CLEMSON, SC - The Tigers were without two of their best hitters--Wright and Corbitt--again on Sunday, but that didn't slow down the well-oiled machine that has been the Clemson offense of late. For the third straight game, the Tigers jumped on the Jackets in the 1st and built a big lead. With the bases loaded in the 1st, Brewer walked in the first run with bases loaded and 2 outs. Grice grounded out on full count to strand them loaded, but it wouldn't matter because the Tigers would do more damage in the next inning. French led off the 2nd with a homer, his second of the series, and Ingle hit a 2-out, 3-run HR to make it 5-0. Wagner hit a 2-run HR, his first of the series, in the 4th. That was his 22nd of the season, bringing him within one of Tech's Kevin Parada, who did not homer at all against the Tigers this weekend. Unfortunately, Texas's Ivan Melendez hit 3 HR's on Saturday, giving him 25 for the national lead. Hawkins added a solo HR in the 4th to put the Tigers up 8-0. They led 9-0 for the second time in the series after a solo HR by Camden Troyer, the first of his career. The two-way freshman was 2-5 with 3 RBI's in his second career start. Blackwell, Ingle, Wagner, Hawkins, Grice and Troyer each had 2 hits. Will Taylor struck out 3 times but singled for the third straight game and reached base twice. He batted .308 in his debut series. Tech did not score until late in the game, with one run in the 7th and one in the 9th.
Freshman Billy Barlow bounced back nicely from his rough start at Louisville last weekend. He went 4.2 innings, allowing 4 hits, one walk and no runs. Unfortunately, like Gilbert on Saturday, Barlow came up just short of pitching 5 full innings and was thus deprived of the win. That went to Dill, who gave up 2 hits and a run in 2 innings of work. Lindley and Reid finished the game on the mound for the Tigers.
The sweep gave the Tigers their 12th win over a ranked team this season, and several of those have been blowouts like this one. The Tigers needed the sweep, though, to keep pace with UNC and Duke for that all-important last spot in the ACC Tournament. At the conclusion of Sunday's games, the Tigers are half a game ahead of Duke and one game behind UNC. As long as the Tigers finish ahead of one of them, they will make the ACC Tournament. The Tigers play College of Charleston in Columbia on Tuesday and then have a tough road series at No.14 UVA next weekend. Fortunately, they finish the regular season by hosting dead-last Boston College. Assuming the Tigers will sweep that series, one win at UVA should be enough to secure a spot in the ACC Tourney. Duke has 2 tough series against ranked teams in NC State and at VA Tech. UNC also has 2 series against ranked teams in Wake and FSU. In my opinion, if the Tigers make the ACC Tournament, they have done enough for an NCAA bid regardless of what happens in the ACC Tourney. They arguably have the toughest schedule in the nation and will be close to .500 in the toughest conference in the nation. 12 of the ACC's 14 teams have been ranked by at least one poll this season! The Tigers will have at least 12 wins over ranked teams, and they have done well out of conference, including 5-0 versus the SEC, 2-0 against No.10 UGA and a 17-4 win over No.22 Wofford. And the Tigers have been hot late! They have scored 58 runs in their last 5 games despite missing 2 of their best hitters. It's going to be fun to watch it all play out!
Never miss the latest news from CUTigers!
Join our free email list