CLEMSON, S.C. – Chad Donato allowed one run over six innings in his first college start, Shaun Corso hit his first homer and West Virginia beat No. 24 Clemson 6-1 on Sunday, handing the Tigers their first home-opening series loss since 1996.
“These are the types of games and series that when the season is over people look back and say, ‘Jeez they came out from practicing inside and beat a Top 25 team on the road and won the series,'” coach Randy Mazey said. “I couldn’t feel better about this team right now.”
West Virginia (2-1) racked up 11 hits, including two each by Taylor Munden, Kyle Davis, KC Huth and Corso, whose second-inning solo shot put the Mountaineers ahead to stay.
A fifth-inning throwing error by Clemson reliever Charlie Barnes sparked a three-run outburst. It was one of three miscues for the Tigers (1-2).
“In the fifth inning, we just gave up a few unearned runs that hurt us, and they kept coming all day long,” said Tigers coach Jack Leggett. “We played a good team. They were scrappy. They did a good job offensively against us.”
Donato, who threw only three innings in 2014, scattered seven hits and a walk while recording five strikeouts.
Adam Keller followed up with two scoreless innings before Conner Dotson pitched a perfect ninth.
“(Donato) has a great arm,” Mazey said. “Sometimes the adrenaline gets to him and he tries to overthrow, but he stayed down in the zone today, mixed his three pitches and just attacked them.
“A sophomore with literally three innings of experience went out there and pitched his rear end off, followed up by two freshmen holding a Top 25 team to one run on their own field. That’s super encouraging for the rest of the season.”
Clemson starter Brody Koerner (0-1) dominated with eight strikeouts before a pitch-count limit ended his day after four innings. His lone mistake became Corso’s blast over the center-field wall.
West Virginia batters struck out 13 times but extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth, thanks to Barnes throwing away a sac bunt by Justin Fox with two runners aboard. Davis then drove in Cramer with an RBI ground-out before catcher Ray Guerrini smacked an RBI single.
Huth’s first career hit was an RBI double down the left-field line that scored Davis in the seventh.
After Clemson chased Donato with two hits to open the seventh, Keller allowed an RBI single to Reed Rohlman before a double-play squelched the threat.
West Virginia countered in the eighth. Corso’s two-out single scored Brad Johnson, who led off with a triple to left-center.
The Mountaineers visit Georgia Southern for a three-game series next weekend.