Cavs Blank Tigers, 3-0

CLEMSON – The saying goes that good defense and strong pitching wins championships. Well, the Clemson baseball team is pitching well and playing very solid defense. But it's also a fact that you can't win if you can't score. And right now, the Tigers aren't scoring.

No. 14 Clemson was held to just four hits and for the second time this season, and was shutout at home as No. 6 Virginia grabbed the 3-0 victory at a packed Doug Kingsmore Stadium Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (34-8, 13-6 ACC) have taken the first two of a three-game series and have won eight straight overall against Clemson (25-13, 10-7 ACC). In the two games this weekend, the Tigers have managed just 11 hits and three runs.

And oddly enough, it wasn't a poorly played game by the Tigers. They hit the ball hard, but it always seemed it was right at someone. In fact, Clemson third baseman Marquez Smith had two would-be home runs taken away by spectacular plays.

"We hit the ball pretty good today, but we don't have anything to show for it," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "We're right there, man. That's all I can say. We're right there."

However, the Clemson hitting problems date back to the beginning of the season and not just this weekend.

The Tigers have scored three runs or less 11 times this year. That's nearly a third of their games played.

Moreover, Clemson has produced just 17 hits over its last 28 innings and only five runs over its last 32 innings of play.

"We know we have to pick it up," said shortstop Taylor Harbin, who has been one of the players mired in a season-long slump. "If we pick up our offense, I think we'll be OK."

Virginia scored the game's first run in the top of the eighth after a wild throw to first by Smith allowed Patrick Wingfield to go all the way to second. Two batters later, pinch hitter Tim Henry singled to score Wingfield and make it 1-0.

The Cavaliers added two more in the top of the ninth all but ice it. Clemson did manage to load the bases with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but D.J. Mitchell struck out to end the game.

With the strikeout, Casey Lambert recorded his 41st career save, to tie the ACC record. However, there were also some mini fireworks following the game.

After recording each out in the ninth, he would look into the Clemson dugout and make a jester. Following the game, some of the Tigers took exception and let Lambert know their feelings. Some of the players had to be separated.

Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said Clemson has every right to be irked.

"Our closer is doing some things he shouldn't be doing," O'Connor said. "He's not representing Virginia the way he should be. I'm upset about it and the Clemson team has every right to be upset about it."

The Cavaliers will go for the sweep tomorrow at 1. Top Stories