Hinson Shines; Tigers Win

CLEMSON – Once again, the bats were for the most part silent. But this time, it didn't matter as Clemson starting pitcher Ryan Hinson was magical on the mound.

The sophomore lefty was so good that he held No. 6 Virginia hitless through six innings as the No. 14 Tigers held on to the 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium to prevent the three-game sweep by the Cavaliers.

Hinson threw 92 pitches over six and a third innings, allowing no runs and just one hit, while striking out five.

"I think my curveball was really working today," said Hinson (4-1). "It was one of those things where I had to pick myself up and help my team win."

It's a good thing for the Tigers (26-13, 11-7 ACC) that Hinson was so on today because outside an Andy D'Alessio RBI single in the first inning and a Marquez Smith solo home run in the eighth, they were completely shut down, too.

"It feels a lot better to get the ‘W' today," said Smith, who had two home runs taken away from him Saturday night. "I think we're playing better baseball right now. The way our pitching is going, if we can put up a few more runs, we'll get wins."

And the thing is, Smith is 100 percent right.

In Clemson's last four games, it has scored a total of seven runs. But it's not like the Tigers are getting blown out. In those same four games, the opposition has scored only 13.

The pitching is so good and the defense continues to be solid that if it can manage just a few more two-out hits with runners in scoring position, Clemson can be one of the elite teams.

"We really had three good ballgames," Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. "The teams we've played the last four games have really been good. I don't know if I've seen so many things to in the opposite direction in a long, long time. We've been snake-bit."

Fortunately for Clemson, it did manage to pull out Sunday's game. It was a victory needed by the Tigers in the worst way.

It stopped a three-game losing streak and gave the Tigers some momentum headed into this week's game, where they'll play Elon on Tuesday and South Carolina Wednesday.

Two wins there would do wonders for this team's confidence.

"We showed some toughness today," Leggett said. "We really needed this one."

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