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CLEMSON — Clemson Tiger redshirt junior Grayson Byrd proved to be more than the Charleston Southern Buccaneers could handle at the plate, as his three-homer performance led the Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

Not bad for a guy who sat out the 2016 season after transferring from LSU, and then hit just a single home run in 2017.

“It was Grayson Byrd’s night. He had three home runs, drove in every run for us,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said. “We didn’t swing the bat particularly well tonight—out front and kind of off balance against a lefty. It was just one of those nights. Luckily for us, Grayson was locked in and hit the ball well.”

The Tigers - who are off to their best start since the 2002 season - improved to 16-1, while the Buccaneers fell to 6-12 on the season.

Almost as hot as Byrd, the Tiger pitching staff held the Buccaneers to only four hits, no runs, three walks and 11 strikeouts. True freshman Holt Jones earned his first career victory, as he went 5-and-one-third innings before giving way to the Tiger bullpen.

“Our pitching staff was outstanding tonight,” Lee said. “Holt Jones, getting his first career start, struck out the first seven batters he faced. Wound up going five-and-a-third for us, and only gave up two hits with two walks and struck out eight.

"He had a heck of a first start for us, so really proud of Holt.”

Byrd got the Tigers started with a solo home run down the left field line in the bottom of the second inning. Two innings later, Byrd one-upped himself when he blasted a three-run home run to right field. To complete the hat trick and his hitting trip around the ballpark, Byrd’s final home run came in the bottom of the seventh inning on a shot to straight away center field.

Player of the Game: Grayson Byrd

Stat: Six. The Tigers amassed only six hits in Tuesday’s victory, but still were able to plate five runs — meaning the Tigers averaged almost one run for every hit. That was in large part due to the play of Grayson Byrd, but the Tigers were impressive in their own right — hitting 5-for-12 in advancement opportunities.

Notable: Byrd’s three-homer performance was the first time a Tiger had accomplished the feat since John Hinson in the Tigers’ 22-4 victory over USC Upstate in 2010.

Up Next: The Tigers play host to the N.C. State Wolfpack for a three-game series beginning Friday (6:30 p.m.), continuing Saturday (4 p.m.) and finishing Sunday (1 p.m.). All three games can be seen on ACC Network Extra.

Zach Lentz is a Clemson University alumnus who got his start working with the Tigers basketball team from 1999-2004. Now a resident of Orangeburg County, he reports on Clemson sports as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.

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