Freshman righthander Ty Olenchuk had a tough act to follow in the Tigers’ second game of the season. Staff ace Davis Sharpe and bullpen workhorse Mat Clark combined for a two-hit shutout in Clemson’s season opener. Olenchuk, a Dutch Fork product, was up to the task and able to give the Tigers more of the same in his first career start, Saturday. The long-haired freshman held Cincinnati to two hits and no runs over 4 2/3 innings as Clemson (2-0) downed the Bearcats 5-2 at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
Cincinnati was held scoreless through the first 14 innings of the series before right fielder Paul Komistek homered off reliever Evan Estridge in the sixth. Estridge later surrendered a run-scoring double before yielding to Rasesh Pandya. Pandya shut the door on the Bearcats in the seventh before Geoffrey Gilbert locked it behind them with two scoreless frames to earn his first save of the season.
With the wind blowing in at Kingsmore, neither team lit it up offensively. Freshman third baseman Kyle Wright opened the game with a double down the left field line and came around to score on Elijah Henderson’s groundout. Wright would later draw a bases-loaded walk to plate Pierce Gallo for a 3-0 lead. Bryce Teodosio, Dylan Brewer and Jonathan French also contributed an RBI, apiece.
French leads the club with four RBI’s through two games and has provided exceptional defense behind the plate. Head coach Monte Lee said of French, “To say I’m pleased is an understatement …. In the fifth inning, he made a really nice play, blocking the pitch before throwing the lead runner out at third base. He’s a threat offensively, that’s why he’s hitting fifth, but I’m super proud of his catching.”
Clemson will go for the sweep at 1 p.m., Sunday. Another freshman, Caden Grice (6-6, 240, Riverside HS), will get the nod in Game 3.
Monte Lee, Ty Olenchuk and Geoffrey Gilbert
postgame press conference