Faris, Tigers Sweep Away N.C. State

CLEMSON – As the top of the ninth inning got underway, a sole Clemson fan sitting in the "Cheap Seats" beyond the centerfield fence stood and played "Taps" on his bugle. At that moment, there was never a more fitting song as the Tigers stood just two outs from getting a three-game sweep of No. 12 N.C. State.

And when Tigers third baseman Herman Demmink grabbed a chopper and threw it to first to record the final out in the Tigers' 6-2 victory Sunday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, the dusting of the No. 12 Wolfpack (21-8, 5-4 ACC) was officially complete.

It's quite a difference from exactly one week ago when No. 10 Clemson (16-6, 3-3 ACC) was the team at the business end of a broomstick.

"We were a lot tougher this week," said Tigers coach Jack Leggett, who has been stressing the "tough" theme all week. "Mentally, we are a lot better. …

"We had to win three games. Even if we win two-of-three, we've still only gained one game. We needed to get back to even."

Leading the way Sunday was right-handed pitcher Stephen Faris, who was nearly unhittable in eight innings of work. The junior allowed just four hits, with no runs or walks, while striking out five.

Faris (2-0) earned his first win and decision since pitching the second game of a doubleheader on opening day.

"It was a perfect example of not throwing it by anybody and throwing strikes and letting the defense play behind you," said Faris, who had 14 outs via the ground ball. "It's nice to get a win once in a while."

The Tigers didn't explode offensively, but the six runs were more than enough for Faris. Left fielder Tyler Colvin provided most of the offense by going 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

"I told the guys to get a me a couple of runs because that's all that I need," Faris said. "I think we're very hard to beat when we get (offense and pitching) going at the same time."

The five-game winning streak the Tigers are on since being swept at Virginia can be attributed to one thing, and that's the chewing Leggett gave his team prior to Monday's practice.

He challenged their toughness mentally and physically, and since Clemson has looked like the No. 1 team many polls had them tabbed prior to the season.

"I think (the chewing) woke us up," Faris said. "We knew it was coming and we knew that we deserved it. I think it brought out a whole new team. We were a little lackadaisical and he kind of jumped us and told us to go for it and not wait any more.

"I think it's been a totally different team since last week."

Up next is a home-and-home series with No. 25 Georgia, which starts Tuesday in Athens.

"They play us tough every year," Colvin said. "It's kind of like here. The fans get on you and are loud. I like playing there, but it's going to be tough."

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