CLEMSON, S.C. — With bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Clemson catcher JoJo Hyatt knocked in a pair of go-ahead runs on a single up the middle as the Tigers went on to down No. 11 Duke, 4-2, at McWhorter Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With the win, Clemson split the series (2-2) with the Blue Devils and improved to 22-4 on the season and 14-4 in ACC play. Duke, which was on a 20-game winning streak entering the latter half of the series, fell to 26-3 overall and 14-3 in league matchups.
Clemson lefty Millie Thompson (3-1) earned the win in the circle after pitching 6.0 innings in which she surrendered just two earned runs and registered three strikeouts. Valerie Cagle entered in relief of Thompson to collect her fourth save of the season after retiring three-of-four batters faced in the top of the seventh.
Duke’s starting pitcher Shelby Walters (10-1) suffered her first loss of the season after giving up four runs (one unearned) on six hits and four walks in 4.1 innings pitched. Walter’s last loss was recorded against N.C. State in a 4-5 defeat on April 21, 2019.
The Blue Devils scored first in the top of the third on an infield single that was hit to the 3-4 hole, which allowed enough time for the Duke runner to slide under the tag on the throw from first to home plate.
After a McKenzie Clark double and Cagle registered her second intentional walk of the game in the bottom of the third to bring up Marissa Guimbarda, Guimbarda roped a two-RBI double down the left-field line to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Blue Devils tied the game in the top of the fifth, 2-2, on a sacrifice-fly to left field to score the runner from third base.
Blue Devils’ ace Peyton St George relieved Walters in the bottom of the fifth, inheriting a bases-loaded situation one batter before Hyatt came to the plate to bring in Clemson’s pair of game-winning runs. In the midst of Hyatt’s RBI-single up the middle in the bottom of the inning, a throwing error by the Duke center fielder caused the ball to bounce past the Blue Devils’ catcher, which allowed Ansley Gilstrap to score and give the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
Up next, the Tigers are scheduled to return to McWhorter Stadium to host North Carolina (10-8, 6-3 ACC) in a four-game series (April 1-3), which begins Thursday at 5 p.m. Next week’s series against the Tar Heels is slated to stream on ACCNX. North Carolina announced the postponement of its last two weekend series against Florida State and Georgia Tech, respectively, due to COVID-19 protocols within the UNC program.