TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 5/5 Clemson Tigers split action on Saturday morning at the USF Tournament in Tampa, Florida. Clemson (14-1) captured a 4-1 win against Michigan State to improve to 14-0, the third longest winning streak in the program’s short infancy, before dropping a hard-fought battle in the second game to No. 12/9 Tennessee.
Between the two games, Clemson tallied 15 hits. Caroline Jacobsen and Reedy Davenport led the Tigers at the plate with three hits each, two against Michigan State and one against Tennessee.
Game 1 - vs. Michigan State (W, 4-1)
Clemson struck first against the Spartans (6-6) when the Tigers scored twice in the top of the second inning. Alia Logoleo led off with a single to left field and quickly stole second. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home off a single from Madison May to right center. Julia Bomhardt came in to pinch run for May and stole second to continue the Tigers’ hot streak on the base paths. She advanced to third off a ground out from Ally Miklesh and was brought home with a single to center from Davenport to make it 2-0.
Michigan State responded with a single run in the bottom half of the inning, but Jacobsen quickly answered for the Tigers in the top of the third with a solo shot out of left field. Clemson’s defense limited any threat from MSU in the bottom half of the third to keep the Tigers ahead, 3-1.
Logoleo brought home one more run for the Tigers in the top of the seventh inning after Maddie Moore led off with a single through the left side. Moore stole second and advanced to third as Jacobsen flew out to right field. Logoleo followed with a double off the left wall that brought in Moore to push the lead to 4-1. The Tigers finished with 11 hits, led by Jacobsen, Logoleo and Davenport each notching two, to help Clemson clinch the first game.
Brooke McCubbin got the start in the circle for Clemson. The sophomore pitched her first complete game of the season with eight strikeouts, while only allowing four hits and giving up one walk. She finished the game by retiring the final 14 batters dating back to the third inning to improve to 2-0.
Game 2 - vs. No. 12/9 Tennessee (L, 0-1)
It was a pitcher’s duel in the second game of the day as Clemson’s Valerie Cagle and Tennessee’s Karlyn Pickens battled against the opposition's batters. Through the first two innings, both sides only allowed one hit per side.
The Lady Vols (9-1) attempted to strike in the fourth inning after their leadoff batter hit a double to right center. She advanced to third on a routine groundout to Logoleo at shortstop, but Cagle stepped up and struck out the next two batters to keep things even at 0-0. Davenport tried to get the momentum going for the Tigers at the plate with a single in the top of the fifth but was left stranded to end the inning.
Tennessee broke open the score in the bottom of the sixth inning after the leadoff once again got on. The Tigers got two outs, but Tennessee's runner came home on a close play at first base that resulted in the batter being ruled safe. Center fielder McKenzie Clark made a spot-on throw from deep center for a play at the plate as Tennessee looked to push its lead further, but the bullet of a throw allowed catcher Aby Vieira to make the easy tag and end the inning. The Lady Vols were able to maintain the 1-0 lead through the top of the seventh, handing the Tigers their first loss of the year.
For the game, both pitchers finished with exactly 100 pitches, with Cagle (6-1) tallying 67 strikes. The redshirt junior struck out eight batters without giving up a walk to help Clemson battle for seven innings.
Clemson concludes weekend action on Sunday, February 26 at 9 a.m. against Michigan State. Fans can listen to the Michigan State broadcast on the Clemson Athletic Network. Fans can find the most direct link to listen by downloading the Clemson Tigers App through the app store.