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When You Hear Kanye’s ‘All of the Lights’, It’s Closing Time for Clemson Baseball Player Austin Gordon

CLEMSON — Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” blared in the top of the eighth inning at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Sunday to welcome Clemson baseball’s Austin Gordon to the game.

This number is appropriate for Gordon, who became Clemson’s closer after playing in five of six games to start the year. He entered the game after reliever Reed Garris gave up back-to-back two-out home runs to No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina to cut the Tigers’ lead to one.

With momentum wavering and the pressure on him to get results, the junior ended the inning with a strikeout and slammed the door shut in the ninth with a strikeout and two flyouts to lead the No. 6 nationally ranked Tigers (44-14) to their first NCAA. super regional since 2010.

Clemson will host Florida (32-28) in a best-of-three series starting Saturday (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

“When I came in here three years ago, I never thought we would be here today,” said Gordon, who earned his 11th save of the year on Sunday. “Looking back on it, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.”

As a reliever this season, Gordon has a 1.86 ERA with six walks over 19⅓ innings in 16 appearances. He hasn’t given up a point since May 5 against Georgia Tech.

Gordon, 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, can locate pitches effectively, causing batters to swing and miss and not walk. His arsenal consists of a 90 mph fastball, curveball, slider and splitter. And Gordon has the athleticism to fill the position.

It has helped Gordon be effective in late-game situations by ranking him sixth in the nation in saves.

Clemson junior Austin Gordon (56) reacts with catcher Jimmy Obertop (11) after helping defeat Coastal Carolina University during the NCAA baseball Clemson Regional on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.Clemson junior Austin Gordon (56) reacts with catcher Jimmy Obertop (11) after helping defeat Coastal Carolina University during the NCAA baseball Clemson Regional on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

Clemson junior Austin Gordon (56) reacts with catcher Jimmy Obertop (11) after helping defeat Coastal Carolina University during the NCAA baseball Clemson Regional on Sunday, June 2, 2024, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.

“He has a very bright future in these short stints just based on his physical skills and the mentality that he has,” Clemson coach Erik Bakich said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if one day that kid throws 100 (mph) in the big leagues doing nothing but nasty, nasty stuff.”

Gordon started the season exhausted and pitched with the Cape Cod League and Team USA in the summer. He didn’t rest his arm until the final three months of 2023, delaying his ramp-up for the season.

In his five starts, Gordon had a 7.98 ERA and the longest outing was 4⅔ innings. As a result, Bakich decided to change Gordon’s role.

YEARS IN THE MAKING: How Clemson baseball and coach Erik Bakich celebrated its advance to the NCAA super regionals

“He was a good starter, but he really thrives in this role on the back end,” Bakich said.

Gordon made three appearances in the Clemson Regional, striking out four batters and not allowing a run over 3⅓ innings. If needed against Florida, he will be ready to perform.

“It just comes down to doing what the team needs,” Gordon said.

Derrian Carter covers Clemson athletics for The Greenville News and the USA TODAY Network. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @DerrianCarter00

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Austin Gordon embraces Clemson’s closer role in baseball, ‘All of the Lights’

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