CLEMSON, SC - The Tigers' backs are against the wall after losing consecutive one-run games at Georgia Tech. They need to win as many games as they can down the stretch in order to make the NCAA Tournament, and they know it. With only a handful of games left in the regular season, a rare late-season midweek clash with a ranked South Carolina team could make or break the Tigers' NCAA resume.
The Gamecocks won the first 2 meetings in walk-off fashion back in February, but the Tigers didn't have Meredith, Hall or Hackenberg in those games. They get the last laugh tonight with a 7-2 win, however, and this will help their NCAA resume and give them a little momentum as they go to play No.10 FSU in Tallahassee this weekend.
Davis Sharpe didn't get the start on the mound as I predicted, but he did pitch 2.1 innings in relief. He allowed 2 hits, a walk and a run while striking out 3 as he works his way back into the pitching rotation. Carter Raffield got his first start since the Georgia game in Athens, and he went 3 scoreless innings. He was a little wild, walking 4 and hitting a batter, but he also had 5 big strike outs and got the outs he needed with runners on base. Labriola only retired 2 batters but was in at the right time to earn his first win. Hoffmann went 1.2 innings for his 4th save and has emerged as the consistent closer for Monte Lee over the past couple weeks.
Monte started Hawkins and Wagner together for the first time this season, moving Hawkins to 1st with Grice at DH. Monte told me after the game that he made the move with the intention of resting Sharpe and using him out of the pen. Well, the move certainly paid off, as Hawkins singled and Wagner doubled with 2 outs in the 6th, and that set up an RBI single by Brock, who pinched for Teo, to put the Tigers up 4-1. Hawkins and Wagner also led off the 8th with walks and both scored in that inning to increase the Tigers' cushion. Meredith drove in a run, as did Parker, who won the Bob Bradley Award as the Tigers' MVP of the Palmetto Series. He was 5-9 with a HR and 3 RBI's in the first 2 games of the series. Dylan Brewer hit the Tigers' only HR of the game, a solo shot in the 8th. The Tigers were able to score 7 runs against one of the nation's better defensive teams despite Caden Grice remaining ice cold, going 0-4 with a strike out. Since he torched Louisville with one of the best weekend series performances I've ever seen, Grice is 1-19 with 12 K's! The Tigers sure could have used a couple hits from him in Atlanta last weekend. The good news is that we know what Grice is capable of, and it's only a matter of time until he gets hot again. It's impressive that the Tigers were able to hang 7 runs on the Gamecocks without him.
Post-game interviews are below!
MORE CLEMSON SOFTBALL, BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL COVERAGE HERE
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