Clemson's Seth Beer reacts after hitting a game-tying ninth-inning homer against South Carolina (Aaron Fitt)


Clemson’s Beer Adds To His Legend


COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Saturday in Greenville, Clemson slugger Seth Beer came to the plate in the eighth inning with no outs and the tying run at third base. He’d gotten accustomed to being pitched around, so he half-expected South Carolina to intentionally walk him, or at least pitch around him. Instead, Tyler Johnson threw him a first-pitch changeup for a ball, a fastball for a called strike, another changeup for a swinging strike, and then blew a 95 mph heater past him over the inside part of the plate for strike three.

“Yesterday I came into a situation where there was a runner on third base and TJ was throwing, a guy throwing upper-90s, and I didn’t know if they were gonna pitch to me, and he ended up striking me out on some great pitches,” Beer recalled on Sunday. “I just wasn’t there mentally. Today I said, ‘No matter what, I’m gonna be focused and ready to hit through the whole situation.’”

So when Beer strode to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, with the Tigers trailing 3-2 and the bases empty, he was ready to hit. South Carolina’s other bullpen stalwart, lefthander Josh Reagan, fell behind him 3-0, but Beer did not relax and wait for his inevitable walk. Reagan came back with two curveballs for called strikes to run the count full, then went back to the well one time too many. On 3-2, he left a curveball up in the zone, and Beer obliterated it deep over the right-field fence for a game-tying home run.

“I got in a 3-0 count, and he kept throwing (curveballs), and I got five in a row, I believe,” Beer said. “It just kept creeping in and creeping in and creeping in, where he put the ball. Thankfully on the 3-2 count he threw one in my wheelhouse that I feel like I could do some damage with. I just took a swing, and I remember stepping in that box in that 3-2 count and how loud it got, and they start playing the music and I felt like I was underwater, I didn’t hear anything. I got focused and I felt relaxed, and I didn’t really think about it, just tried to react to the pitch, and thankfully it was in a spot where I could make some damage with it.”

It was a signature moment in a career that is already packed with signature moments, just one season and three weeks into it. This one came against an arch-rival in a hostile road environment, and it breathed new life into a Clemson team on the brink of losing the series. Instead, the Tigers scored twice in the 11th to pull out another thrilling victory, 5-3.

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