armstrong ph.......  1  0  0  0   0  1  0  0   0
 Steve Karwatt 3b........  0  1  0  0   1  0  0  0   0
Billy Shaughnessy ss.....  3  0  1  0   1  0  2  1   5
John Dortch rf...........  4  0  0  0   0  0  2  0   2
Brantley New p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 J.C. Daugherty p........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Kyle Johnston p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 30  1  7  1   6  5 24  8  10

Clemson 5 (4-0)

Player                    AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------------------
Herman Demmink 3b........  3  1  0  0   2  0  1  0   0
Brad Chalk cf............  3  2  2  0   0  0  3  1   0
Tyler Colvin lf..........  2  2  1  1   1  0  1  0   0
Travis Storrer rf........  4  0  1  2   0  0  1  0   0
Marquez Smith 2b.........  2  0  1  2   1  0  2  3   2
Andy D'Alessio 1b........  4  0  0  0   0  1  9  0   0
Jameson Smith dh.........  3  0  1  0   1  0  0  0   2
Stan Widmann ss..........  3  0  1  0   1  2  3  6   0
Adrian Casanova c........  4  0  0  0   0  2  5  0   4
Jason Berken p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  2  1   0
 P.J. Zocchi p...........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Daniel Moskos p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
 Drew Fiorenza p.........  0  0  0  0   0  0  0  0   0
Totals................... 28  5  7  5   6  5 27 11   8

Score by Innings                    R  H  E
-------------------------------------------
Mercer.............. 000 000 001 -  1  7  0
Clemson............. 002 010 20X -  5  7  0
-------------------------------------------

DP - Mercer 1; Clemson 3. 
LOB - Mercer 10; Clemson 8. 
2B - RENFROE(1); STORRER(1); M. SMITH(2). 
HR - COLVIN(4). 
HBP - EINERT; CHALK; M. SMITH. 
SH - COLVIN(1). SF - McCAHILL(1).

Mercer                 IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Brantley New........  6.0  6  3  3  4  4 21 27
J.C. Daugherty......  0.1  1  2  2  1  0  2  4
Kyle Johnston.......  1.2  0  0  0  1  1  5  6

Clemson                IP  H  R ER BB SO AB BF
-----------------------------------------------
Jason Berken........  4.0  5  0  0  0  3 16 17
P.J. Zocchi.........  1.1  1  0  0  3  0  4  7
Daniel Moskos.......  2.2  1  0  0  1  2  8  9
Drew Fiorenza.......  1.0  0  1  1  2  0  2  5

Win - BERKEN (2-0).  
Loss - NEW (2-1).  
Save - None.
WP - NEW(2); JC DAUGHERTY(2). 
BK - ZOCCHI(1).
Start: 4:05   Time: 2:45   Attendance: 4702

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